Is the US Party Over?

The country's fading dominance in life sciences research spells trouble for the whole world.

Robert Palazzo
Jan 1, 2008

If, as Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) has said, the 21st century will be the "century of the life sciences," the United States should probably be credited with ushering in this phenomenon through a large and deliberate investment in biomedical research, through rapidly increasing the National Institutes of Health budget. More quickly than anyone had initially imagined, the human genome was sequenced, unlocking a wealth of information leading to an exponential growth in research discoveries while laying one of the key pillars for the development of the biotechnology industry. The United States trained a new and much larger generation of scientists. The power of biotechnology, in applications ranging from medical to industrial to agricultural, was unveiled and unleashed.

Perhaps most importantly, we saw a tremendous growth in collaboration across national boundaries. A number of factors have contributed to this increasing international collaboration. Perhaps the simplest is the overarching trend of globalization....