This report provides a number of tangible examples of under-exploited areas of science and likely consequences in the form of an innovation deficit, including:
- opportunities with high potential for big payoffs in health, energy, and high-tech industries;
- fields where we risk falling behind in critical strategic capabilities such as supercomputing, secure information systems, and national defense technologies;
- areas where national prestige is at stake, such as space exploration, or where a lack of specialized U.S research facilities is driving key scientific talent to work overseas.
This introduction also cites examples of the benefits from basic research that have helped to shape and maintain U.S. economic power, as well as highlighting industry trends that have made university basic research even more critical to future national economic competitiveness.