The FY 2019 federal budget was completed last week, finalizing funding for commerce, science and small business agencies. Most programs supporting innovation activities received the same funding as in FY 2018, although Regional Innovation Strategies will have $23.5 million, an increase of $2.5 million, for the current award solicitation.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R- FL) released a new report on the need for American innovation to bolster the U.S. economy. The report, called “Made in China 2025 and the Future of American Industry,” cites the importance of combatting Chinese efforts to dominate global innovation and manufacturing. It also discussed the importance of government programs like the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) toward fostering U.S. innovation.
“I would say that railgun is kind of the case study that would say ‘This is how innovation maybe shouldn‘t happen,‘” the chief of naval operations, Adm. John Richardson, the Atlantic Council. “It‘s been around, I think, for about 15 years, maybe 20. So ‘rapid’ doesn‘t come to mind when you’re talking about timeframes like that.”
The human race has in a relatively short period of time traveled a path of innovation that took us from making fire and stone-tipped arrows on the plains of Africa to building smartphone apps and autonomous robots worldwide. Technological progress is not only continuing but is arguably accelerating, especially in areas that could quickly change the way we work, live, and survive in the coming decades.
If you re-read the first few chapters of The Innovator’s Dilemma and you insert “Apple” every time Clayton Christensen mentions “a company,” a certain picture emerges: Apple is a company on the verge of being disrupted, and the next great idea in tech and consumer electronics will not materialize from within the walls of its Cupertino spaceship.
The National Science Foundation (NSF), the fifth largest distributor of SBIR awards among federal agencies, received more than 20,000 proposals over the decade long period from 2008 to 2017, approving more than 3,600 (16.8 percent), according to an SSTI analysis of NSF data. NSF SBIR awards are the least concentrated of all federal agencies, as measured by share of awards going to firms with more than 10+ awards.
Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), co-signed by Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), re-introduced the Startup Act today. The bill would enact an array of innovation policies, including reauthorizing Regional Innovation Strategies, creating a new commercialization grant program, and implementing a startup visa.
The USMCA is the right deal for the U.S. because it puts innovation, and all those who help drive our technological and productivity advances, front and center. Key to the continued promotion of U.S. innovation is the establishment of critical intellectual property (IP) protections that safeguard and reward U.S. innovations. While Canada and Mexico remain some of our closest economic allies, too often relaxed IP protections in both countries have undermined U.S. incentives to innovate and compete fairly in those markets.
Innovation is one of the hardest concepts to define, experts agree, and there is currently no clear measure for it. Data related to the number of patents filed annually, scientific papers published, local opportunities available or broader macro economic indicators mean little when a country's reputation is already established, new research shows -- and once a country has been deemed an innovative leader, that perception usually remains even when the data changes.
From a skewed standardization law in China to mercantilist digital services tax proposals in Europe, when countries impose protectionist policies in high-value, high-tech sectors, they don’t just damage competitors; they damage the entire global innovation system.