Fostering innovation and entrepreneurship is one of President Obama’s top priorities. His national innovation strategy identifies three critical roles for government: investing in the building blocks of long-term economic growth, such as research and human capital; creating the right environment to encourage private sector investment; and harnessing innovation to address national priorities such as clean energy and a more efficient healthcare system.
During the past week, the Administration has taken important steps to accomplish these goals.
First, the President today unveiled his proposal to expand, simplify, and permanently extend the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit in order to help companies create good jobs in America today and increase productivity and growth in the future. The President’s proposal would devote about $100 billion to encourage private-sector R&D in the United States, and it would make that policy permanent so that businesses can count on it in the years ahead.
Second, on September 2nd Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke convened the first meeting of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This council of leading entrepreneurs, investors, and university presidents had a lively discussion on ways in which the public and private sectors could work together to meet some of the Nation’s biggest challenges and reenergize the Nation’s economic momentum. Members of the council proposed ideas for celebrating entrepreneurs and expanding access to capital for high-growth firms. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel also addressed the group, a clear indication of how important this issue is to the Administration.
In a blog post, co-chair Steve Case summarized the intent of the group and called for, “ideas on what it will take to spark innovation and entrepreneurship in the nation.” We welcome your input.
Third, the National Science Foundation (NSF) issued a solicitation for a new program called Accelerating Innovation Research (AIR). This program will support researchers that have made an important fundamental advance in science and engineering but who require additional funding to help commercialize their research. For example, a researcher might use the funding to build a prototype or scale-up a new manufacturing process. AIR will also support expanded collaborations between NSF-funded centers and the private sector. These collaborations will help commercialize university research, create jobs, and prepare students to become successful entrepreneurs.
Finally, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provided a letter to OSTP on the use of e-commerce to promote the commercialization of federally-funded research. A number of companies, foundations, and non-profit organizations are interested in using online marketplaces and standardized agreements to accelerate the commercialization of research. NIST, the agency responsible for interpreting the “Bayh-Dole” legislation that governs technology transfer of federally-funded research, has concluded that the statute permits using “e-commerce or other creative approaches, especially where such mechanisms can facilitate reduction of transaction costs associated with licensing and promote the translation of federally funded technology.”
Stay tuned—the Administration will have more to say about these issues in the months ahead.
Aneesh Chopra is U.S. Chief Technology Officer
Tom Kalil is Deputy Director for Policy in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy