Science and R&D

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

Turning the Page: Reimagining the National Labs in the 21st Century Innovation Economy

June 19, 2013
| Reports

Download an excerpt: "Summary of Policy Reforms"


The National Labs are a tremendous R&D resource, but their operations are still based on a decades-old management model that no longer meets the needs of our modern innovation ecosystem. This study presents a series of concrete proposals for Congress and the Administration that can ensure the Labs better meet their mission and produce useful technologies that benefit the American economy.

Reimagining the National Laboratories

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The Real Story on Guestworkers in the High-skill U.S. Labor Market

May 16, 2013
| Reports

Recently, the Economic Policy Institute issued a report claiming that there is no shortage of U.S. STEM workers and that increases in high-skill immigration are not needed and detrimental to the U.S. economy. In this report, ITIF presents a detailed rebuttal of the EPI analysis to provide a more accurate picture of the high skill labor market. We find that the EPI report's conclusions are simply not supported by the evidence. In fact, the U.S. does not produce enough STEM workers domestically, STEM wages and jobs have grown significantly over the last decade, and high-skill guestworkers are a complement, not a substitute, to American high-skill labor.

Canada is Right to Focus on Applied Research

May 11, 2013
| Blogs & Op-eds

In an op-ed for the Ottawa Citizen, Rob Atkinson argues the Canadian government made the right decision in choosing to refocus its National Research Council on industrially-relevant research and the United States should follow the lead of our neighbor to the north

In 2009, basic research was about 19% ($76 billion) of total U.S. R&D performance.

In 2009, basic research was about 19% ($76 billion) of total U.S. R&D performance. According to the National Science Board, U.S. R&D is dominated by development activities, largely performed by the business sector. The business sector also performs the majority of applied research, but most basic research is conducted at universities and colleges and funded by the federal government.

A Research Investor’s Visa Would Spur U.S. Economic and Employment Growth

April 30, 2013
| Blogs & Op-eds

At least nine competitor nations—Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Singapore, and the United Kingdom—have implemented innovative policies to attract foreign entrepreneurs and investors to their countries as part of a concerted effort to design their nations’ immigration strategies in ways that drive economic and employment growth. These countries “see immigration as an integral part of their national economic strategy—a factor in their prosperity as significant as education and infrastructure.” It’s time the United States does the same. A research investor’s visa would represent an innovative path to U.S. citizenship that at the same time boosts R&D investment and the competitiveness of the U.S. economy.

New Science Standards Have America’s Educational Publishers Turning the Page

Fox News
Fox News cites ITIF in reporting on science, stating that only 8 percent of college graduates enter the workforce with a STEM degree.

Because of the sequester, NSF will give out about 1,000 fewer research grants and awards this year, affecting as many as 3,000 researchers.

According to Pew, in 2011 federal money accounted for more than $40 billion of the $65 billion universities spent on research. Like most other federal agencies, the National Institutes of Health must cut 5 percent of its budget to comply with sequestration. Because NIH funnels about 85 percent of its budget to researchers, it is already scaling back some grants, according to director Francis Collins. Meanwhile, the National Science Foundation, facing similar cuts, estimates it will give out about 1,000 fewer research grants and awards this year, affecting as many as 3,000 researchers.

America the Innovative?

The New York Times
Rob Atkinson points out that China is rapidly ramping up its research spending. “The Chinese have the ability to throw a lot of resources at this, and some will stick to the wall,” he says.