U.S. competitiveness in global research and development (R&D) is hampered by political bias and a lack of diversity, according to Ford School professor Shobita Parthasarathy. She spoke at a February 25 meeting of the National Academy of Sciences, which marked the 75th anniversary of the release in 1945 of a framework for national investment in science, and projected forward to the next 75 years of scientific research. China may have spent more in 2019 on R&D than the United States, according to Congressional testimony by National Science Board chair Diane Souvaine. To stay ahead the U.S. needs to make changes, as noted in articles that were published on Axios and DualDove February 29.
A lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the sciences has slowed R&D progress in the U.S. “Most exciting scientific advancements are creating moral quandaries that worry citizens partially because they know they will bear any burdens and partially because they feel they have no voice over the direction of science and tech even in a democracy,” said Parthasarathy.
Antiquated political agendas have led to unrepresentative scientific policies and advancements. Parthasarathy calls for inclusivity in scientific enterprises to be “more representative and ultimately more politically legitimate.”
Shobita Parthasarathy is a professor of public policy and faculty lead of the Ford School’s Science Technology and Public Policy research center. Her research focuses on the comparative and international politics and policy related to science and technology. She is interested in how to develop innovation, and innovation policy, to better achieve public interest and social justice goals. Much of her previous work has focused on the governance of emerging science and technology, particularly those that have uncertain environmental, social, ethical, political, and health implications. She is the author of multiple articles and two books: Building Genetic Medicine: Breast Cancer, Technology, and the Comparative Politics of Health Care (MIT Press 2007; paperback 2012); and Patent Politics: Life Forms, Markets, and the Public Interest in the United States and Europe (University of Chicago Press, 2017).