Facebook icon Twitter icon Forward icon

January 24, 2015




So reports the 2016 Science and Engineering Indicators, the National Science Board's comprehensive biennial report. It puts the worldwide total at $1.671 trillion in 2013. Ten years earlier, in 2003, it was $836 billion. By these figures, the annual increase in total global R&D . . .  averaged 7.2 percent over the decade, doubling in size.

U.S. FAILED TO KEEP PACE: "Inflation-adjusted growth in total U.S. R&D averaged only 0.8 percent annually over the 2008–13 period, behind the 1.2 percent annual average for U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Even so, the single-year metrics for 2010–11 and 2012–13 were markedly more favorable than this 5-year average: 2.7 percent in real growth for total R&D in 2010–11 versus 1.6 percent for GDP; 3.2 percent for R&D in 2012–13 versus 2.2 percent for GDP.
    "By comparison, the growth of U.S. R&D averaged 3.9 percent annually in 2003–08, ahead of GDP at 2.2 percent, and over 1993–2003, U.S. R&D growth averaged 3.9 percent compared with GDP at 3.4 percent. On this basis, the R&D growth figures in 2010–11 and 2012–13 were more like those before 2008, but the longstanding U.S. trend of substantial real growth annually in R&D, well ahead of the pace of GDP, still has not returned."


  • "Governments in many countries have made increased access to S&E-related postsecondary education a high priority. At the same time, they are faced with increased mobility of high-skill workers . . . as countries compete to attract the best talent . . . ."
  • "S&E degrees, important for an innovative knowledge economy, have become relatively more prevalent in some Asian countries than in the United States."
  • "Rising costs and growing enrollments, coupled with slowing or declining state funds, pose formidable challenges to the mission of many (U.S.) public research universities."
  • "[G]lobal R&D expenditures continue to be concentrated in North America, Europe, and East and Southeast Asia . . . [T]he United States is by far the largest performer . . . followed by China, whose R&D spending is nearing that of the EU." Japan is third, Germany fourth. South Korea, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and India make up the next tier.
  • Public investment in research, development, and demonstration in alternative energy and other non-fossil fuel technologies . . . is led by the EU, with $4.4 billion in investment, followed by the United States ($3.5 billion), Japan ($2.6 billion), and Canada ($0.8 billion).
  • [S]everal northern European countries have emerged as centers of high-impact public research, as evidenced by shares of highly cited publications. The impact of S&E research in the relatively new members of the EU has also been growing in recent years, as demonstrated by increased citations from Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
  • Academic institutions in the developing world have increased their production of graduates with S&E degrees, with China leading the growth.

'DIRECTOR'S PRIORITY': That's how National Science Foundation Director France Córdova referred to the NSF-wide INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners that have been Underrepresented for Diversity in Engineering and Science) program in a recent speech to the American Astronomical Society. Her words suggest INCLUDES, budgeted for FY 2016 at $15 million, will be treated well in the coming budget, although Cordova didn't say so. She did say it "will enlarge the portfolio of the science and engineering centers NSF funds, its EPSCoR program, and eventually all of the major programs NSF invests in"; "build on and amplify NSF's current portfolio in broadening participation"; and engage "other government agencies, business and industry." It's about "special approaches -- such as system engineering approaches or collective impact approaches, and leveraging entities like the internet and museums that reach millions -- to scale up the more localized engagement and outreach efforts we see in abundance, but which have only local impact."

A SMARTER GRID: Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz's three-year, $220 million, 88-project nationwide grid modernization "will bring a consortium of 14 national laboratories together with more than 100 companies, utilities, research organizations, state regulators and regional grid operators," Greentech Media reports. It includes "integrating renewable energy, energy storage and smart building technologies at the edges of the grid network, at a much greater scale than is done today," and require "customer-owned and utility-controlled technology, all of which must be secured against cyberattacks and extreme weather events." See a map of the regional projects and awards already made.

BUILDING ENERGY EFFICIENCY: The concept paper deadline is Feb. 5 for DOE's Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers and Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) program, which has $8 millionto $20 million available and anticipates up to 25 awards. Find out more.





'A GLOBAL ENERGY SUPERPOWER' is what the United States will become under a bill before the Senate this coming week, claims sponsor Lisa Murkowski, (R-Alaska), who delivered this week's  GOP radio address. The bill (see text) has numerous R&D provisions, including manufacturing, cybersecurity, advanced vehicles, hydro-electric and geothermal power, hydrogen fuel cells, and energy storage. It calls for "more effective processes for transferring research findings and technologies to industry." It also incorporates much of the energy provisions proposed for the Senate version of America COMPETES, while striking certain sections of current law.


ANDREW J. VITERBI, electrical engineer and professor emeritus at the University of California-San Diego is the 2016 recipient of the National Academy of Engineering's Charles Stark Draper Prize. The Qualcomm co-founder was cited by NAE “for development of the Viterbi algorithm, its transformational impact on digital wireless communications, and its significant applications in speech recognition and synthesis and in bioinformatics.” The University of Southern California, where he earned his Ph.D., named its engineering school for Viterbi and his late wife. See his bio.


ERC REGISTRATION AND HOUSING: The Engineering Research Council's annual conference will be held March 7-9 at the Sheraton Hotel in Silver Spring, Md. Visit this link to take advantage of discounted registration rates. Click here to reserve your hotel room. Find more information, including a preliminary program, here.

NORTHEAST SECTION CONFERENCE: The section, with members from  Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, as well as Eastern Canada, will hold its annual conference at the University of Rhode Island from Thursday, April 28th, 2016 to Saturday
April 30, 2016. The theme will be “Revolutionizing Engineering Education.” See the conference website.


The 2016 Public Policy Colloquium - February 8-10, 2016 at The Fairmont Hotel, Washington, D.C., sponsored by the ASEE Engineering Deans Council and its Executive Board. The colloquium is intended to strengthen the discussion of engineering education and research issues between the deans of engineering and key public policy makers, and to enable the deans to refine their public policy agenda. Since the Public Policy Colloquium will focus on the activities of the Engineering Deans Council, we ask that you come yourself and not send an associate dean. Early registration rates end January 22, 2016. Click here for more information.

2016 Engineering Deans Institute -  March 29 – April 1, 2016 at the InterContinental San Francisco Hotel, San Francisco.
ASEE's annual EDI provides an opportunity for engineering deans - and only deans - to gather and discuss the crucial issues facing their schools, colleges, and profession. For a few days, a single-stream program fosters dialogue between deans, industry leaders, and those in important roles in research and government. Deans share best practices, learn about career prospects for their graduates, and develop a voice for engineering education and the role of engineering in society. Social activities and plenty of time for conversation encourage the cultivation of relationships and an intensely rewarding experience. EDI is sponsored by the ASEE Engineering Deans Council and its Executive Board. Early registration rates end March 11, 2016. Click here for more information.


New Navigation Section - Papers Management:
The new section contains upcoming deadlines, guidelines, call for papers, and kits for authors, program chairs, reviewers, and moderators.

Author's Kits are Available:
• The 2016 Annual Conference Author's Kit -- available on the website -- contains extremely important information regarding the submission process as well as all relevant deadline dates.

THE ST. LAWRENCE SECTION CONFERENCE will be held at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.,  April 8-9, 2016. This year the conference will include several workshops. The calls for papers, presentations, posters and workshops as well as  information about the Conference Program, Registration, and Hotel information is available on http://stl.asee.org/conference_2016.html.

eGFI IS HERE: Help inspire the next generation of innovators with the all-new 6th edition of ASEE's prize-winning magazine for middle and high school students: eGFI (Engineering, Go For It). Filled with engaging features, gorgeous graphics, and useful information about engineering colleges and careers, eGFI aims to get teens fired up about learning - and doing - engineering. To purchase copies, go to http://store.asee.org/  For bulk purchases or other inquiries, contact eGFI@asee.org or call 202-331-3500.