On Monday (9/21), President Obama announced his American Innovation Strategy. The strategy includes doubling the research and development budgets of three key science agencies: the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology. The President also proposed an investment of more than 3% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in public and private research and development.
The President’s plan has three primary parts:
1. Invest in the Building Blocks of American Innovation: We must first ensure that our economy is given all the necessary tools for successful innovation, from investments in research and development to the human, physical, and technological capital needed to perform that research and transfer those innovations.
2. Promote Competitive Markets that Spur Productive Entrepreneurship: It is imperative to create a national environment ripe for entrepreneurship and risk taking that allows U.S. companies to be internationally competitive in a global exchange of ideas and innovation. Through competitive markets, innovations diffuse and scale appropriately across industries and globally.
3. Catalyze Breakthroughs for National Priorities: There are certain sectors of exceptional national importance where the market is unlikely to produce the desirable outcomes on its own. These include developing alternative energy sources, reducing costs and improving lives with health IT, and manufacturing advanced vehicles. In these industries where markets may fail on their own, government can be part of the solution.
The President’s plan provides no timeline for implementation. However, we are hopeful that these investments will be proposed and adopted as funds provided by ARRA run out, so that we can see sustained funding in the referenced agencies.