EDITORIAL

Moving Toward Global Science

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Science  12 Aug 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6044, pp. 802
DOI: 10.1126/science.1210025

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Summary

We are experiencing a new era in the advancement of science. More nations recognize that innovation, driven by science and engineering (S&E), is the fuel for economic growth, prosperity, and social well-being. Global annual investment in R&D has doubled since 1996 to $1.1 trillion. There is strong determination in countries large and small to be aggressively competitive in R&D growth, given the lure of innovation, the sway of geopolitical events, and tighter economic interdependence. Relative to their respective gross domestic products, China, India, Korea, Singapore, and Qatar are some of the nations that have substantially increased investments in S&E research and education, with a focus on the strategic development of their S&E workforce. Relative precollege student achievement rankings, intellectual property registrations, and authorship of scientific papers highlight a dynamic global balance. At the same time, the world has become highly interconnected, so that local economic shifts hinge not only on long-term support for scientific research in each country but also on creative global collaboration. Cooperation in this context requires new thinking and an auspicious environment in which to cultivate and fortify this synergy. What strategies will move us there?