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Census Bureau Reports Majority of STEM College Graduates Do Not Work in STEM Occupations

July 10, 2014 Comments off

Census Bureau Reports Majority of STEM College Graduates Do Not Work in STEM Occupations
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau reported today that 74 percent of those who have a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering and math — commonly referred to as STEM — are not employed in STEM occupations. In addition, men continue to be overrepresented in STEM, especially in computer and engineering occupations. About 86 percent of engineers and 74 percent of computer professionals are men.

According to new statistics from the 2012 American Community Survey, engineering and computer, math and statistics majors had the largest share of graduates going into a STEM field with about half employed in a STEM occupation. Science majors had fewer of their graduates employed in STEM. About 26 percent of physical science majors; 15 percent of biological, environmental and agricultural sciences majors; 10 percent of psychology majors; and 7 percent of social science majors were employed in STEM.

Approximately 14 percent of engineers were women, where they were most underrepresented of all the STEM fields. Representation of women was higher among mathematicians and statisticians (45 percent), life scientists (47 percent) and social scientists (63 percent). The rates of mathematicians and statisticians, and life scientists are not statistically different from each other.

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Making Effective Fixed-Guideway Transit Investments: Indicators of Success

July 5, 2014 Comments off

Making Effective Fixed-Guideway Transit Investments: Indicators of Success
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 167: Making Effective Fixed-Guideway Transit Investments: Indicators of Success provides a data-driven, indicator-based model for predicting the success of a fixed guideway transit project. The handbook and final research report make up Parts 1 and 2 of TCRP Report 167, and the spreadsheet tool is available separately for download.

Still Searching: Job Vacancies and STEM Skills

July 2, 2014 Comments off

Still Searching: Job Vacancies and STEM Skills
Source: Brookings Institution

This report uses a unique database from the labor market information company Burning Glass and other sources to analyze the skill requirements and the advertisement duration time for millions of job openings. It reaches the following conclusions:

Job openings for STEM positions take longer to fill than openings in other fields.

Specific high-value skills requested by employers and common to STEM occupations are particularly scarce relative to demand and yet particularly valuable to employers.

The regional supply of workers in a given occupation affects the length of vacancy advertisements.

STEM 2.0 — An Imperative For Our Future Workforce

June 19, 2014 Comments off

STEM 2.0 — An Imperative For Our Future Workforce (PDF)
Source: STEMconnector

STEM 2.0-An Imperative For Our Future Workforce is a collection of articles outlining and supporting STEM 2.0™, an initiative of STEMconnector® and its Innovation Task Force. STEM 2.0 is focused on identifying, defining and inculcating in students several new key capability platforms, or skill sets, the future workforce will need to become successful STEM professionals in tomorrow’s economy. The first five articles define the core capability platforms (CPs) of the initiative: Employability Skills 2.0™; Innovation Excellence; Digital Fluency; and Hard Skills. The publication continues with different viewpoints in support of STEM 2.0™ ranging from the education community, industry, and other important stakeholders. STEMconnector has adopted and plans to integrate the STEM 2.0™ initiative into its various programs.

Analyze This! 145 Questions for Data Scientists in Software Engineering

June 18, 2014 Comments off

Analyze This! 145 Questions for Data Scientists in Software Engineering
Source: Microsoft Research

In this paper, we present the results from two surveys related to data science applied to software engineering. The first survey solicited questions that software engineers would like data scientists to investigate about software, about software processes and practices, and about software engineers. Our analyses resulted in a list of 145 questions grouped into 12 categories. The second survey asked a different pool of software engineers to rate these 145 questions and identify the most important ones to work on first. Respondents favored questions that focus on how customers typically use their applications. We also saw opposition to questions that assess the performance of individual employees or compare them with one another. Our categorization and catalog of 145 questions can help researchers, practitioners, and educators to more easily focus their efforts on topics that are important to the software industry.

Science and Engineering State Profiles

June 16, 2014 Comments off

Science and Engineering State Profiles
Source: National Science Foundation

State Profiles is an interactive website providing access to state-level data on science and engineering personnel and finances and state rankings. State Profiles displays up to 10 state profiles of the user’s choice. Data are available from NSF-sponsored surveys on employed science, engineering, or health (SEH) doctorate holders; science and engineering (S&E) doctorates awarded, including by major S&E fields; SEH graduate students and postdoctorates; federal R&D obligations by agency and performer; total and industrial R&D expenditures; and academic R&D expenditures, including by major S&E fields. Data available from other sources include population, civilian labor force, per capita personal income, federal expenditures, patents, small business innovation research awards, and gross domestic product. All data are available for download. Data cover 2003 to present.

Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering

June 13, 2014 Comments off

Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering
Source: National Science Foundation

Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering provides statistical information about the participation of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering education and employment. A formal report, now in the form of a digest, is issued every 2 years.

Satellite Anomalies: Benefits of a Centralized Anomaly Database and Methods for Securely Sharing Information Among Satellite Operators

June 3, 2014 Comments off

Satellite Anomalies: Benefits of a Centralized Anomaly Database and Methods for Securely Sharing Information Among Satellite Operators
Source: RAND Corporation

Satellite anomalies are mission-degrading events that negatively affect on-orbit operational spacecraft. All satellites experience anomalies of some kind during their operational lifetime. They range in severity from temporary errors in noncritical subsystems to loss-of-contact and complete mission failure. There is a range of causes for these anomalies, and investigations by the satellite operator or manufacturer to determine the cause of a specific anomaly are sometimes conducted at significant expense.

Maintaining an anomaly database is one way to build an empirical understanding of what situations are more or less likely to result in satellite anomalies, and help determine causal relationships. These databases can inform future design and orbital regimes, and can help determine measures to prolong the useful life of an on-orbit spacecraft experiencing problems. However, there is no centralized, up-to-date, detailed, and broadly available database of anomalies covering many different satellites.

This report describes the nature and causes of satellite anomalies, and the potential benefits of a shared and centralized satellite anomaly database. Findings indicate that a shared satellite anomaly database would bring significant benefits to the commercial community, and the main obstacles are reluctance to share detailed information with the broader community, as well as a lack of dedicated resources available to any trusted third party to build and manage such a database. Trusted third parties and cryptographic methods such as secure multiparty computing or differential privacy are not complete solutions, but show potential to be further tailored to help resolve the issue of securely sharing anomaly data.

Foreign Graduate Enrollment in Science and Engineering Continues to Rise While Overall Graduate Enrollment Remains Flat

May 28, 2014 Comments off

Foreign Graduate Enrollment in Science and Engineering Continues to Rise While Overall Graduate Enrollment Remains Flat
Source: National Science Foundation

The number of U.S. citizens and permanent residents enrolled in science and engineering (S&E) graduate programs declined to 385,343 students in 2012. The 1.7% drop from 2011 was countered by a 4.3% increase in enrollment of foreign S&E graduate students on temporary visas, which rose to 176,075. Overall growth of S&E graduate student enrollment stalled for the second year in a row in 2012, after experiencing 2%–3% annual increases from 2005 to 2010. S&E graduate enrollment grew by less than 1% in 2011 and 2012.

These and other findings are from the fall 2012 Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering (GSS), cosponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

CRS — Green Infrastructure and Issues in Managing Urban Stormwater

May 12, 2014 Comments off

Green Infrastructure and Issues in Managing Urban Stormwater (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Library)

For decades, stormwater, or runoff, was considered largely a problem of excess rainwater or snowmelt impacting communities. Prevailing engineering practices were to move stormwater away from cities as rapidly as possible to avoid potential damages from flooding. More recently, these practices have evolved and come to recognize stormwater as a resource that, managed properly within communities, has multiple benefits.

An overview of employment and wages in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) groups

May 12, 2014 Comments off

An overview of employment and wages in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) groups
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Total May 2013 OES employment in all STEM occupations is 16,994,480. This is nearly 13 percent of total national employment (132,588,810). Across the four types of STEM subdomains, health occupations have the most employment (8,276,100) and architecture occupations have the least employment (156,650). Of the five types of STEM occupations, the largest by far is group A (Research, development, design, or practitioner occupations), with employment of 9,874,110. Next largest is group B (Technologist and technician occupations), with employment of 5,212,070. The remaining three types of STEM occupations each have employment totals less than 1 million. Now, let’s take a look at employment estimates for each of the 20 groups.

Unemployment among Doctoral Scientists and Engineers Increased but Remained Below the National Average

May 9, 2014 Comments off

Unemployment among Doctoral Scientists and Engineers Increased but Remained Below the National Average
Source: National Science Foundation

In 2010, an estimated 805,500 individuals in the United States held research doctoral degrees in science, engineering, and health (SEH) fields, an increase of 6.2% from 2008. Of these individuals, 709,700 were in the labor force, which includes those employed full time or part time and those actively seeking work (i.e., unemployed). The unemployment rate for SEH doctorate recipients was 2.4% in October 2010, up from 1.7% in October 2008 and similar to the rate in October 2003 (table 1). Moreover, the 2010 unemployment rate of the SEH doctoral labor force was about one-third of the October 2010 unemployment rate for the general population aged 25 years or older (8.2%).

Unemployment among Doctoral Scientists and Engineers Increased but Remained Below the National Average

April 17, 2014 Comments off

Unemployment among Doctoral Scientists and Engineers Increased but Remained Below the National Average
Source: National Science Foundation

In 2010, an estimated 805,500 individuals in the United States held research doctoral degrees in science, engineering, and health (SEH) fields, an increase of 6.2% from 2008. Of these individuals, 709,700 were in the labor force, which includes those employed full time or part time and those actively seeking work (i.e., unemployed). The unemployment rate for SEH doctorate recipients was 2.4% in October 2010, up from 1.7% in October 2008 and similar to the rate in October 2003 (table 1). Moreover, the 2010 unemployment rate of the SEH doctoral labor force was about one-third of the October 2010 unemployment rate for the general population aged 25 years or older (8.2%).

CRS — The U.S. Science and Engineering Workforce: Recent, Current, and Projected Employment, Wages, and Unemployment

March 28, 2014 Comments off

The U.S. Science and Engineering Workforce: Recent, Current, and Projected Employment, Wages, and Unemployment (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

In 2012, there were 6.2 million scientists and engineers (as defined in this report) employed in the United States, accounting for 4.8% of total U.S. employment. Science and engineering employment was concentrated in two S&E occupational groups, computer occupations (56%) and engineers (25%), with the rest accounted for by S&E managers (9%), physical scientists (4%), life scientists (4%), and those in mathematical occupations (2%). From 2008 to 2012, S&E employment increased by 352,370, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.5%, while overall U.S. employment contracted at 0.9% CAGR. Viewed only in aggregate, the increase in S&E employment masks the varied degrees of growth and decline in detailed S&E occupations.

In 2012, the mean wage for all scientists and engineers was $87,330, while the mean wage for all other occupations was $45,790. Between 2008 and 2012, the nominal mean wages of the S&E occupational groups grew between 1.4% CAGR (life scientists) and 2.2% CAGR (physical scientists, S&E managers, mathematicians). Inflation-adjusted wage growth for each of the S&E occupational groups was less than 0.6% CAGR, and in the case of life scientists was negative. Nominal wage growth for all occupations in the economy was 1.1%; real wages declined 0.5%.

The Importance of Engineering Talent to the Prosperity and Security of the Nation: Summary of a Forum (2014)

March 19, 2014 Comments off

The Importance of Engineering Talent to the Prosperity and Security of the Nation: Summary of a Forum (2014)
Source: National Academy

The quality of engineering in the United States will only be as good as the quality of the engineers doing it. The recruitment and retention of talented young people into engineering therefore need to be top national priorities, given the crucial importance of engineering to our prosperity, security, health, and well-being. Only 4.4 percent of the undergraduate degrees awarded by US colleges and universities are in engineering, compared with 13 percent in key European countries (the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, and France) and 23 percent in key Asian countries (India, Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore). In the past, the United States has been able to attract engineering graduate students and professionals from other countries to meet the need for engineering talent in the public and private sectors. But other countries are providing increasingly attractive opportunities for engineers, with excellent salaries, facilities, and economic growth potential. The United States can no longer assume that the best engineering talent in the world will want to come to this country.

The Importance of Engineering Talent to the Prosperity and Security of the Nation is the summary of a forum held during the National Academy of Engineering’s 2013 Annual Meeting. Speakers discussed the opportunities and challenges of creation and wise use of engineering talent, and made recommendations for recruitment and retention strategies. This report assesses the status of engineering education in the U.S. and makes recommendations to promote and improve engineering education.

2014 Science and Engineering Indicators

February 10, 2014 Comments off

2014 Science and Engineering Indicators (PDF)
Source: National Science Board

The Indicators series was designed to provide a broad base of quantitative information about U.S. science, engineering, and technology for use by policymakers, researchers, and the general public. Science and Engineering Indicators 2014 contains analyses of key aspects of the scope, quality, and vitality of the Nation’s science and engineering enterprise in the context of global science and technology.

The report presents information on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education at all levels; the scientific and engineering workforce; U.S. and international research and development performance; U.S. competitiveness in high technology; and public attitudes and understanding of science and engineering. A chapter on state-level science and engineering enables state comparisons on selected indicators. An Overview chapter synthesizes selected key themes emerging from the report.

STEM Education for the Innovation Economy

February 10, 2014 Comments off

STEM Education for the Innovation Economy (PDF)
Source: U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee

Innovation is a primary driver of American prosperity. A significant portion of economic growth in the United States has been attributed to improved productivity resulting in part from innovation. To ensure that innovation and productivity growth continue, more Americans than ever will need to be equipped with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills.

Over the next decade, the economy will need nearly one million more STEM professionals than the United States will produce at the current rate. Due to the high demand for STEM-capable workers, wage and employment prospects for individuals with these skills are excellent. Even so, not enough Americans are studying STEM to meet the economy’s needs . Fewer than one-in-five students obtain a bachelor’s degree in STEM and the percentage of freshmen intending to study computer science dropped to 1.5 percent in 2010, down from 5.2 percent 10 years earlier.

Efforts to increase the number of STEM-capable workers must focus not only on higher education , but also on helping those who want to retrain and transition into STEM occupations. Certificate programs, for example, can help workers quickly acquire STEM skills they did not originally obtain in post-secondary programs. Increasing participation by veterans, women and minorities will also help provide additional STEM workers.

This report examines the growing number of STEM jobs in the United States and how to help American students take advant age of those opportunities. It also suggests policy changes that can be implemented to help the workforce become more STEM proficient.

Moore’s law: Repeal or renewal?

January 6, 2014 Comments off

Moore’s law: Repeal or renewal?
Source: McKinsey & Company

The global semiconductor industry has recorded impressive achievements since 1965, when Intel cofounder Gordon Moore published the observation that would become the industry’s touchstone. Moore’s law states that the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles every two years, and for the past four decades it has set the pace for progress in the semiconductor industry. The positive by-products of the constant scaling down that Moore’s law predicts include simultaneous cost declines, made possible by fitting more transistors per area onto silicon chips, and performance increases with regard to speed, compactness, and power consumption. As a result, semiconductor-enabled products today play integral roles in virtually every aspect of modern life.

In this article, we will examine the technologies that aim to extend the life of Moore’s law and model their impact on four likely future scenarios for the industry. Obviously, there are many factors in play, but we believe the economics of continued advances in performance could eventually disrupt the companies competing in the business today.

FAA Selects Six Sites for Unmanned Aircraft Research

December 30, 2013 Comments off

FAA Selects Six Sites for Unmanned Aircraft Research
Source: Federal Aviation Administration

After a rigorous 10-month selection process involving 25 proposals from 24 states, the Federal Aviation Administration has chosen six unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research and test site operators across the country.
In selecting the six test site operators, the FAA considered geography, climate, location of ground infrastructure, research needs, airspace use, safety, aviation experience and risk. In totality, these six test applications achieve cross-country geographic and climatic diversity and help the FAA meet its UAS research needs.

A brief description of the six test site operators and the research they will conduct into future UAS use are below:

University of Alaska. The University of Alaska proposal contained a diverse set of test site range locations in seven climatic zones as well as geographic diversity with test site range locations in Hawaii and Oregon. The research plan includes the development of a set of standards for unmanned aircraft categories, state monitoring and navigation. Alaska also plans to work on safety standards for UAS operations.

State of Nevada. Nevada’s project objectives concentrate on UAS standards and operations as well as operator standards and certification requirements. The applicant’s research will also include a concentrated look at how air traffic control procedures will evolve with the introduction of UAS into the civil environment and how these aircraft will be integrated with NextGen. Nevada’s selection contributes to geographic and climatic diversity.

New York’s Griffiss International Airport. Griffiss International plans to work on developing test and evaluation as well as verification and validation processes under FAA safety oversight. The applicant also plans to focus its research on sense and avoid capabilities for UAS and its sites will aid in researching the complexities of integrating UAS into the congested, northeast airspace.

North Dakota Department of Commerce. North Dakota plans to develop UAS airworthiness essential data and validate high reliability link technology. This applicant will also conduct human factors research. North Dakota’s application was the only one to offer a test range in the Temperate (continental) climate zone and included a variety of different airspace which will benefit multiple users.

Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. Texas A&M plans to develop system safety requirements for UAS vehicles and operations with a goal of protocols and procedures for airworthiness testing. The selection of Texas A&M contributes to geographic and climactic diversity.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). Virginia Tech plans to conduct UAS failure mode testing and identify and evaluate operational and technical risks areas. This proposal includes test site range locations in both Virginia and New Jersey.

CRS — Geoengineering: Governance and Technology Policy

December 6, 2013 Comments off

Geoengineering: Governance and Technology Policy (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The term “geoengineering” describes an array of technologies that aim, through large-scale and deliberate modifications of the Earth’s energy balance, to reduce temperatures and counteract anthropogenic climate change. Most of these technologies are at the conceptual and research stages, and their effectiveness at reducing global temperatures has yet to be proven. Moreover, very few studies have been published that document the cost, environmental effects, sociopolitical impacts, and legal implications of geoengineering. If geoengineering technologies were to be deployed, they are expected to have the potential to cause significant transboundary effects.

In general, geoengineering technologies are categorized as either a carbon dioxide removal (CDR) method or a solar radiation management (SRM) method. CDR methods address the warming effects of greenhouse gases by removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. CDR methods include ocean fertilization, and carbon capture and sequestration. SRM methods address climate change by increasing the reflectivity of the Earth’s atmosphere or surface. Aerosol injection and space-based reflectors are examples of SRM methods. SRM methods do not remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, but can be deployed faster with relatively immediate global cooling results compared to CDR methods.

To date, there is limited federal involvement in, or oversight of, geoengineering. However, some states as well as some federal agencies, notably the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Defense, have taken actions related to geoengineering research or projects. At the international level, there is no international agreement or organization governing the full spectrum of possible geoengineering activities. Nevertheless, provisions of many international agreements, including those relating to climate change, maritime pollution, and air pollution, would likely inform the types of geoengineering activities that state parties to these agreements might choose to pursue. In 2010, the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted provisions calling for member parties to abstain from geoengineering unless the parties have fully considered the risks and impacts of those activities on biodiversity.

With the possibility that geoengineering technologies may be developed and that climate change will remain an issue of global concern, policymakers may determine whether geoengineering warrants attention at either the federal or international level. If so, policymakers will also need to consider whether geoengineering can be effectively addressed by amendments to existing laws and international agreements or, alternatively, whether new laws and international treaties would need to be developed.

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