September 24, 2010

APS Urges U.S. Senate to Approve America COMPETES Bill

Updated Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited Report States COMPETES Crucial to Keeping U.S. Globally Competitive

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Physical Society (APS), a leading organization of physicists, today expresses its disappointment over the failure of Congress to reauthorize the America COMPETES (Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science) Act – a blueprint for doubling investments in science research programs and expanding math and science education – all critically important to the nation’s long-term competitiveness.

An update of the highly acclaimed Rising Above the Gathering Storm report – Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5 – states that America’s ability to compete for quality jobs in the global economy has deteriorated since the first report was released five years ago.

The little progress that has been made in addressing the nation’s competitiveness is largely due to the COMPETES Act and funding in the stimulus bill – both of which are due to expire soon, states the reports. 

Furthermore, while the U.S. has fallen behind in its support of research and math and science education, nations in Europe and Asia have increased their support of their scientific enterprise.

“Failure to reauthorize America COMPETES will send a clear message to our economic rivals around the world: We are not prepared to compete,” said Michael S. Lubell, director of public affairs for APS.

Some examples that the nation’s competitive capacity is slipping as noted by the National Academies of Science study panel that released the updated Gathering Storm report:

  • In 2009, 51 percent of U.S. patents were awarded to non-U.S. companies.
  • China has replaced the U.S. as the world’s No. 1 high-technology exporter and is now second in the world in publication of biomedical research articles.
  • Almost one-third of U.S. manufacturing companies responding to a survey say they are suffering from some level of skills shortage.

About APS

The American Physical Society ( is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy and international activities. APS represents over 51,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, MD (Headquarters), Ridge, NY, and Washington, DC.

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