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Fireside Chat: Global Competitiveness – Belt and Superhighway

Which is the world’s largest economy – U.S. or China? Depends on how you calculate. Nominal GDP – the U.S.; Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) GDP – China. The point is, the U.S. has lost its claim to undisputed economic leadership.

U.S. research and development (R&D) dominance has also tarnished. The National Science Foundation (NSF) says we’re no longer the “uncontested leader” in science and engineering. And, China announced plans to increase spending by 7 percent annually in a push to make major breakthroughs in technology – almost twice U.S. R&D spend growth in 2019. And, our fragmented innovation ecosystem is making the application of basic science increasingly difficult.

This dangerous landscape poses an existential threat to the U.S., which harnessed R&D-fueled innovation to power the globe’s leading economic performance for much of the last century. How can we reverse this trend in short order, and what role must technology play? How do we expand public and private collaboration – better together? Most importantly, how do we boost R&D productivity to optimize return on every dollar expended?

Session Speakers

Ryan Heath [moderator]
Senior Editor
National Science Foundation