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Science and Engineering R&D and Output: How the U.S. Performs

April in the adhesives and sealants industry means we are heading into peak events season. The ASC Convention and EXPO is happening in the middle of April, followed by Tape Week April 29 to May 2. Add to the events lineup the American Coatings Show, also at the end of April. And, for those on the end-use side of adhesives and sealants, the Assembly Show South will take place at the Music City Center in Nashville May 1-2. This issue of ASI provides an overview of all these events, plus, for an added bonus, a look back at the Adhesion Society meeting, which took place in February.

Also featured in April is an article about new robotic technology that will help adhesive tape manufacturers make the case for replacing more traditional joining methods with tape, a review of three new research papers on adhesion science, and a new adhesive for the assembly of biosensors.

An interesting news item popped up in my email last week. It was a short synopsis from the National Science Board (NSB) about the results of The State of U.S. Science and Engineering 2024 report. This biannual report summarizes key indicators assessing the status of the science and engineering enterprise within the United States. It illustrates the U.S. global position in various aspects of science and engineering, detailing key findings from nine indicators that are grouped into three major sections: talent, discovery, and translation. According to the NSB, the United States performs more research and development than any other country, but the nation’s global position is slipping as countries in East and Southeast Asia, particularly China, increase their activities. Here are a few interesting takeaways from the report.

The report found that women are underrepresented in engineering and computer and information sciences, both as degree recipients and within the STEM workforce. Women accounted for 35% of all STEM workers in 2021. Also underrepresented are Hispanic or Latino, Black or African American, and American Indian or Alaska Native people. These numbers become more meaningful when considering how significant the STEM workforce is. According to the report, U.S. STEM workers comprised about 36.8 million people in 2021, representing 24% of the total U.S. workforce.

The United States leads the world in research and development spending, with $806 billion in gross domestic expenditures in 2021. When segmenting that spending between government and business, the business sector is increasing. The government share of total U.S. funded R&D decreased from 30% in 2011 to 19% in 2021 as the business sector increased its funding.

With all that money dedicated to R&D, it may come as a surprise that the United States does not lead in every indicator of global science, technology, and innovation (STI) capabilities. These include research publications, patenting, and knowledge- and technology-intensive industry output. According to the study, China has increased its share of STI capabilities in the past decade. It is the top overall producer of science and engineering publications and international patents and has the largest knowledge- and technology-intensive manufacturing output. That said, the United States has the bigger share of publications that are most highly cited. It also leads the world in knowledge- and technology-intensive services.

The one piece of data from the report that I found fascinating is the increase in volume of published science and engineering research. According to the report, science and engineering articles published in open-access journals has increased from 19,000 articles in 2003 to 992,000 articles in 2022. This represents a staggering 50-fold increase over 19 years! As with many parts of life in the 21st century, the amount of information available to scientists and engineers has exploded.

As I put together this publication every month, I will try to make sure I consider the volume of information readers face and make sure ASI presents the most relevant stories. Please feel free to provide feedback at Parkerk@Bnpmedia.Com. I welcome your input. Also, please stop by ASI’s booths at the ASC EXPO and at Tape Week to say “hi” and let me know what’s on your mind!

 

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