Third, there is enormous untapped opportunity to spark the imagination of our young people to take on the great global challenges of our time. For example, there truly is a "new frontier" in today's global energy and environmental challenges. Students across the country are being inspired to pursue related fields of study. This group stands to discover new and alternative energy sources and to develop technologies that will conserve energy and protect the environment. We must do everything possible to ignite and sustain their motivation and enable their scientific pursuits.
Because we educate and prepare the scientific and technological workforce of the future, universities are key components of the innovation infrastructure. Innovation requires not only investment in research and development, but also investment in people. The question is, are we as a nation equipped with the human capital for the robust innovation that our energy, environmental, and other challenges demand of us?
We will be equipped if our education system is strong—from grade schools through universities—and if we, as a nation, continue to believe that investing in science and science education is essential to our global competitiveness, economic prosperity, and the wellbeing of society.
If the current generation can be inspired and enabled to take up the innovation challenge, just as we were inspired 40 years ago, there are no boundaries to what can be achieved.