U.S. Leadership in STEM Revisited in Latest House Science Committee Hearing

Mar 15, 2019

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology recently convened a hearing on Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Science and Technology. The hearing sought to address the U.S.’s current standing in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In her opening remarks, committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) quoted the National Science Foundation’s most recent Science and Engineering Indicators report, which notes that the U.S. has seen its leadership status decline in recent years as countries such as China continue to pour resources into STEM both in schools and workforce development.

Marcia Nutt, President of the National Academy of Sciences was one of three witnesses to provide testimony at the hearing. Nutt reiterated that the U.S. must maintain robust funding for STEM if the U.S. wants to remain competitive on the global stage. She explained, “…there must be strong and sustained investments in the people, facilities, and infrastructure that comprise our nation’s innovation enterprise. Without this support, our nation will lose its competitive advantage in the global marketplace as the world’s top talent will take their talent and ideas elsewhere, and the economic growth they have long generated here in the U.S. will follow. To be clear, this is not about creating jobs for scientists: this is an existential threat to America’s greatness and the long-term welfare of our people.”

Nutt also highlighted the recent decline in international applicants to graduate institutions as a matter of concern. These students are now looking elsewhere thanks to better funding opportunities. As the U.S. workforce ages and declines, we need a young, capable workforce ready to take over the helm. In the past, international students were a key part of this workforce as many non-U.S. graduate students often sought employment in the U.S. following the completion of their degree programs. To this end, Nutt further asserted that the U.S. must do more to support women and minorities to pursue degree programs and careers in STEM.

To view an archived webcast of the full hearing, click here: https://science.house.gov/legislation/hearings/maintaining-us-leadership-science-and-technology