The Changing Frontier

Author: Adam B. Jaffe
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022628686X
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In 1945, Vannevar Bush, founder of Raytheon and one-time engineering dean at MIT, delivered a report to the president of the United States that argued for the importance of public support for science, and the importance of science for the future of the nation. The report, Science: The Endless Frontier, set America on a path toward strong and well-funded institutions of science, creating an intellectual architecture that still defines scientific endeavor today. In The Changing Frontier, Adam B. Jaffe and Benjamin Jones bring together a group of prominent scholars to consider the changes in science and innovation in the ensuing decades. The contributors take on such topics as changes in the organization of scientific research, the geography of innovation, modes of entrepreneurship, and the structure of research institutions and linkages between science and innovation. An important analysis of where science stands today, The Changing Frontier will be invaluable to practitioners and policy makers alike.

Capturing Change in Science Technology and Innovation

Author: National Research Council
Publisher: National Academies Press
ISBN: 0309297478
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Since the 1950s, under congressional mandate, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) - through its National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) and predecessor agencies - has produced regularly updated measures of research and development expenditures, employment and training in science and engineering, and other indicators of the state of U.S. science and technology. A more recent focus has been on measuring innovation in the corporate sector. NCSES collects its own data on science, technology, and innovation (STI) activities and also incorporates data from other agencies to produce indicators that are used for monitoring purposes - including comparisons among sectors, regions, and with other countries - and for identifying trends that may require policy attention and generate research needs. NCSES also provides extensive tabulations and microdata files for in-depth analysis. Capturing Change in Science, Technology, and Innovation assesses and provides recommendations regarding the need for revised, refocused, and newly developed indicators of STI activities that would enable NCSES to respond to changing policy concerns. This report also identifies and assesses both existing and potential data resources and tools that NCSES could exploit to further develop its indicators program. Finally, the report considers strategic pathways for NCSES to move forward with an improved STI indicators program. The recommendations offered in Capturing Change in Science, Technology, and Innovation are intended to serve as the basis for a strategic program of work that will enhance NCSES's ability to produce indicators that capture change in science, technology, and innovation to inform policy and optimally meet the needs of its user community.

The Creativity Crisis

Author: Roberta Ness
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199375402
Format: PDF
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Every day we hear about some fascinating new discovery. Yet anemic progress toward addressing the greatest risks to humankind -- clean energy, emerging infections, and cancer -- warns us that science may not be meeting its potential. Indeed, there is evidence that advances are slowing. Science is costly and can hurt people; thus it must be pursued with caution. Yet, excessive caution stifles the very thing that powers inventiveness: creation. In her boldest book yet, Roberta Ness argues that the system of funding agencies, universities, and industries designed to promote innovation has come to impede it. The Creativity Crisis strips away the scientific enterprise's veil of mystique to reveal the gritty underbelly of university research. America's economic belt-tightening discourages long-term, risky investments in revolutionary advances and elevates short-term projects with assured outcomes. The pursuit of basic research insights, with the greatest power to transform but little ability to enrich, is being abandoned. The social nature of academia today also contributes to the descent of revolutionary discovery. In academia, which tends to be insular, hierarchical, and tradition-bound, research ideas are "owned" and the owners gain enormous clout to decide what is accepted. Communalism is antithetical to idea ownership. Thus science has not embraced the Web-based democratic sharing of ideas called crowdsourcing, one of the greatest tools for creativity and social change in our age. A final battleground between creation and caution is within the sphere of ethics. Scientists are typically altruistic but sometimes have all-too-human inclinations toward avarice and conceit. The most original thinkers are most likely to flout convention. This tendency can pull them across the lines of acceptable behavior. Caution is a necessary check on the destructive potential of amoral creation. Yet, when every individual and institution is considered a priori to be a threat, adventuresome invention is squelched. Creation and caution in science should be in balance, but they are not. For possibilities to unlock, the ecosystem in which science is done must be fundamentally rebalanced.

Rising to the Challenge

Author: Committee on Comparative National Innovation Policies: Best Practice for the 21st Century
Publisher: National Academies Press
ISBN: 0309255511
Format: PDF, ePub
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America's position as the source of much of the world's global innovation has been the foundation of its economic vitality and military power in the post-war. No longer is U.S. pre-eminence assured as a place to turn laboratory discoveries into new commercial products, companies, industries, and high-paying jobs. As the pillars of the U.S. innovation system erode through wavering financial and policy support, the rest of the world is racing to improve its capacity to generate new technologies and products, attract and grow existing industries, and build positions in the high technology industries of tomorrow. Rising to the Challenge: U.S. Innovation Policy for Global Economy emphasizes the importance of sustaining global leadership in the commercialization of innovation which is vital to America's security, its role as a world power, and the welfare of its people. The second decade of the 21st century is witnessing the rise of a global competition that is based on innovative advantage. To this end, both advanced as well as emerging nations are developing and pursuing policies and programs that are in many cases less constrained by ideological limitations on the role of government and the concept of free market economics. The rapid transformation of the global innovation landscape presents tremendous challenges as well as important opportunities for the United States. This report argues that far more vigorous attention be paid to capturing the outputs of innovation - the commercial products, the industries, and particularly high-quality jobs to restore full employment. America's economic and national security future depends on our succeeding in this endeavor.

SBIR at the National Science Foundation

Author: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Publisher: National Academies Press
ISBN: 0309311969
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is one of the largest examples of U.S. public-private partnerships, and was established in 1982 to encourage small businesses to develop new processes and products and to provide quality research in support of the U.S. government’s many missions. The U.S. Congress tasked the National Research Council with undertaking a comprehensive study of how the SBIR program has stimulated technological innovation and used small businesses to meet federal research and development needs, and with recommending further improvements to the program. In the first round of this study, an ad hoc committee prepared a series of reports from 2004 to 2009 on the SBIR program at the five agencies responsible for 96 percent of the program’s operations -- including the National Science Foundation (NSF). Building on the outcomes from the first round, this second round presents the committee’s second review of the NSF SBIR program’s operations. Public-private partnerships like SBIR are particularly important since today's knowledge economy is driven in large part by the nation's capacity to innovate. One of the defining features of the U.S. economy is a high level of entrepreneurial activity. Entrepreneurs in the United States see opportunities and are willing and able to assume risk to bring new welfare-enhancing, wealth-generating technologies to the market. Yet, although discoveries in areas such as genomics, bioinformatics, and nanotechnology present new opportunities, converting these discoveries into innovations for the market involves substantial challenges. The American capacity for innovation can be strengthened by addressing the challenges faced by entrepreneurs.

Revisiting the Department of Defense SBIR Fast Track Initiative

Author: National Research Council
Publisher: National Academies Press
ISBN: 9780309146821
Format: PDF, Docs
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In October 1995, the Department of Defense launched a Fast Track initiative to attract new firms and encourage commercialization of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funded technologies throughout the department. The goal of the Fast Track initiative is to help close the funding gap that can occur between Phase I and II of the SBIR program. The Fast Track initiative seeks to address the gap by providing expedited review and essentially continuous funding from Phase I to Phase II, as long as applying firms can demonstrate that they have obtained third-party financing for their technology. Another program initiative, Phase II Enhancement, was launched in 1999 to concentrate SBIR funds on those R&D projects most likely to result in viable new products that the Department of Defense and others will buy. The current volume evaluates the two SBIR Program initiatives--Fast Track and Phase II Enhancement--and finds that both programs are effective. Ninety percent of Fast Track and 95 percent of Phase II Enhancement reported satisfaction with their decision. This book identifies the successes and remaining shortcomings of the programs, providing recommendations to address these issues.

Seeking a Premier Economy

Author: David Card
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226092904
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In the 1980s and 1990s successive United Kingdom governments enacted a series of reforms to establish a more market-oriented economy, closer to the American model and further away from its Western European competitors. Today, the United Kingdom is one of the least regulated economies in the world, marked by transformed welfare and industrial relations systems and broad privatization. Virtually every industry and government program has been affected by the reforms, from hospitals and schools to labor unions and jobless benefit programs. Seeking a Premier Economy focuses on the labor and product market reforms that directly impacted productivity, employment, and inequality. The questions asked are provocative: How did the United Kingdom manage to stave off falling earnings for lower paid workers? What role did the reforms play in rising income inequality and trends in poverty? At the same time, what reforms also contributed to reduced unemployment and the accelerated growth of real wages? The comparative microeconomic approach of this book yields the most credible evaluation possible, focusing on closely associated outcomes of particular reforms for individuals, firms, and sectors.

The Innovation Paradox

Author: Xavier Cirera
Publisher: World Bank Publications
ISBN: 1464811849
Format: PDF, ePub
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Since Schumpeter, economists have argued that vast productivity gains can be achieved by investing in innovation and technological catch-up. Yet, as this volume documents, developing country firms and governments invest little to realize this potential, which dwarfs international aid flows. Using new data and original analytics, the authors uncover the key to this innovation paradox in the lack of complementary physical and human capital factors, particularly firm managerial capabilities, that are needed to reap the returns to innovation investments. Hence, countries need to rebalance policy away from R and D-centered initiatives †“ which are likely to fail in the absence of sophisticated private sector partners †“ toward building firm capabilities, and embrace an expanded concept of the National Innovation System that incorporates a broader range of market and systemic failures. The authors offer guidance on how to navigate the resulting innovation policy dilemma: as the need to redress these additional failures increases with distance from the frontier, government capabilities to formulate and implement the policy mix become weaker. This book is the first volume of the World Bank Productivity Project, which seeks to bring frontier thinking on the measurement and determinants of productivity to global policy makers.

Innovation Policy

Author: World Bank
Publisher: World Bank Publications
ISBN: 9780821383018
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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This volume offers a detailed conceptual framework for understanding and learning about technology innovation policies and programs, and their implementation in the context of different countries.

Atoms and Alchemy

Author: William R. Newman
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226576973
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Since the Enlightenment, alchemy has been viewed as a sort of antiscience, disparaged by many historians as a form of lunacy that impeded the development of rational chemistry. But in Atoms and Alchemy, William R. Newman—a historian widely credited for reviving recent interest in alchemy—exposes the speciousness of these views and challenges widely held beliefs about the origins of the Scientific Revolution. Tracing the alchemical roots of Robert Boyle’s famous mechanical philosophy, Newman shows that alchemy contributed to the mechanization of nature, a movement that lay at the very heart of scientific discovery. Boyle and his predecessors—figures like the mysterious medieval Geber or the Lutheran professor Daniel Sennert—provided convincing experimental proof that matter is made up of enduring particles at the microlevel. At the same time, Newman argues that alchemists created the operational criterion of an “atomic” element as the last point of analysis, thereby contributing a key feature to the development of later chemistry. Atomsand Alchemy thus provokes a refreshing debate about the origins of modern science and will be welcomed—and deliberated—by all who are interested in the development of scientific theory and practice.