How should the United States craft policies that effectively spur technological innovation?
A report from a think tank, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, takes a look.
It finds that the nature of the U.S. innovation system has changed dramatically over 40 years.
The authors analyzed a sample of top 100 innovations over four decades, as identified by an R&D publication, and found that while in the 1970s almost all winners came from corporations acting on their own, more recently over two-thirds of the winners have come from partnerships involving business and government, including federal labs and federally-funded university research.
In 2006, 77 of the 88 U.S. entities that produced award-winning innovations were beneficiaries of federal funding.
“These findings suggest that to succeed in the future, U.S. innovation policy must help support and reinforce our natural national advantage in collaboration,” the think tank said in its summary. “Thus, funding for the U.S. government’s technology initiatives should be expanded and made more secure, and the coordination of these technology initiatives across the federal government, particularly those that support partnerships between firms, universities and federal laboratories, must be improved.”