The California Council on Science and Technology, at the Governor’s request, convened four task forces chaired by corporate leaders to respond to the major recommendations in the National Academies’ report Rising Above the Gathering Storm (October 2005). Those recommendations, presented in a context for California, are:
- Increase California’s talent pool by vastly improving K-12 science and mathematics education.
- Ensure that California is the premier place in the world to innovate; invest in downstream activities such as manufacturing and marketing; and create high-paying jobs based on innovation.
- Make California the most attractive setting in which to study and perform research so that we can develop, recruit, and retain the best and brightest students, scientists, and engineers from within the United States and throughout the world.
- Sustain and strengthen California’s commitment to long-term basic research that has the potential to be transformational to maintain the flow of ideas that fuel the economy, provide security, and enhance the quality of life.
In response, CCST has prepared a list of “actionable” items with both short-term and long-term components. This was accomplished by convening four task forces chaired by industry leaders to identify state assets and brainstorm about concrete actions that state government, business and industry, higher education, and federal laboratories could implement to address identified challenges.
Principal recommendations to the Governor:
- Initiate an aggressive “California Campaign for S&T Talent” by creating a highly competitive environment that attracts and retains top talent in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), both from the U.S. and around the world. This initiative is about bringing to California the best and the brightest in all fields – including K-12 teaching – and it will require that we both increase our support for K-12 science and mathematics teachers and reexamine some of the difficult issues of immigration posed by a post-9/11 world.
- Fully leverage your position with the entertainment industry to make S&T education and careers the envy of all youngsters across all segments of California’s diverse population. Were you to lead this as a key communications campaign, your influence could generate enormous enthusiasm, and gain significant traction across a wide range of sectors – from students across diverse cultural and economic backgrounds, to K-12 teachers and leaders within higher education, entrepreneurial enterprises and industry.
- Create a Cabinet-level science and technology policy function, similar to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Doing so would elevate S&T issues to the place where they rightfully belong – among the highest of priorities in the state – and help ensure that California remains the most competitive location in the world for S&T education, research at the frontiers of knowledge, and innovation.
- Make California the most productive place in the world to do research and to innovate through strategic investments in research that address grand challenges and business-friendly policies that support investments in manufacturing and R&D.