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America’s Advanced Industries: What They Are, Where They Are, and Why They Matter

February 3, 2015 Comments off

America’s Advanced Industries: What They Are, Where They Are, and Why They Matter
Source: Brookings Institution

The need for economic renewal in the United States remains urgent. Years of disappointing job growth and stagnant incomes for the majority of workers have left the nation shaken and frustrated. At the same time, astonishing new technologies—ranging from advanced robotics and “3-D printing” to the “digitization of everything”—are provoking genuine excitement even as they make it hard to see where things are going.

Hence this paper: At a critical moment, this report asserts the special importance to America’s future of what the paper calls America’s “advanced industries” sector.

Characterized by its deep involvement with technology research and development (R&D) and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) workers, the sector encompasses 50 industries ranging from manufacturing industries such as automaking and aerospace to energy industries such as oil and gas extraction to high-tech services such as computer software and computer system design, including for health applications.

These industries encompass the nation’s “tech” sector at its broadest and most consequential. Their dynamism is going to be a central component of any future revitalized U.S. economy. As such, these industries encompass the country’s best shot at supporting innovative, inclusive, and sustainable growth. For that reason, this report provides a wide-angle overview of the advanced industry sector that reviews its role in American prosperity, assesses key trends, and maps its metropolitan and global competitive standing before outlining high-level strategies to enhance that.

Public and Scientists’ Views on Science and Society

January 29, 2015 Comments off

Public and Scientists’ Views on Science and Society
Source: Pew Research Center

Scientific innovations are deeply embedded in national life — in the economy, in core policy choices about how people care for themselves and use the resources around them, and in the topmost reaches of Americans’ imaginations. New Pew Research Center surveys of citizens and a representative sample of scientists connected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) show powerful crosscurrents that both recognize the achievements of scientists and expose stark fissures between scientists and citizens on a range of science, engineering and technology issues.

Reaching Students: What Research Says About Effective Instruction in Undergraduate Science and Engineering (2015)

January 21, 2015 Comments off

Reaching Students: What Research Says About Effective Instruction in Undergraduate Science and Engineering (2015)
Source: National Research Council

The undergraduate years are a turning point in producing scientifically literate citizens and future scientists and engineers. Evidence from research about how students learn science and engineering shows that teaching strategies that motivate and engage students will improve their learning. So how do students best learn science and engineering? Are there ways of thinking that hinder or help their learning process? Which teaching strategies are most effective in developing their knowledge and skills? And how can practitioners apply these strategies to their own courses or suggest new approaches within their departments or institutions? Reaching Students strives to answer these questions.

Reaching Students presents the best thinking to date on teaching and learning undergraduate science and engineering. Focusing on the disciplines of astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, geosciences, and physics, this book is an introduction to strategies to try in your classroom or institution. Concrete examples and case studies illustrate how experienced instructors and leaders have applied evidence-based approaches to address student needs, encouraged the use of effective techniques within a department or an institution, and addressed the challenges that arose along the way.

The research-based strategies in Reaching Students can be adopted or adapted by instructors and leaders in all types of public or private higher education institutions. They are designed to work in introductory and upper-level courses, small and large classes, lectures and labs, and courses for majors and non-majors. And these approaches are feasible for practitioners of all experience levels who are open to incorporating ideas from research and reflecting on their teaching practices. This book is an essential resource for enriching instruction and better educating students.

EU — Photonics: An industry moving at the speed of light

October 9, 2014 Comments off

Photonics: An industry moving at the speed of light
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

Photonics is all around us; it is an integral part of modern human society, contributing to our daily lives. The science of photonics is the study an utilisation of light or photons. Consequently due to its interdisciplinary nature it crosses the fields of physics, chemistry and electrical engineering.

The majority of society is unaware if the collective study of phonics or its importance to industry. Instead of seeing devices that are produced by, or that use photonics, we simply see electronics. Unaware of the amazing technology within, it’s extensive nature or its complexities. Yet photonics is a sector that is increasingly vital to our economic growth and standard of living.it is driving innovation forward faster than ever before and revolutionising our lives, and altering the way we view and experience the world around us.

Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts (2014)

September 29, 2014 Comments off

Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts (2014)
Source: National Research Council

Hurricane- and coastal-storm-related losses have increased substantially during the past century, largely due to increases in population and development in the most susceptible coastal areas. Climate change poses additional threats to coastal communities from sea level rise and possible increases in strength of the largest hurricanes. Several large cities in the United States have extensive assets at risk to coastal storms, along with countless smaller cities and developed areas. The devastation from Superstorm Sandy has heightened the nation’s awareness of these vulnerabilities. What can we do to better prepare for and respond to the increasing risks of loss?

Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts reviews the coastal risk-reduction strategies and levels of protection that have been used along the United States East and Gulf Coasts to reduce the impacts of coastal flooding associated with storm surges. This report evaluates their effectiveness in terms of economic return, protection of life safety, and minimization of environmental effects. According to this report, the vast majority of the funding for coastal risk-related issues is provided only after a disaster occurs. This report calls for the development of a national vision for coastal risk management that includes a long-term view, regional solutions, and recognition of the full array of economic, social, environmental, and life-safety benefits that come from risk reduction efforts. To support this vision, Reducing Coastal Risk states that a national coastal risk assessment is needed to identify those areas with the greatest risks that are high priorities for risk reduction efforts. The report discusses the implications of expanding the extent and levels of coastal storm surge protection in terms of operation and maintenance costs and the availability of resources.

Reducing Coastal Risk recommends that benefit-cost analysis, constrained by acceptable risk criteria and other important environmental and social factors, be used as a framework for evaluating national investments in coastal risk reduction. The recommendations of this report will assist engineers, planners and policy makers at national, regional, state, and local levels to move from a nation that is primarily reactive to coastal disasters to one that invests wisely in coastal risk reduction and builds resilience among coastal communities.

New From the GAO

September 22, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Identity Theft: Additional Actions Could Help IRS Combat the Large, Evolving Threat of Refund Fraud. GAO-14-633,August 20.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-633
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665367.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/665529

2. Oil and Gas Transportation: Department of Transportation Is Taking Actions to Address Rail Safety, but Additional Actions Are Needed to Improve Pipeline Safety. GAO-14-667, August 21.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-667
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665403.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/665350

3. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Procedures for Reporting Certain Financial Management Information Should Be Improved. GAO-14-697, September 22.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-697
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665984.pdf

4. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Some Privacy and Security Procedures for Data Collections Should Continue Being Enhanced. GAO-14-758, September 22.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-758
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666001.pdf

5. Bureau of Prisons: Management of New Prison Activations Can Be Improved. GAO-14-709, August 22.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-709
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665416.pdf

6. Army Corps of Engineers: The Corps Needs to Take Steps to Identify All Projects and Studies Eligible for Deauthorization. GAO-14-699, August 21.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-699
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665394.pdf

Unemployment among Doctoral Scientists and Engineers Remained Below the National Average in 2013

September 19, 2014 Comments off

Unemployment among Doctoral Scientists and Engineers Remained Below the National Average in 2013
Source: National Science Foundation

In 2013, an estimated 837,900 individuals in the United States held research doctoral degrees in science, engineering, and health (SEH) fields, an increase of 4.0% from 2010. Of these individuals, approximately 735,900 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 in the labor force was 2.1% in February 2013, down from 2.4% in October 2010 (table 1). Moreover, the 2013 unemployment rate of the SEH doctoral labor force was one-third of the February 2013 unemployment rate for the general population aged 25 years or older (6.3%).

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