microscopes in a row for university research

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U.S. falling behind in university research

October 29, 2019

Innovation Academy

Once a leader in research-driven innovation, the United States has dropped its position compared to other countries in university research funding. According to a new report by the Information Technology Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the U.S. is now the 28th of 39 nations in government funding for university research as a share of GDP.

The report found that the 12 leading governments invest more than double the U.S. investment. Switzerland, Denmark and Norway occupy the top three spots, with Romania occupying the lowest position of the 39 countries represented.

Driving economic growth

While university research plays a critical role in generating innovation-based economic growth and driving innovation leadership, the latest OECD data shows that, between 2011 and 2017, U.S. government funding for university research as a share of GDP fell by nearly quarter.

“Other nations are increasing their investments in university research because they understand the critical role research universities play in generating innovation-based economic growth,” said ITIF president Rob Atkinson in a written statement.

He continued: “Research drives innovation, and innovation drives long-run economic growth — creating jobs and improving living standards in the process. The United States can’t rest on its laurels. To once again lead the world in innovation, policymakers must make the necessary investments in university research.”

The report recommended that congress commit to increasing research support by $45 billion per year to place the U.S. among the top seven nations in the world for funding academic research.

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