NASEM Pioneers the State of Science Address with President Marcia McNutt

On June 26, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) hosted The State of Science Address, launching the annual discussion on the status of science, technology, engineering, and medicine (STEM) in the U.S. During her opening remarks, President of the National Academy of Sciences, Marcia McNutt, discussed the decline of the STEM workforce and interest in research and development (R&D) in the U.S., including declines in published research articles and the development of high-quality drugs and patents compared to global counterparts, as well as the perceived fall of U.S. global leadership, citing that only eight percent of Americans believe the U.S. to be in a global R&D role. To this end, McNutt identified a dependence on international talent, a continued decline in resources for research, and a lack of trust in science as key reasons for this decline.

McNutt offered potential solutions to address this decline, citing the importance of protecting curiosity in children, encouraging K-12 students to pursue science with an open-mind, “sparking the excitement of discovery” that leads to careers in STEM. Further, McNutt suggested limiting “red tape,” including reducing barriers to student visas, and investing in the labor of university research, citing that research currently relies on “underpaid labor.” To this end, she suggested the development of a national research strategy to encourage cooperation between academic, industry, and government sectors both domestically and internationally, to provide additional funding for the STEM workforce to reduce reliance on research grants.

McNutt also addressed the need to repair trust in science by rewarding researchers for good research and transparency with the public through improving communication and combatting misinformation. Following McNutt’s address, Harvey V. Fineberg, MD, PhD, moderated a panel discussion on these topics where Stephanie Diem, Assistant Professor, Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, highlighted the importance of researchers doing events similar to The State of Science Address to share their research with the public.

A recording of the address can be found here as well as meeting materials, including the State of the Science Program


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