Chemistry plays a pivotal role in the strength of the U.S. economy and in the well-being of humankind. Among their achievements, chemists have created life-saving pharmaceuticals, developed energy solutions, improved agricultural productivity, and produced novel materials used in a wide array of products, from cookware to clothing to electronic devices. The many sectors reliant on the U.S. chemical economy are responsible for $5.2 trillion, or 25%, of the U.S. GDP, and the entire chemical enterprise supports 4.1 million jobs in the United States.
While the United States remains a key player in the global chemical enterprise, the nation faces several challenges related to the changing landscape of the chemical economy. One challenge is the urgent need to integrate sustainability into manufacturing, product usage, recycling, and product disposal, and also to address the many negative impacts that chemical processes and products have already had on the environment. Keeping pace with technological change is another challenge, as the ability to apply emerging processes, tools, and technologies will require significant investment in research infrastructure and in the training, educating, and preparation of the future workforce.
Conducted at the request of the American Chemical Society, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Energy, this report identifies strategies and options for research investments that will support U.S. leadership while considering environmental sustainability and developing a diverse chemical economy workforce.
Committee on Enhancing the U.S. Chemical Economy through Investments in Fundamental Research in the Chemical Sciences https://www.nationalacademies.org/our-work/enhancing-the-us-chemical-economy-through-investments-in-fundamental-research-in-the-chemical-sciences