Bill Gates: U.S. failing in global technology leadership
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates [right: Reuters] testified in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology last week with a blunt message: "...the evidence is mounting that we are failing to make the investments in our young people, our workers, our scientific research infrastructure, and our economy that will enable us to retain our global innovation leadership."
This is a message that has been repeated by business, scientists, governors (especially by my boss, Janet Napolitano), and key congressional leaders, but it doesn't seem to be getting across to the American public in a meaningful way.
Gates declared that we "face a critical shortfall of skilled scientists and engineers who can develop new breakthrough technologies." His second point is that "the public and private sectors are no longer investing in basic research and development (R&D) at the levels needed to drive long-term innovation."
He outlined four priority goals:
1. Strengthening educational opportunities, so that America’s students and workers have the skills they need to succeed in the technology- and information-driven economy of today and tomorrow;
2. Revamping immigration rules for highly skilled workers, so that U.S. companies can attract and retain the world’s best scientific talent;
3. Increasing federal funding for basic scientific research, to train the next generation of innovators and provide the raw material for further innovation and development by industry; and
4. Providing incentives for private-sector R&D, so that American businesses remain at the forefront in developing new technologies and turning them into new products and services.