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Rand: U.S. Competitiveness in Science and Technology

Galama, T and Hosek, J., U.S. Competitiveness in Science and Technology, RAND Corporation, 2008. ISBN 978-90-365-2586-2. Pages 427.

The US-based Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organisation, just released a report entitled U.S. Competitiveness in Science and Technology. The study claims - in its essence – that the U.S. still dominate the world’s science and technology landscape despite perceptions that the nation is losing its competitive edge. The RAND report was sponsored by the Office of the U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness and conducted by the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center.

The report draws, as befits a competitive analysis, not only a picture of current innovation and scientific output, but elicits both internal weaknesses and external competition to ultimately give policy recommendations. The latter clearly urge for facilitating the inflow of highly skilled labor and for improving the U.S. education system.

From a U.S. perspective, it is certainly desirable to translate these recommendations, which involve many fields beyond education as well, into practice. Whether and when that can happen remains to be seen.