Measurements are key to scientific and technological innovation. It’s like a field of dreams: Better measurements always find useful applications. Proving this credo, NIST's nearly 120 years of research to advance measurement science, standards and technology have had significant impacts on American innovation and quality of life.
Once the war ended, American soldiers brought home that innovative spirit that has propelled our economy in the years since World War II. It makes our market-based system the envy of the world. In the intervening 75 years, other countries that cast off their oppressive, totalitarian regimes studied the United States as the economic model. They not only looked at Washington companies such as Boeing, Microsoft and SEL for guidance, but our education as well.
Since our country’s founding, the U.S. patent system has been one of the unsung heroes of America’s success story. Patents are based on a simple concept: that American inventors, entrepreneurs and companies whose hard work and expertise lead to a new invention deserve to reap the benefits of their work for a limited time.
The U.S. must continue to develop and support an innovation economy that, “collaborates with allies and partners, improves STEM education, draws on an advanced technical workforce, and invests in early-stage research and development,” according to the latest U.S. National Security Strategy (NSS).4 Further, the NSS asserts that the nation must continue to be the destination of choice for the “innovative and the inventive, the brilliant and the bold.”
NIST launched this initiative to bring together communities and technology innovators to collaborate on smart city solutions that would be accessible to all because of their reliance on standards-based approaches. The challenge fosters the creation of "action clusters" -- partnerships across government, industry and academia -- to address city and community goals in areas such as energy, transportation, security, public health and others.
In a sweeping decision, Judge Lucy Koh has ruled last week that Qualcomm violated the antitrust laws in licensing its 4G digital communications technology in smartphones. “Invent a better mousetrap, and you’ll be rewarded” has long been the motto driving the U.S. innovation economy--from lightbulbs to airplanes to smartphones. Everyone benefits. This is in doubt now.
The success of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) programs shows that effective public-private partnerships can play an important role in stimulating America’s innovation economy. In general, the SBIR and STTR programs have been highly successful and deserve Congress’s continued and enthusiastic support.
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry today announced that the Department of Energy will award 231 grants totaling $46 million to 202 small businesses in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Funded through DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, today’s selections are for Phase I research and development.
The Senate Small Business Committee held a hearing yesterday on “Reauthorization of the SBA’s Innovation Programs,” which had a heavy emphasis on SBIR/STTR.
There's an argument to be made about some of the ways that Chinese tech innovators are gaining. But it's hard to dispute that the U.S. has a formidable competitor that is catching up in key technology sectors. Yes, China's tech titans have been acquiring high-tech companies in America's innovation hubs, subsidizing next-generation breakthroughs, favoring home-grown Chinese companies, recruiting highly skilled, western-educated engineers, and blocking American internet leaders from access.