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Half of Americans See Another Country Emerging as World's Technological Leader

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Half of all U.S. residents expect that another country will become the world leader in addressing technological challenges this century, reveals a new Duke University survey. Only 34 percent of those surveyed gave themselves a grade of A or B for understanding "the world of engineers and what they do." Although 72 percent expect the technological advancements of the 21st century to surpass those of the previous century, only 49 percent believe the United States will lead the way in achieving those advancements.

The Americans' Attitudes Toward Engineering and Engineering Challenges survey was commissioned by Duke's Pratt School of Engineering for a national summit on engineering "grand challenges" the school is hosting in early March. China was chosen by 20 percent of respondents as being the most likely to become the world leader, followed by Japan and Europe at 10 percent each, and India at 4 percent. Respondents were just as likely to say the United States' ability to compete in the technology industry has worsened over the past century as they were to say it has improved.

"Americans understand that innovation is critical to their future, but also recognize that our country's continued leadership isn't assured just because we invented everything from the airplane to the personal computer," says Pratt dean Thomas Katsouleas. Respondents said the best way to improve the U.S.'s standing is with more training for workers, improved K-12 math and science teaching, and tougher standards for public school teachers and students.

From Duke University News & Communications
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