idly through a society, transforming multiple areas of economic activity and in turn triggering further innovations. The prime example is information technology, which has had a dramatic and accelerating influence on manufacturing, the provision of services, and other economic activities.
Intensive study of innovation as an engine of economic growth and social change in an extremely complex social context could provide guidance for policy-makers and other leaders. For example, is the current federal support of science and technology appropriately balanced across fields? What would be the effects if federal R&D were returned to its historical high as a share of GDP?
Another important topic for research is the organization of the federal agencies that support R&D. New organizational models could be explored, performance metrics developed, and approaches tested.
Options for the federal government include the following:
Support the development of a new interdisciplinary field of quantitative science and technology-policy studies that could work to predict the effect of specific science and technology projects on the world’s economies and workforces.23
Support research to examine the organization models of R&D agencies and potential changes in practices and structures.