One policy instrument gaining global traction is the use of innovation vouchers (or “innovation checks”) to spur R&D, new product development, and/or innovation activity in SME manufacturers. Almost a dozen countries—including Austria, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, and Sweden—as well as Iowa in the United States, use innovation vouchers. These vouchers, usually ranging in value from $5,000-$30,000, enable SMEs to “buy” expertise from universities, national laboratories, or public research institutes regarding preparatory studies, analysis of technology transfer, analysis of the innovation potential of a new technology, etc. The intent of the vouchers is both to spur innovation in SMEs and to stimulate knowledge transfer from universities and research institutions to SMEs; they also have an added benefit of more closely aligning the interests of industry and academia in a country.
Manufacturing is Innovative Too!
Rob Atkinson reacted to an aritcle in The New York Times by insisting on the importance of manufacturing for global competitiveness and innovation. Unlike many pundits and journalists have argued, the rate of loss does matter and it is important to recognize the importance of fostering high-tech manufacturing in the U.S.
Revitalizing U.S. Manufacturing
In the Winter 2012 edition of Issues in Science and Technology magazine, Ezell lays out a comprehensive strategy for revitalizing U.S. manufacturing, including by bolstering the productivity, competitiveness, and innovation capacity of U.S. SME manufacturers
Rebuild America Act Advances Range of Critical Policies to Revitalize U.S. Manufacturing
While there are some provisions of the Rebuild America Act ITIF would omit, (especially ones related to taxation of foreign earnings) the provisions discussed above will go a long way to restoring American manufacturing competitiveness and to help spur the creation (and retention) of well-paying jobs that can help rebuild America’s squeezed middle class.
Manufacturing and the U.S. Jobs Base: What’s Gone Wrong?
As part of the Second Annual Conference on the Renaissance of American Manufacturing, Rob Atkinson will be speaking on the panel "Manufacturing and the U.S. Jobs Base: What’s Gone Wrong?" on March 27, 2012 from 2:00-3:00 PM in the Holeman Lounge.