The investments government and businesses make in basic and applied research and development (R&D) plant the seeds for the technologies, products, firms, and industries of tomorrow. They contribute substantially to the fact that at least one-half of America’s economic growth can be attributed to scientific and technological innovation. But the increased complexity of technological innovation as well as the growing strength of America’s economic competitors mean that it’s no longer enough to simply fund scientific and engineering research and hope it gets translated into commercial results. While the U.S. government should expand federal support for scientific research, it needs just as importantly to improve the efficiency of the process by which federally funded knowledge creation leads to U.S. innovation and jobs.
In December 2016, in its report “Localizing the Economic Impact of Research and Development: Policy Proposals for the Trump Administration and Congress,” the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation released a comprehensive list of 50 policy recommendations the administration could undertake to bolster institutions supporting technology transfer, commercialization, and innovation; expand technology transfer and commercialization-related programs and investments; promote high-growth, tech-based entrepreneurship; stimulate private-sector innovation; and strengthen regional technology clusters. That report provides an exhaustive suite of policy recommendations that can help bolster the return on investment from federally funded research. This submission contains many of those proposals yet also responds to the administration’s specific requests for comment on particular issues identified in its RFI.