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Congress should direct the National Science Foundation, working in partnership with National Institute of Standards and Technology, to develop a metric by which universities report entrepreneurship and commercialization information annually. The reports should include data on faculty new business starts, spin-offs of new companies from universities, license agreements and patenting, and...
Almost a dozen countries—including Austria, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, and Sweden—use innovation vouchers (ranging in value from $5,000 to $30,000) to spur R&D, new product development, and innovation activity in traded-sector SME firms by enabling them to “buy” expertise from universities, national laboratories, or public research institutes for assistance...
Unlike leading manufacturing nations such as Germany or even the United Kingdom, the United States lacks an integrated, well-funded national network of large-scale, industry-led manufacturing innovation centers that can accelerate technology deployment, operate demonstration facilities and test beds, support education and training, and perform applied research on new manufacturing processes....
Current regulations perversely require that proposals for new ERCs include an international partner. This is in part a reflection of the NSF culture which views its mission as advocacy of science—because science is internationalized, NSF wants to fund international collaborations. While certainly policy should not prohibit ERCs from including international partners, NSF should eliminate the...
It makes little sense to have separate economic statistical agencies; other nations combine theirs into national statistical agencies, and the United States should do the same. At the same time, years of budget constraints have caused U.S. statistical agencies to lack the resources needed to effectively measure key elements of the traded economy. There are numerous examples, including the...
Particularly in the wake of the recession, small manufacturers are having a difficult time accessing credit from financial institutions, and several policies could help remedy this. First, to help small manufacturers that have work orders in hand get credit, Congress should enact a 95 percent loan guarantee program for small manufacturers under the SBA 7(a) guarantee program. Second, the Federal...
The U.S. Small Business Administration should focus more on traded-sector firms through its financing programs, including its 7(a) loan guarantee program. However, the SBA does not appear to give any special priority to traded sector firms, treating all industries alike in its funding priorities, in large part because this is SBA’s charge from Congress. But there are significant differences for U...
Manufacturing is vital to U.S. national security, but as the U.S. industrial base has moved offshore, so too has the defense industrial base. In response to the country’s inability to reliably manufacture key defense components and to the proliferation of foreign counterfeit parts in the defense supply chain, Congress should double funding for the Department of Defense’s Manufacturing Technology...
The current federal system for funding research pays too little attention to the commercialization of technology. Accordingly, Congress should establish an automatic set-aside program that takes a modest percentage of federal research budgets and allocate this to a technology commercialization fund. Specifically, Congress should allocate 0.3 percent of agency research budgets—about $250 million...
Congress should double the National Science Foundation’s funding for ERCs from the current base of $55 million up to $110 million over a three year period and increase funding for the IUCRC program from $7.1 million to $50 million over that time-frame. This would support the creation of additional I/UCRC centers and expand NSF engineering support provided to each center. Further, to ensure that...
To help SME manufacturers bootstrap themselves, Congress should establish a 401(k)-like “deferred investment” program for SME manufacturers allowing them to make tax-deferred investments into manufacturing reinvestment accounts, where the funds can be subsequently withdrawn tax-free if used for research and development, workforce training, or capital equipment investments. In 2011, Connecticut...
One step Congress could take to bolster U.S. traded sector competitiveness would be to create a 13-member United States Economic Competitiveness Commission, which would release a report every other year providing an independent assessment of the competitiveness of the U.S. economy (particularly its traded sectors, including but not limited to manufacturing) in the global marketplace. The report...
There is no entity in the federal government tasked with performing competitiveness analysis. The statistical agencies see their job as accumulating facts; not analyzing them. To remedy this, Congress should task the National Institute of Standards and Technology with the creation of a new traded sector analysis unit which prioritizes interpretation and analysis over collection and aggregation...
BLS’s International Labor Comparisons program adjusts foreign data to a common framework, allowing one to compare the traded sector health and competitiveness of the United States against that of other countries. The ILC data provides complete and comparable time series for extremely useful indicators including manufacturing output, hours, compensation, and productivity, as well as labor force,...
The length of time and amount of money businesses must spend navigating the complex regulatory permitting process is a serious disincentive to invest in traded sector industries in the United States. The Department of Commerce should establish a one-stop shop to help companies navigate the complex U.S. regulatory framework and expedite the permitting process. It should also develop an online “...