Preparing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators: Identifying and Developing Our Nation's Human Capital


This report from National Science Board focuses on identifying and preparing the nation's human capital.

The development of the nation's human capital through our education system is an essential building block for future innovation. Currently, the abilities of far too many of America's young men and women go unrecognized and underdeveloped, and, thus, these individuals may fail to reach their full potential. This represents a loss for both the individual and society. There are talented students with enormous potential from every demographic and from every part of our country who, with hard work and the proper educational opportunities, will form the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) innovators.

The purpose of the STEM Innovators project was to explore ways that the country can foster the development of our next generation of leading STEM professionals, entrepreneurs, and inventors, who will form the future vanguard of discovery in science and technology. The Board's rationale for this project was twofold:

  1. The nation's economic prosperity, security, and quality of life depends on the identification and development of our next generation of STEM innovators; and
  2. Every student in America should be given the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.

To address the issue, the Board proposes three keystone recommendations outlined in this report. Additionally, the Board proposes a research agenda for each keystone recommendation. These research findings will inform policy-making in critical areas, such as how to nurture early interest in STEM, best practices for developing STEM related abilities, and means for improving teaching effectiveness.


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National Science Board
National Science Foundation
STEM Career Opportunities and Workforce Development
Publication Year