CRA Endorses National Innovation Act

As mentioned previously, today Sens. John Ensign (R-NV) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) plan to introduce the National Innovation Act of 2005, a bill that would enact many of the recommendations of the National Innovation Initiative report put out by the Council on Competitiveness last December. The bill would do a lot of important stuff:

  • Establish a “President’s Council on Innovation” comprised of the heads of Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy and other agencies to develop a comprehensive annual agenda to promote innovation in the public and private sectors.
  • Establish an “Innovation Acceleration Grants Program” that would encourage federal research agencies to allocate 3 percent of their R&D budgets to “high-risk, frontier research.”
  • Authorize a near-doubling of the NSF research budget by FY11.
  • Make the Research and Experimentation tax credit permanent.
  • Authorize increased funding for NSF graduate research fellowships and DOD science and engineering scholarships.
  • Authorizes DOD to create a competitive traineeship program for undergrad and grad students in defense science and engineering.
  • Authorizes funding for new and existing “Professional Science Master’s Degree Programs” to increase the number of qualified scientists and engineers entering the workforce.
  • Authorizes Commerce to support up to three Pilot Test Beds of Excellence in state of the art advanced manufacturing systems.
  • Encourages the development of “regional clusters” of technology innovation throughout the U.S.
  • Empowers DOD to identify and accelerate the transition of advanced manufacturing tech and processes that will improve productivity of the defense manufacturing base.

CRA is pleased to endorse the bill. Here’s what we sent to Ensign and Lieberman today:

December 13, 2005
The Honorable John Ensign
United States Senate
356 Russell
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Joseph Lieberman
United States Senate
706 Hart
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Ensign and Senator Lieberman:
We at the Computing Research Association, an organization of over 200 of the Nation’s leading computing research laboratories and university departments of computer science, computer engineering, computing and information, commend you for introducing the National Innovation Act of 2005, which we are pleased to endorse. We believe the Act’s focus on buttressing U.S. research capability, improving the education of our science and technology talent, and enhancing the Nation’s innovation infrastructure will help ensure the U.S. maintains its innovation leadership in an increasingly competitive world.
We are particularly pleased that the NIA would increase the national commitment to basic research by authorizing the doubling of research funding for the National Science Foundation and promoting an emphasis on high-risk, frontier research at federal research agencies. As you are well aware, the importance of basic research, especially information technology research, in enabling the new economy is well documented. Innovations in computing and networking technologies supported by agencies like NSF, the Department of Energy, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have led to significant improvements in product design, development and distribution for American industry, provided instant communications for people worldwide, and enabled new scientific disciplines like bioinformatics and nanotechnology that show great promise in improving a whole range of health, security and communications technologies.
At the same time, information technology research is also changing the conduct of research. Innovations in computing and networking technologies are enabling scientific discovery across every scientific discipline – from mapping the human brain to modeling climatic change. Researchers, faced with research problems that are ever more complex and interdisciplinary in nature, are using IT to collaborate across the globe, simulate experiments, visualize large and complex datasets, and collect and manage massive amounts of data.
The NIA sends a clear message that fundamental research like this is crucial in ensuring the Nation’s economic leadership, its stalwart defense, and the health and standard of living of its people.
Thank you for introducing this bill and for your continued leadership in support of the work of the U.S. research community. CRA is pleased to endorse your efforts and assist in any way we can.
Daniel A. Reed
Chair, Computing Research Association

We’ll have more on the bill as it begins its march through the Senate.

CRA Endorses National Innovation Act