The future of the American economy rests on our ability to innovate and invent the new products that will define the global economy in the decades ahead. This report seeks to highlight one key aspect of this challenge that is often overlooked: the crucial role that foreign scientists, engineers, and other researchers play in inventing the products and dreaming up the ideas that will power the American economy in the future.
As the magnet for the world's brightest minds, America has prospered greatly from the global innovators who have come here to do research and invent products. However, many of these innovators face daunting or insurmountable immigration hurdles that force them to leave the country and take their talents elsewhere. The problem is particularly acute at our research universities, where we train the top minds, only to send them abroad to compete against us.
This report aims to quantify both the role that foreign-born inventors play in the innovation coming out of US universities, and the costs we incur by training the world's top minds and sending them away. University research is responsible for 53% of all basic research in America. Much of this research leads to patented inventions, new companies, and jobs for American workers.