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Industry, Academic Leaders Unveil Campaign on Economic Growth and Job Creation; Research and Innovation Are the Keys to America's Future

WASHINGTON, April 21 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Leaders from the technology industry and academia today unveiled an advocacy campaign to illustrate the importance of basic research to the future of American innovation, economic growth and job creation. The initiative, targeted at policy makers and the public, will seek to reverse a decline in federal investment in basic research in the physical sciences and engineering that puts at risk the development of new technologies, new industries, and high-value jobs.


"U.S. competitiveness in global markets and the creation of good jobs at home rely increasingly on the cutting edge innovation that stems from high-risk basic research," said Craig Barrett, CEO of Intel Corporation and chairman of the Computer Systems Policy Project. "We 're here to help policy makers understand that U.S. technological leadership, innovation and jobs of tomorrow require a commitment to basic research funding today."


Basic research -- that which addresses properties and questions in areas such as chemistry, physics, nanotechnology, genomics and semiconductor manufacturing -- has brought about some of the most significant innovations of the last twenty years. According to Robert Solow, Nobel Laureate in Economics, at least half of the economic growth during the past fifty years came from innovation that has created new technologies, industries and jobs. The World Wide Web, Magnetic Resonances Imaging (MRI), and fiber optics all started through basic research projects. The U.S. semiconductor industry -- relying on developments for the integrated circuit -- alone has created 226,000 jobs and had worldwide sales of $$166 billion in 2003.Additionally, basic research performed at leading U.S. universities has created 4,000 spin-off companies that hired 1.1 million employees and have annual world sales of $232 billion.


"America's universities and their researchers are the world 's most prolific engines of innovation," said Nils Hasselmo, president of the Association of American Universities. "Investments in university research make America work and are vital to our security. They also provide indispensable hands-on research opportunities for the scientists of tomorrow. We understand current federal budget restraints. But research is the foundation of future economic growth and security --and the development of new scientists for the 21st century."


"Worldwide stability and prosperity, as well as American economic growth, require revitalizing the world's largest industry -- Energy -- through dramatic advances in science and engineering. These advances can only come from a strong and vibrant U.S. basic research establishment and a 'new-Sputnik' generation of dedicated young Americans," said Rick Smalley, professor, Rice University and Nobel Laureate in Chemistry.


Despite their importance and economic impact, funding for such efforts has remained .at in constant dollars or decreased by 37 percent as a share of GDP over the last thirty years, creating a serious risk that the American discovery stream will be reduced to a trickle with a negative impact on innovation in the U.S. The President's FY '05 budget request continues the trend, as in past Administrations. In fact, the Department of Energy's Office of Science budget, where the largest percentage of research in the physical sciences occurs, would actually receive a 2 percent cut in resources.


The Task Force on the Future of American Innovation, which includes 14 organizations associated with business and academia, will seek to reverse that trend through an advocacy campaign that includes paid advertising and outreach to policy makers. Specifically, the Task Force is calling on the federal government to grow the budgets of key research agencies -- the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy Office of Science, and the Department of Defense Research Accounts -- by 10 12 percent a year over the next five-to-seven years.


The Task Force 's advocacy campaign will include print advertising and traditional lobbying by Task Force members and allies. The group will run print advertisements in the short-term in publications targeted to Members of Congress and the Administration with the theme "Innovation is America's Economic Heartbeat: Don't Flat Line our Future!" The campaign will then expand into targeted media markets in research-rich geographies such as Silicon Valley, North Carolina, Texas and Southern California. Copies of the ads are available at by contacting r_boege@acs.org.


The initiative will also rely on testimony from U.S. companies and academics with experience in basic research and who can speak to the importance of research funding.


America's technological leadership faces greater competition from abroad as developing economies increase the number of PhD 's in engineering and physical science they are graduating and create new incentives for scientists and engineers to work outside of the United States.


Added Russell Shade, a director of the National Association of Manufacturers and CEO of High Voltage Engineering, "My company embodies sciences at work in promoting economic growth. Originally a university spin-off, we now employ over 1,800 people and have more than half of our sales abroad. Research provides a foundation for dynamic companies of all sizes."


"These changes demand that we as a nation rethink our approach to innovation. We need to re-evaluate the policies, programs and institutions that were designed for a world in which innovation was linear and US leadership was unrivaled. This is not a Democratic or a Republican issue. This is a cause that we can all come together around and we look forward to working with policy- makers in this effort," said Deborah Wince--Smith, president of the Council on Competitiveness.

The Task Force on the Future of American Innovation 's current members include: the American Chemical Society, the American Physical Society, the Association of American Universities, ASTRA The Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America, the Computer Systems Policy Project, the Council on Competitiveness, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel Corporation, the National Association of Manufacturers, The Science Coalition, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), and Texas Instruments.

Contact: Jennifer Greeson of Intel, 202-626-4384; Barry Toiv of the Association of American Universities, 202-408-7500; Mike Lubell of the American Physical Society, 202-662-8700

http://www.usnewswire.com
© 2004 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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