Who will win the 21st century “brains race”?

Congress must invest in basic research for America to stay ahead.

Image credit: iStock

Last November the Rosetta rocket, first sent to space in 2004, successfully landed on a moving comet for the first time in human history. That same month, Forbes reported that the world’s fastest supercomputer doubled the speed of its nearest competitor.

We’ve gotten used to the idea that these kinds of accomplishments are made in America. But in the 21st century, we can no longer just assume the next great technological and scientific accomplishments are going to come from our labs and garages. After all, the Rosetta rocket was launched by the European Space Agency – and that super computer? You can find it in China’s National University of Defense Technology.

Amidst this backdrop, a few weeks ago the House of Representatives considered reauthorizing the America COMPETES Act. This law was originally passed in 2007 as a bipartisan bill seeking to double federal investments in research and development by 2020 and to enhance our country’s focus on science education and innovation. MORE