June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Engineering and Public Policy
13.1262.1 - 13.1262.20
THE SCIENCE &TECHNOLOGY ECO-SYSTEM: PRESSURES FROM KINDERGARTEN TO GLOBALIZATION
Abstract: The National Academies’ 2007 report “Rising Above the Gathering Storm”: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future,” was a response to a bipartisan request by Congress. It proposes a coordinated set of policy actions consisting of four recommendations and twenty specific actions to “enhance the science and technology (S&T) enterprise so that the United States can successfully compete, prosper, and be secure in the global community of the 21st century.” Early chapters of the report describe the authors’ perceptions of the structure and behavior of the S&T eco-system that led to the report’s recommended set of policy actions. The S&T eco-system structure in the report includes global forces that affect U.S. employment; U.S. K-12 education, higher education, corporate research, and federal funding for physical sciences and engineering research; U.S. reactions to 9/11 including visa policies, export controls, and sensitive but unclassified information; as well as underlying U.S. attitudes that influence the behavior of these structures. This report has become the nucleation point for the broad debate on the future of US prosperity and its international policy ramifications. Formal simulation of the logic within the report can test the validity and efficacy of proposed measures. This paper utilizes the report to illustrate a method for assessing 1) the reality of the hypothesized problem, 2) proposed solutions, and 3) the most promising areas of future discourse.
The conceptual model described herein attempts to simulate general tendency behaviors and is not intended to capture the complete science and technology ecosystem. Instead it is the authors’ intent to describe the learning opportunity by first modeling the relevant “whole” system with a very broad brush, and then co-develop with other industry, academic, and government stakeholders, a causal structure which captures the relevant system in more detail. Such a multi-stakeholder co-development modeling process can evolve into an expanded strategic conversation to identify the social and cultural self-imposed constraints that contribute to the declining S&T enterprise. The focus of this discussion is on the report’s stated system of engineering education and its role in workforce development and training. Engineering education is herein viewed as a complex system of parts that are hierarchical and interdependent. These include formal educational institutions (e.g. K-12, community college, and post-secondary institutions), as well as vehicles through which informal education is accomplished. As would be the case for any optimized solution space, each component has a role to play. A discussion of these various roles and possible future strategies follows. It is our belief that if collaborate and co-develop a common paradigm and collective observations, we can better coordinate policy action decisions, including the allocation of intellectual and critical resources toward a common national strategy.
Introduction We read in the preface to the National Academy of Sciences, et. al.’s report, “Rising Above The Gathering Storm”1 (hereafter referred to as the “Report.”):
“The prosperity the United States enjoys today is due in no small part to investments the nation has made in research and development at universities, corporations, and national laboratories
Richey, M., & Newton, P., & Stephens, R., & Backus, G., & McPherson, B. (2008, June), The S&T Eco System: Pressures From Kindergarten To Globalization Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3653
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