This week ASTRA (the Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America) released its report Riding The Rising Tide: A 21st Century Strategy for US Competitiveness and Prosperity. The report presents 14 recommendations, many of which are familiar, and reinforces the quest to make innovation a first tier issue in the various Presidential campaigns.
>> Download the Report
Ken Jarboe of the Athena Alliance does a good summary of the 14 major points of the ASTRA report. “The report calls for greater efforts to understand the innovation ecosystem. We need to understand that the nature of innovations has changed in the I-Cubed Economy. It is no longer a linear process that begins with men in white coats in labs. Innovation is a complex set of interactions -- truly an ecosystem. By calling for better measures, increased analytical capabilities and new ways of thinking about innovation, the report sets a direction for innovation policy.”
Go to Athena Alliance's blog: Riding the Rising Tide
Also the Computing Research Policy Blog reported on the Task Force on the Future of American Innovation competitiveness briefing on Capitol Hill this week. Attendees heard from Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the president of the National Academy of Engineering Dr. Charles Vest, and a keynote address by Norm Augustine. Also, in attendance was Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA) who has backed the issue of increased basic research funding since before the "Rising Above the Gathering Storm" report was released. Senator Bingaman echoed Dr. Vest when he said that the difficult work was still ahead because the current appropriations meltdown. He also said that the efforts of competitiveness were a long-term project. Senator Alexander said that it was important to continue to broaden the base of support for competitiveness issues in Congress but that it would be a mistake to think this issue was solely the responsibility of Congress. He said that everyone needs to be involved in order to keep America competitive.
Norm Augustine, who in addition to chairing the National Academies panel that produced the hugely influential "Rising Above the Gathering Storm" report and has since chaired a follow-up called “Is America Falling off the Flat Earth?”, pointed out that while great progress was made toward funding basic research in the FY07 appropriations, sustaining the momentum of increases in FY08 was critical. He said, “Leadership in science and technology is not a birthright of the United States” but is something that needs to be fought for and won every day. An interesting statistic that he used was that two-thirds of the increased labor productivity over the last several decades was attributed to federal investment in research. Download augustine_we_have_a_problem_talk_121207.pdf
Egils Milbergs of the Center for Accelerating Innovation commented: "The Augustine and ASTRA reports are part of a rising chorus urging innovation as a fundamental national priority for maintaining US economic growth, prosperity and national security."