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The source for actionable policy ideas to spur innovation.

The development of cheap, high performance clean energy technologies is essential to combatting climate change. However, the American energy innovation ecosystem is currently underfunded and heavily focuses on deployment incentives over research and development, demonstration, and manufacturing. Congress should triple appropriations for key energy innovation programs.
In recent years, a number of new high schools and universities with unique approaches to STEM education have opened. These institutions champion an experiential learning model and all teaching is STEM- or technology-oriented and done on an interdisciplinary basis, with students required to complete internships with companies, helping them to solve real engineering and technical problems....
It’s time to clearly recognize that certain research programs the National Science Foundation supports are much more important to our country’s economic well-being and competitiveness than others, and explicitly take this into account when making budgetary allocation decisions. Therefore, Congress should direct, and the Administration should implement, a reallocation of NSF resources toward the...
If Congress wants to take a step short of standing up a new National Engineering and Innovation Foundation, then at the very least Congress should change the name of the National Science Foundation to the National Science and Engineering Foundation. Doing so would make it clear to NSF leadership and the research community that NSF should give engineering more emphasis and visibility. And Congress...
Investments in science create new knowledge that is freely traded around the world, but it’s the application of that knowledge (e.g., engineering) that creates wealth through new products and processes. U.S. federal R&D dollars for basic science generate knowledge that is essentially a non-rival, non-appropriable public good that can be quickly picked up and leveraged by foreign competitors,...
The National Science Foundation needs more resources devoted to assessing the agency’s impact on economic growth and innovation. Accordingly, NSF should create a new position for a Deputy Director of Economic Growth and Innovation. The position should be filled by an individual with professional competence in understanding the design of innovative systems, building rapid learning data systems,...
A significant barrier to government labs partnering with industry is that small businesses and start-ups often are not capable of working with the labs due to the cost of procuring lab expertise and access to facilities. Yet, in many cases, even a small amount of lab interaction with a small business or start-up could greatly impact a nascent company’s growth and could be the deciding factor...
Congress could increase technology transfer out of U.S. federal laboratories by providing the laboratories additional overhead flexibility in two ways. First, Congress could remove the rigid accounting buckets from lab overhead and instead simply provide accounting rules for what the single tranche of overhead funds can be used for. Second, to increase support for technology transfer, Congress...
Despite the Congressional mandate to promote technology transfer and economic outcomes, the Department of Energy (DOE) holds technology transfer as a relatively low priority on the National Laboratories Performance Evaluation and Measurement Plans (PEMPs), otherwise known as the labs’ report card. In fact, technology transfer is not even one of the main eight criteria used for evaluation and is...
Regional innovation clusters (RICs) are geographic concentrations of firms and industries that do business with each other and have common needs for talent, technology, or infrastructure that they aren’t always able to meet on their own. Moreover, because the benefits of geographic clustering spill over beyond the boundaries of a firm, market forces produce less geographic clustering than society...
A number of organizations throughout the United States are experimenting with novel approaches to bolster technology transfer from universities (and national laboratories) to industry and to accelerate the commercialization of university-developed technologies. The 2013 Reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act should support these types of novel approaches by including $5 million to fund...
Congress should include a value-added tax (VAT) incentive for investing in foreign trade zones. At least 143 nations have VATs, which have the advantage of being border adjustable, meaning that exports are not taxed whereas imports are, thus improving U.S. competitive advantage. If Congress created a VAT in foreign trade zones, establishments in the foreign trade zones would be eligible to pay...
The federal government should identify a limited number of global knowledge investment zones as a key mechanism for attracting high-value-added foreign direct investment. Firms located in these zones would be eligible to receive a number of benefits, including: 1) The ability to write off (on federal taxes) all capital expenditures in the first year; 2) A collaborative R&D tax credit of 25...
The Section 199 deduction for domestic production increases the incentive to invest domestically. Eliminating this deduction would raise the effective tax rate on manufacturers and other exporting sectors, thereby at the margin leading to reduced exports, greater imports, fewer jobs in these sectors, and lower overall growth. Rather than eliminate it, Congress should expand it as President Obama...
R&D tax incentives in virtually all nations except the United States are permanent features of the tax code. Since its enactment in 1981, the R&D tax credit has been extended eleven times and expired three times. The uncertainty over the credit’s existence adds risk to the already risky research investments made by companies and reduces its effectiveness. One OECD study found that the...