(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation held a hearing to broadly examine factors and policies that foster innovation.
“The importance of innovation—creating new ideas, products, and services—cannot be overstated. And in this global, highly competitive economy, it is increasingly the intangible inputs of R&D, education, and entrepreneurial risk-taking that drive that growth,” said Chairman David Wu (D-OR). “Innovation is key to creating new industries, and therefore key to the creation of American jobs.”
In the twentieth century, innovations have moved away from physical-capital intensive technology advancements of the past, like railroads, to more research-intensive advancements, like DNA sequencing, which depend more on factors like R&D and an educated workforce.
Economists agree that innovation has a significant, positive impact on the nation’s economy; more than half of the growth of the GDP since World War II is attributable to the development and adoption of new technologies.
Members and witnesses discussed the role of the federal government in supporting innovation in the 21st century, including fostering collaborations between federal agencies and the private sector, bolstering science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education to ensure a trained workforce, and supporting basic research. Members and witnesses also discussed the appropriate role of the federal government in supporting commercialization and entrepreneurs and state innovation-based economic discovery.
“The government’s commitment to funding research and education has had a major impact on fueling innovation,” said Wu. “Innovation, though, is not just about expanding knowledge and making discoveries. Innovation brings new products and services into the marketplace that can then drive economic growth and future prosperity.”
Fostering innovation as a means to bolster American global competitiveness has long been a focus of the Committee’s work. The Committee requested the 2005 National Academies report Rising Above the Gathering Storm, whichpredicted the U.S. losing its competitive edge and offered recommendations to avoid that reality, including setting the basic science agencies on a doubling path, improving STEM education through teacher development, and supporting high-risk high-reward energy technology development. These recommendations were signed into law in 2007 as the America COMPETES Act. The Committee is currently working towards reauthorization of COMPETES.
For more information on the Committee’s work on COMPETES, please visit our website.