Link, former R&D director and chief scientific advisor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, wrote in a Mar. 5 oped for ENR.com that there has been a decrease in the number of enrollees in Ph.D. programs as more graduates opt to join the workforce.
He says that a greater number of foreign students are becoming research and teaching assistants and a majority of them take their knowledge with them when they leave the U.S.
Citing research backed by studies from Battelle and the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, Link says a shortfall in research investments can inhibit efforts toward the renewal and rehabilitation of aging infrastructure and long-term basic research.
He urged decision makers to strive for a balance of both short-term and long-term critical investments, noting that the goal is to make sure the country’s “economic seed bag” remains full and intact.
Battelle’s report says continued funding, not on-and-off support, for R&D is the best approach to ensuring economic growth.
“R&D is not an instrument that can be quickly turned on and off to trigger economic growth,” the report says.
“In our increasingly technology-dependent world, strong continued support of R&D investments is essential to maintain and grow a nation’s economic strength.”