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International Benchmarking of US Research Fields
  • Establish a system to conduct regular international benchmarking assessments of US research to provide information on the world leadership status of key fields and subfields of scientific and technologic research.

Critical Technologies
  • Establish a federal office that would coordinate ongoing private and public assessments of critical technologies and initiate additional assessments where needed.

Data Collection and Dissemination
  • Mandate that the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy prepare a regular report on innovation that would be linked to the federal budget cycle.

  • Provide the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Science Resources Statistics (SRS) with resources to launch a program of innovation surveys.

  • Ensure that research and innovation survey programs, such as the NSF R&D survey, incorporate emerging, high-growth, technology-intensive industries, such as telecommunications and biotechnology, and industries across the service sector—financial services, transportation, and retailing, among others.


As part of the technology and international-competitiveness debates of the 1980s and 1990s, several initiatives were launched to assess national capabilities in specific fields of science and engineering. Many of the early assessments looked at Japanese capabilities and were performed by US or international panels.1 In the late 1980s, the Japan Technology Evaluation Center started as an interagency federal initiative managed by SAIC; it evolved into an NSF-contracted center at Loyola College of Maryland and is now an independent nonprofit known as WTEC, Inc.2 WTEC assessments cover a variety of countries and fields and are undertaken on an ad hoc basis. They are funded by the federal agencies most interested in the specific field being assessed.


National Research Council, National Materials Advisory Board. High-Technology Ceramics in Japan. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1984.


See the WTEC, Inc., Web site. Available at:

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