In an era of ever tightening budget constraints, some, especially some conservatives now argue that federal funding for research is not critical for innovation. They claim that the private sector will make up for any losses in innovation resulting from a reduction in federal funding of R&D. In the latest edition of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (devoted to the examination of science policy and innovation), two scholarly articles clearly rebut this view.
Science and R&D
Genius Loves Company
When Congress takes up corporate tax reform, lawmakers should consider a few ideas from ITIF. First, make clear that process R&D qualifies for the R&D tax credit. Second, Congress should use the tax code to promote more collaboration between companies as well as non-corporate entities.
Why the Current STEM Education Reform Strategy Won’t Work
In an article for the National Academy's Issues in Science and Technology, Rob Atkinson argued that much of what passes for accepted wisdom for STEM reform (science, technology, engineering and math education) is misguided and that we need a new approach. Advocates of what can be called the "Some STEM for All" framework want an approach focused largely on expanding and improving K-12 STEM education for all American students. Many of the dominant policy solutions being proposed, such as increased teacher pay and campaigns to get students interested in science, reflect this framing. In contrast, Atkinson argues for a new approach grounded in a "Some STEM for All" approach focused in part on providing high quality STEM education for students especially interested in and focused on STEM.
A Word from the Wise is Sufficient
Recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) 2011 were unanimous in saying a steady and consistent funding stream helps maintain the country’s brain power and world class R&D infrastructure. It also begins a process that can lead to successful commercialization of ideas and discoveries.
Are We a Nation of Homer Hickmans or Homer Simpsons?
The 54th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik by the Soviet Union is a good time to take stock of how the country is reacting to the innovation challenges we face today. Beginning almost immediate in the fall of 1957 and continuing through the 1960s, the U.S. made significant investments in science, education, R&D and aerospace and it paid off in the form of new jobs, even new industries. By contrast, when President Obama tried to rally us to make similar investments by declaring a “Sputnik moment” in 2011, we have seen little meaningful change in policy. If anything, the public mood seems to cut public investments. In this blogpost, Steve Norton wonders if part of the problem is a fatigue and defeatism that seems to have infected the national spirit. He says we can and should snap out of it and points to some proposals ITIF has made to step up our competiveness and get us back on the path to innovation-based leadership.