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The source for actionable policy ideas to spur innovation.

There are several reasons to treat collaborative research more generously. First, participation in research consortia has a positive impact on firms’ own R&D expenditures and research productivity. Second, most collaborative research is more basic and exploratory than research typically conducted by a single company. Moreover, the research results are often shared, often through scientific...
Angel capital, the capital invested by (usually) wealthy individuals in a region’s businesses, is as important as venture capital in supporting entrepreneurship. States can play a key role by helping to link angels and entrepreneurs. For example, the Wisconsin Angel Network (WAN) represents more than 200 individual investors and helps match them with start ups and young companies. Similarly,...
Modeled after a proposed initiative in Minnesota, a state-level NewSchools organization would be established as a 501(c)3 non profit to raise and direct public, as well as private, resources to spur the establishment of new school bureaucracies for the application of innovative pedagogy to middle and high schools.
Each year, the National Survey of Student Engagement asks freshmen and seniors at participating schools to answer questions about their educational experiences – their classroom participation, interaction with faculty, and time spent on various enriching activities, for example. The survey helps universities know where they rank compared to other schools and where improvements are most needed....
One of the reasons for the growing disconnect between what college students are learning in the classroom and what they actually need to know to be successful in the workforce is the lack of a national-level survey asking what employers actually value in a recent graduate. While the relevant skills in some careers such as engineering and mathematics are closely aligned to traditional academic...
Before the 1986 Tax Reform Act taxpayers could average their income over three years, enabling them to avoid lower taxes in years when their incomes were temporarily low. The current federal tax code lacks this provision, penalizing workers who lose their jobs. Taxpayers should be allowed to average their income over three years and be able to take a tax credit for prior taxes paid if their tax...
Scientists and engineers are key drivers of innovation. Yet the number of Americans obtaining graduate science and engineering degrees has not kept up with demand. Indeed, almost one half of Ph.D. graduates of U.S. engineering, computer science, physical science, and life science programs are now from other nations. If we want the United States to continue to be the global innovation leader, we...
Internet access is a fundamental building block of the digital economy, a key enabler of many applications and services, and a prerequisite for participating in our digital society. Government should support access to this basic public good by eliminating taxes on Internet access, including broadband. Specifically, Congress should make permanent the current moratorium on Internet access taxes and...
Broadband appears to be widely available in most low income urban and suburban communities. But adoption rates are much lower than in higher in come areas. One way to encourage adoption would be to provide incentives for broadband service providers to sign up new customers, particularly in low-income neighborhoods. Currently, they have limited incentives to do so because the costs of getting new...
One challenge with expanding the scope and effectiveness of community-based digital literacy and broadband adoption programs is that considerable work is duplicated. For example, effective programs may deal with issues such as the optimal design of a computer. Not withstanding the fact that communities differ, often communities and organizations within communities invest valuable resources in...
More compelling public-interest broadband applications will also play a role in encouraging broadband adoption. One programmatic tool used to spur digital adoption was the Technology Opportunity Program (TOP), administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). A revived TOP program should have as its primary focus the development of nationally scalable Web-...
The federal USF program does not provide explicit support for broadband. The USF Board recommended using a reverse auction mechanism to allocate its funds. Companies would compete to win funding to provide broadband services in rural areas, with awards going to the lowest bidder. The funding would consist of a one-time subsidy and the company would operate on limited contract (perhaps 5 or 10...
Innovation drives economic growth. However, the nation faces a growing innovation challenge in today’s global economy. To respond, the federal government should establish a National Innovation Foundation (NIF)—a new, nimble, lean, and collaborative entity devoted to supporting firms and other organizations in their innovative activities. The basis of NIF would be the consolidation of existing...
The Secretary of Energy should establish a program that supports public-private clean energy research consortia and should make grants of $10-30 million annually for up to three years to three or more consortia. Eligible consortia should consist of two or more research universities or governmental research facilities and at least three other private sector firms engaged in research, development,...
The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) was enacted in 1986 and has not kept pace with the advancement of technology. For example, there are different levels of protection afforded to the privacy of an individual’s data based on where the data is stored and how long the data has been stored. This means that the privacy of a person’s email may be different if it is stored on his or her PC...