Thursday, July 13

IP6
Diversity, Innovation, and our Scientific and Technological Workforce

9:15 AM - 10:00 AM
Room: Imperial Ballroom - ML
Chair: Richard A. Tapia, Rice University

For decades the United States has led the world in innovation. Our talent for creative science and technology has been the foundation of our economy.

But today there is concern that this leadership, which has depended in large part on the importation of talent from overseas, is faltering. Why? The answer is twofold: immigration policy is limiting the number of international scientists coming to the U.S. and-perhaps more significantly-other countries are taking steps to develop their intellectual capital and keep it at home through investment in education and research.

The obvious solution is for us to do likewise: to develop America's own intellectual capital more vigorously. But we have had little movemebnt and it is still difficult for women, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and African Americans to join the ranks of scientists and engineers.

Underrepresented minorities in our country remain a virtually untapped source of innovation and the scientific and technological workforce. If we don't address the obstacles that continue to keep many Americans out of science and engineering, the U.S. will lose its leadership role and the underrepresentation will continue to endanger the health of the nation. As Dr. Shirley Jackson has noted. "National policy must assure our intellectual security in order to assure our national future."

Richard Tapia
Rice University

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