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. R&D dominance has also tarnished. According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), we’re no longer the “uncontested leader” in science and engineering. U.S. R&D spending grew at an average of 4.3 percent per year in 2019 – far behind China’s 17 percent growth rate. And, our fragmented innovation ecosystem is making the application of basic science increasingly difficult.
This new 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?