The United States is on the verge of losing its leading place in the world's technology. So says more than one study in recent years. One of the reasons for this decline is the parallel decline in the number of U.S. scientists and engineers.
Since 1976, employment of scientists and engineers is up 85 percent. This trend is expected to continue. However, the trend shows that the number of 22-year-olds the near term source of future PH.D.s-is declining. Further adding to the problem is the increased competition for these candidates from other fields-law, medicine, business, etc. While the number of U.S. PH.D.s in science and engineering declines, the award of PH.D.s to foreign nationals is increasing rapidly.
Our inability to motivate students to pursue science and engineering careers at the graduate level is compounded because of the intense demand industry has for bright Bachelor's and Master's degree holders. Too often, promising PH.D. Candidates, confronting the cost and financial sacrifice of pursuing their education, find the attraction of industry irresistible.