What It Means To Invest In Innovation

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In President Obama’s  State of the Union address, he promised that the United States would out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. He said:

None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do -- what America does better than anyone else -- is spark the creativity and imagination of our people.

The budget the President proposed this week takes another step forward in fulfilling that pledge – in part by bolstering innovation.

Today, we are competing with scientists and engineers around the world to create and manufacture clean, renewable energy technologies, discover the latest in biomedical research, implement cutting edge business models, and prepare our next generation to meet the challenges of the future. President Obama’s proposal strengthens America’s capacity to innovate and imagine the new industries of tomorrow.

Here are the highlights from President’s plan to encourage innovation.

Invest in Research and Development and Create Transformational Technologies. For years, the United States has led the world in research and development (R&D) spending and our ability to turn those findings into practical uses. The 2012 budget provides R&D investments to create “transformational technologies” that will power the businesses and industries of the future -- which means prioritizing clean energy technologies, advanced manufacturing technologies, and cyber security.

Bring the Best Minds Together to Advance Critical Energy Research. The 2012 budget develops programs that will recruit scientists, thinkers, and engineers from different disciplines to work together on the pressing issues of the day. The budget doubles the number of Energy Innovation Hubs to create a forum for collaboration related to critical materials, including rare earth elements; batteries and energy storage; and the development of new grid materials and systems to help SmartGrid technology and improve energy transmission efficiency.

Simplify, Expand, and Make Permanent the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit. A Research and Experimentation (R&E) tax credit offers incentives for private firms to make crucial investments that increase our pipeline to innovation.

Improve the Patent System and Protect Intellectual Property. The President’s planstrengthens the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s efforts to expedite and improve the quality of patent examinations – so that new technology and innovations can go to market.

Help Innovative Small Businesses Obtain Financing.  The Small Business Administration will create a new program, the Innovation Fund, to help fill the capital gap between "angel investor" financing and later-stage financing. In each of the next five years, as much as $200 million will be available to investors interested in supporting businesses poised to grow their operations and create jobs. 

Enhance Regional Economic Competitiveness. Competitive regional economies often become national engines of growth, but can benefit from best practices learned by other successful businesses. Through the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration and other federal agencies, the Administration will support efforts to foster collaboration for regional development, regional business strategies, and investments under the America COMPETES Act that promote innovation, regional competitiveness, and employment growth. The Obama administration also is investing in a Growth Zone to augment economic restoration in hard-hit areas of our country, delivering tax incentives for investment and hiring and greater access to government assistance.

Support Biomedical Research at the National Institutes of Health.The President’s budget boosts support for basic and applied biomedical research through the National Institutes of Health, and helps to forge new collaborations among government, academia, and industry -- which will help to develop cures and treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism spectrum disorders.

Expand Next-Generation, Wireless Broadband throughout the Country. This strategy expands access to advances wireless technology to expand business operations and economic growth by freeing underutilized spectrum through the Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative. This initiative will build a wireless broadband network for public safety, expand high-speed, wireless broadband to rural America, and establish a Wireless Innovation Fund to accelerate the research and development of cutting-edge wireless technologies.

Prepare 100,000 STEM Teachers over the Next Decade. To be competitive in the 21st Century, American students must master science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The President’s plan is an ambitious effort to prepare 100,000 teachers in these subject areas during the next 10 years, recruit 10,000 of these teachers over the next two years, and launches Education Department initiatives innovate, develop, implement, and test new teacher-training programs.

You can click here to learn more about the President’s priorities.