Seeing the Round Corners

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May 5, 2020

Would America have been better prepared to fight or even prevent a pandemic like COVID-19 had  the recommendations by the Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century published in 2005, updated in 2007, been implemented? See if you know of implementation of any of them.

Continuing with the study/report by the Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century commissioned by the National Academies . . .

Recommendation C:  Make the United States the most attractive setting in which to study and perform research so that we can develop, recruit and retain the best and brightest students, scientists, and engineers from within the United States and throughout the world.

C-1:  Increase the number and proportion of U. S. citizens who earn physical-sciences, life-sciences, engineering, and mathematics bachelor’s degrees by providing 25,000 new 4-year competitive undergraduate scholarships each year to U. S. citizens attending U. S. institutions. (Up to $20,000.00 annually for tuition and fees, distributed on basis of number in congressional delegations and national examinations.)

C-2:   Increase the number of U. S. citizens pursuing graduate study in ‘areas of national need’ by funding 5,000 new graduate fellowships each year. (Such a program would be administered by the National Science Foundation with input from other federal research agencies to define national needs. This procedure would ensure an adequate supply of doctoral scientists and engineers, and that they will have appropriate employment opportunities upon receipt of their degrees. The annual fellowships of up to $20,000.00 would go directly to students and be portable, enabling students to pursue graduate studies instead of being required to follow faculty research grants.

C-3:   Provide a federal tax credit to encourage employers to make continuing education available (either internally or through colleges and universities) to practicing scientists and engineers. The purpose of such a tax incentive would promote career-long learning, keeping the workforce current in the rapidly evolving scientific and engineering discoveries and technological advances. New demands in the job market would benefit from such a tax incentive.

C-4:   Continue to improve visa processing for international students and scholars. Issues such as visa categories and duration, travel for scientific meetings, the technology-alert list, reciprocity agreements and changes in status are complex and need improvement.

C-5:   Provide a one-year automatic visa extension to international students who receive doctorates or the equivalent in science, technology, engineering, mathematics or other fields of national need at qualified U. S. institutions to remain in the U. S. to seek employment. Students would have to meet certain requirements, pass security screening tests and gain employment within the one-year period or their visas would expire.

C-6:   Institute a new skills-based, preferential immigration option.

  • Applicants would raise chances of obtaining U. S. citizenship by gaining doctoral-level education and science and engineering skills; and
  • An interim solution would be to increase the number of H-1B visas by 10,000, and made available for industry to hire science and engineering applicants with doctorates from U. S. Universities.

C-7:  Reform the current system of “deemed exports.”

  • Provide international students and researchers engaged in fundamental research in the United States with access to information and research equipment in the U. S. industrial, academic and national laboratories comparable with the access provided to U. S. citizens and permanent residents;
  • Exclude information and facilities restricted under national-security regulations; the effect of deemed-exports regulations on the education and fundamental research work of international students and scholars should be limited by removing all technology items (information and equipment) from the deemed-exports technology list that are available for purchase on the overseas open market from foreign or U. S. companies or that have manuals that are available in the public domain, in libraries, over the internet or from manufacturers.

Point-of-Information:  “The controls governed by the Export Administration Act and its implementing regulations extend to the transfer of technology.” The reason for such changes proposed by the Committee is that “providing information that is subject to export controls such as some kinds of computer hardware to a foreign national within the United States may be “deemed” an export and that transfer requires an export license. Primary responsibility for administration of deemed exports lies with the Department of Commerce, but also involves other agencies.

With the wide-spread claims of U. S. intellectual property being stolen by foreign countries, no doubt Recommendation C-7 would encounter the most resistance to implementation.

The reader's comments or questions are always welcome. E-mail me at