Science and R&D

In an economy powered by innovation and technology, more proactive R&D policies are key to success.

We’re #27: The United States Lags Far Behind in R&D Tax Incentive Generosity

July 19, 2012
The U.S. needs to retain the R&D tax credit for innovation-based global competitiveness.

At a time when Washington is desperate to find ways to spur economic growth and job creation, somehow one of the best tools at policymakers' disposal, the R&D tax credit, has been allowed to expire and its fate is far from certain. Against this backdrop, ITIF's forthcoming report ranks the United States 27th in terms of generosity in comparison with competing countries. This is putting U.S. firms at a major disadvantage in the global innovation race. Read more »

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Losing Ground on Science Research? Experts Point to Ominous Signs

The Star-Ledger
The idea of cutting federal R&D and NIH spending relative to the economy poses a threat to the New Jersey innovation economy.

Why Aren’t the Jobs There for U.S. Scientists?

July 9, 2012
| Blogs & Op-eds

The United States needs to enact a far more sophisticated set of policies regarding regulations, public investment, taxes, trade, education, and others if we want to create an environment in which U.S. life sciences firms—and those in other science- and engineering-based sectors—can remain globally competitive and thus produce sufficient employment opportunities to fully leverage the high-skilled scientific and engineering talent being produced in the United States.

Federal Funding for R&D: Further Evidence That it is Needed More Than Ever Before

June 18, 2012
| Blogs & Op-eds

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.

Genius Loves Company

June 11, 2012
| Blogs & Op-eds

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.

Taking Stock Podcast - Bloomberg Radio

April 23, 2012
Rob Atkinson appears on "Taking Stock" to discuss innovation and competitiveness.

Rob Atkinson and Vinny Catalano appear on "Taking Stock" to discuss innovation and competitiveness. After ITIF's Innovation Consensus Conference, they reflect on the evident need for policies that advance R&D efforts, reform STEM education, and provide considerable investments for start-ups.

Why the Current STEM Education Reform Strategy Won’t Work

April 11, 2012
| Reports

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.

Congress should consider an Investment Tax Credit to provide a credit (at a lower rate) on all capital expenditures made above 75 percent of the base.

Congress should consider establishing an investment tax credit modeled on the Alternative Simplified R&D Credit (ASC). The ASC provides a credit of 14 percent on R&D expenditures above 50 percent of the average firm expenditures of the last three years. An Investment Tax Credit could provide a credit (at a lower rate) on all capital expenditures made above 75 percent of the base (the base would be the average expenditures on qualifying capital equipment over the last three years).

If current R&D investment continues at the current level, the R&D investment deficit will grow to $2.6 trillion by 2021.

If federal R&D investment had been sustained at the 1960-1980 level, in terms of an average share of GDP, these investments would be approaching $230 billion annually today, rather than the current levels of roughly $150 billion. Our robust investment in R&D in the 1960s, 70s and 80s fueled our post-war prosperity and helped set the stage for the IT revolution, advances in biotech and pharmaceuticals and the creation of millions of jobs and companies in the 1990s. Read more »

A Word from the Wise is Sufficient

October 13, 2011
| Blogs & Op-eds

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.

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