ITIF President Rob Atkinson Named to National Innovation and Competitiveness Strategy Advisory Board

May 4, 2011

WASHINGTON - ITIF President and founder Dr. Robert D. Atkinson was named to the Department of Commerce’s National Innovation and Competitiveness Strategy Advisory Board today. The Board was created at the urging of ITIF as part of the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act.

“The U.S is one of the few nations without a serious analytically-based national competitiveness strategy.  Let’s hope that’s about to change,” said Atkinson. “There is nothing partisan about taking a critical look at ourselves and upping our game as a nation. I am eager to lend my passion and insights to this effort.”

The 2011 COMPETES Act reauthorization called for the Department of Commerce to complete a comprehensive study of the economic competitiveness and innovative capacity of the United States by January 4, 2012.

ITIF called for a study in its influential report, Eight Steps to Improving the America COMPETES Act and Sen. Mark Warner, D-VA., one of ITIF’s honorary co-chairs, led the effort to include the provision in the COMPETES Act.  

The study will assess the current competitive and innovation performance of the U.S. against peer countries; analyze how the United States can best shape policies towards technology, tax, trade, and talent to foster U.S. competitiveness; perform a deep dive assessment of U.S. competitiveness at the major-industry level; and ascertain how we can best strengthen U.S. economic infrastructure and its industrial base.

Atkinson is one of the country’s foremost thinkers on innovation economics. With an extensive background in technology policy, he has conducted ground-breaking research projects on technology and innovation, is a valued adviser to state and national policy makers, and a popular speaker on innovation policy nationally and internationally.

Atkinson is the principal author of the State New Economy Index series and the book, The Past and Future of America’s Economy: Long Waves of Innovation That Power Cycles of Growth. Before coming to ITIF, Atkinson was Vice President of the Progressive Policy Institute and Director of PPI’s Technology & New Economy Project. Ars Technica listed Atkinson as one of 2009’s tech policy People to Watch. He has testified before a number of committees in Congress and has appeared in various media outlets including CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NPR, and NBC Nightly News.

He received his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1989.

He joins 14 other innovation luminaries on the panel, including:

  1. Rebecca Bagley, President & CEO, NorTech
  2. Jim Clements, President, West Virginia University
  3. Abby Joseph Cohen, President of the Global Markets Institute and Senior Investment Strategist, Goldman Sachs
  4. Larry Cohen, President, Communication Workers of America
  5. Judy Estrin, CEO, JLabs
  6. Rebecca Henderson, Eastman Kodak Professor of Management, Sloan School of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  7. Irwin Jacobs, Chairman, Qualcomm
  8. Arthur Levinson, Chairman, Genentech, Inc.
  9. James Manyika, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company; Director, McKinsey Global Institute
  10. Natalia Olson-Urtecho, President & CEO, EG (formerly Ecolibrium Group)
  11. Kim Polese, Chairman, ClearStreet Inc.
  12. Lucy Sanders, CEO and Co-Founder, National Center for Women & Information Technology
  13. Julie Shimer, President & CEO, Welch Allyn
  14. Stephen Tang, President, CEO & Director, University City Science Center



Through its research, policies proposals, and commentary, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation is working to advance and support public policies that boost innovation, e-transformation and productivity. For additional information, visit ITIF at or contact Steve Norton at (202) 626-5758 or [email protected].