Three Priorities to Keep America's Innovative Edge –

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Congress must pass a bipartisan innovation and competition package to sustain our technological leadership.

Jordan Crenshaw Jordan Crenshaw
Vice President, C_TEC, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

April 18, 2022

The U.S. has long led the world in technological advancement. A close partnership between government, academia, and industry is the vibrant engine that has powered an innovation ecosystem that has secured America’s leadership role in setting rules and standards around the globe.
The Internet, for example, was developed from the technical foundation laid by the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), which was established by the United States Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are based on a new technology called mRNA that allows a person’s RNA to produce a vaccine, with key early contributions from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.
Despite accomplishments like these, countries like China, Japan, the European Union, South Korea, and others are quickly closing in on the U.S.’s lead, spending record amounts on research and development (R&D) to bolster their innovative economies. America’s global competitors understand that winning the future means investing in science and technology.
In the U.S., government is no longer driving innovation priorities through R&D funding. Today, underpinned by a world-leading intellectual property system, many breakthroughs are instead driven by the private sector. And although the private sector’s share of R&D spending has nearly doubled since 1965, it is not a substitute for a robust basic and fundamental research ecosystem in the United States to effectively compete on the world stage. Congress must pass a balanced and bipartisan innovation and competition package this year to advance three imperatives.
Here are the three areas in which the country must invest meaningfully and immediately to keep America’s innovative edge:
America’s innovation ecosystem – a virtuous cycle of development resulting from a partnership between government, universities, and industry – enabled us to put a man on the moon, connect to the Internet, and tackle COVID-19 in record time. Innovation is the key to enabling the United States to emerge from the pandemic, spurring economic recovery, creating jobs, and continuing America’s global leadership. But if we don’t invest in developing and nurturing this ecosystem, we are at risk of allowing other countries to write the rules of the road and losing our grasp on the future.
To keep America’s innovative edge, Congress must act expeditiously to pass a bipartisan package to address the core issues of research and development and competition.
Vice President, C_TEC, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Crenshaw is Vice President of the Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC).
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