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Propelling Technology Innovation:Federal Government Perspectives and Programs

The global competitive environment continues to grown in intensity and scope. The U.S. faces challenges from new competitor nations and companies, from global labor market that increasingly impacts American workers, and from increased foreign investment—both public and private—in research and development. Other Countries have learned that American economic leadership and growth depend on technological innovation, the strength of its workforce, and the existence of a strong infrastructure. Following that lead, they are increasingly reaping the benefits of participating in the global economy. Recognizing these challenges, the Bush Administration is making investments and creating policies that will help the U.S. maintain its global competitiveness and leadership.

The United States needs to be the Innovation Headquarters.

I want to take a minute and outline where we've been..... where we're going....and why the nations needs you.

1. From its early days, this Administration has made technology and innovation priorities in its plan for continued global economic leadership.

  • The Administration has continually proposed record Federal R&D Investment, reaching $126 billion in spending during the current fiscal year – even in a war time budget
  • NNI $3.7 billion authorization in 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development over the next four years that will affect the work and budgets of DOD-DHS-NIH
  • Information technology R&D–
  • Human health (NIH funding)/Biotechnology/Human genome

DOC report on biotechnology serves to foster a better understanding of its role in industry and employment; discuss findings.

  • Refocusing on economic development funding toward tech-based economic growth
  • Upgrading the Patent and Trademark Office
  • the halting of fee diversion will allow the hiring of several hundred new patent examiners

2. America's success has always depended on the strength and talent of its workforce. However, as the global competitive environment changes, so do the requirements for a world-class workforce. The Administration is providing support for education at all levels, K-greys, not only to reinforce the basic skill (such as math and science) that are continually critical to our success, but to promote other skills that will make American workers better able to adapt to new technologies and processes in the workplace.

  • K-12 Education (No Child Left Behind)
  • Technical training: The 21st Century Jobs Initiative – which will provide $500 million to prepare workers for jobs in the new millennium—will maximize the resources of our community colleges, and assist in the retraining/reskilling of professionals.
  • EdTech Initiative: An Interagency working group led by the Department of Commerce and Education is looking at innovation and R&D in technologies for educations and training, determining how to maximize available resources for their application and development and continue to develop the industry.

Coordination between R&D funding and the production of degrees in science and engineering: A correlation has been demonstrated between the areas in which government R&D funds are spent and the output of students majoring in those areas. Current Federal R&D investment in emerging fields such as nanotechnology could have the same impact—producing students who are well-prepared to the added challenges and opportunities of innovative fields and multidisciplinary environments. The Federal government has an important role in funding ..... in education...with an eye on an active private-sector

3. While investment in R&D is important for spurring innovation, it is not sufficient to sustain it. The Administration is working to create a policy environment conducive to innovation, through measures such as:

  • Tax policies
  • Expanded trade opportunities
  • Regulatory reform (which I'm glad to see you are discussing)
  • Tort reform
  • Cost of medical insurance/care
  • Protection of intellectual property (global enforcement, faster patent processing) (also an important part of your discussion)

THE FUTURE A story of acceleration and regulation... These converging technologies—nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science—offer great opportunities; they are the key to continued American innovation, competitiveness, and job creation. But while we work to maximize those benefits, we must keep in mind the additional responsibilities of our global leadership. That leadership is not only limited to the creation and promotion of new technologies, but also to the societal and ethical challenges associated with their utilization, both here in the U.S. and around the world.

  • Technology is seen by many as a double-edged sword; as innovation progresses, so must our ability to address the issues that come with implementation, so that the maximum benefits of new technologies may be reaped while any risks are mitigated. We need to use our vision and resources to address these issues as soon as possible, even anticipating those that have not yet come into play. We must foster sound business practices and effective public policies, to ensure that the most responsible leadership guides development and to enable quick adoption of new technologies. (I want to add my kudos to Robin Blatt for all her work)

Congress is a deliberative body as it should be
It's not built for speed
So responsibility rests with public/private leaders

  • Already, we are building capacity to deal with societal and ethical issues, even before we have the ability to address them. For instance, NNI has focused concurrently on technology development and addressing societal & ethical issues related to that development, making investments in both. We must work together to ensure that we continue to be the first to market with powerful new technologies that offer both extraordinary potential for economic growth, prosperity and high-wage job creation, as well as the potential for addressing critical societal needs such as:
    • Affordable energy production from renewable sources; efficient energy storage devices
    • Clean, efficient manufacturing processes
    • Safeguarding human health, high value jobs and our dreams for the future

So we need to emphasize competition, innovation and acceleration of emerging technologies in an atmosphere of reasonable regulation to safeguard the public. This means a call for collaboration – your nation needs you

For technical questions concerning the Office of Technology Partnerships, contact us:
Office of Technology Partnerships, NIST, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 2200, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-2200
Phone: (301) 975-3084, Fax: (301) 975-3482, Email: otp [at] (otp[at]nist[dot]gov)

Created December 17, 2009, Updated June 2, 2021