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US scientists deplore ‘innovation deficit’
ft.com ^ | March 6, 2014 6:24 am | By Nuala Moran

Posted on 03/09/2014 8:11:32 PM PDT by ckilmer



US scientists deplore ‘innovation deficit’

By Nuala Moran

Scientists in the US remain the best funded in the world, but they say falling federal investment and cuts due to sequestration, coupled with the enormous resources other countries are lavishing on research, are creating an “innovation deficit”.

The consequence, say the presidents of more than 200 US universities, will be fewer US scientific and technological breakthroughs, fewer US patents and fewer US start-ups, products and jobs. Investment in research is not inconsistent with deficit reduction, indeed it is vital to it, they said in an open letter to President Barack Obama and members of Congress last summer.

The pressure researchers are coming under to justify federal funding was underlined last month in Chicago at one of their big annual conferences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The meeting, held every year since 1848, is intended to showcase the latest from the laboratory. This year however, the focus was not on research, but on innovation, entrepreneurship and the economy.

“I suspect that this may be the first AAAS meeting in which these three topics are so specifically highlighted,” said Phillip Sharp, AAAS president, Nobel laureate and biotechnology entrepreneur.

In the past, it was assumed that investment in research would inevitably yield innovation at some unspecified point in the future. To take a topical example, back in 1979 the US Department of Energy published a report called “Commercialisation plan for the recovery of gas from unconventional resources” and began to sponsor R&D in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for extracting shale-bound oil and gas reserves.

It took more than 30 years, but this research underpinned the exploitation of shale resources that previously were considered irrecoverable, prompting the current US oil and gas boom.

Now it is no longer sufficient to make a discovery and wait for others to commercialise it. Scientists in universities and public research institutes are being called on to take a greater role in translating their findings into new products and services.

What is needed, said Dr Sharp in his AAAS presidential address, is better integration of the discovery process with the entrepreneurial translation process, which turns discoveries into products and devices.

It is ironic that this soul-searching and loss of confidence in the great American innovation machine comes at a time when so many other countries are banking on research spending to expand their economies.

Alongside investing in R&D as an explicit part of economic development policy, these countries have looked at the US model as they have set out to create innovation systems capable of taking basic research through to the market.

China, for example, has tripled its R&D intensity since 1998, according to the OECD. The result, as Rongping Mu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences told the AAAS, has been to push China to second position in the number of scientific papers it publishes and to sixth in the number of citations to these papers.

At the same time as developing an excellent science base, China has put in place a policy framework to couple research and commercialisation and integrate all aspects of the innovation process.

The aim “is to build an innovation-driven country to promote economic development in a more efficient, fair and sustainable way,” said Dr Mu. “There were a lot of criticisms of China, saying China is a copier and so on. But in the past 10 years, there has been fundamental change.”

Similarly Kanetaka Maki of the University of California, San Diego, described how the Japanese government deliberately emulated the US system when it introduced a national innovation system in 1998. “A central pillar was the launch of the university technology transfer office,” said Dr Maki.

The South Korean government too, has put the focus on academic knowledge transfer as part of a new national agenda called The Creative Economy. The ambition is to replace “the catch-up paradigm”, said Jong-Guk Song of the Science and Technology Policy Institute in Seoul.

Universities are expected to lead this economic paradigm shift. “If they don’t collaborate with industry, they don’t get research funds from the government,” said Dr Song.

Until a decade ago, the size and quality of the US research establishment meant its scientists seldom faced international competition for new ideas. Now, large investments in the scientific fabric elsewhere in the world are shifting the balance of power.

At the same time, the US is witnessing “stagnation” in R&D funding, Dr Sharp said. While it will take some time to become evident, it will lead to a slowing of economic growth. In the face of this, “we have no choice but to become better at linking discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship,” he concluded.



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: bigscience; innovation; invention
Is this true?
1 posted on 03/09/2014 8:11:32 PM PDT by ckilmer
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To: ckilmer

Too much regulation has suffocated US innovation.


2 posted on 03/09/2014 8:14:50 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Paladin2

Regulation, taxation, and waste both of resources and talent.


3 posted on 03/09/2014 8:16:08 PM PDT by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: Paladin2

No longer having the industrial processes in the country has killed innovation too.


4 posted on 03/09/2014 8:16:14 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: ckilmer

The problem is we are outsourcing.

Outsourcing.

America imports far too much from abroad. The money is sent overseas, and America’s segment keeps decreasing.

America needs to manufacture things in America one again.

In America.


5 posted on 03/09/2014 8:16:14 PM PDT by Cringing Negativism Network ( http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html#2013)
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To: ckilmer

Sorry scientists, your precious ‘research’ dollars are going to fund Obamacare subsidies.

Whack 1

Waddaya going to do?


6 posted on 03/09/2014 8:21:35 PM PDT by Lorianne (fedgov, taxporkmoney)
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To: ckilmer
Investment in research is not inconsistent with deficit reduction, indeed it is vital to it,

Who was it that said "Necessity" is the mother of invention?
I think much of the research being done currently in the U.S. is of the junk science variety, whose only goal is to obtain further funding. Every half baked idea does not need to be tested in a multi million dollar experiment.

7 posted on 03/09/2014 8:27:35 PM PDT by oldbrowser (Civil service unions are the real government)
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To: ckilmer
The consequence, say the presidents of more than 200 US universities, will be fewer US scientific and technological breakthroughs, fewer US patents and fewer US start-ups, products and jobs

Now that's a crowd I trust. /s

College presidents are a conservative contrarians best friend.

What they like, I hate...and what they hate, I like.

8 posted on 03/09/2014 8:31:16 PM PDT by RoosterRedux (The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing -- Socrates)
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To: ckilmer

(1) Why invest when we’re not willing to protect our investment? We let every nation have access to our technology for free.

(2) Our taxpayer investment in technology usually ends up creating overseas jobs.

(3) Colleges and universities already feel they have a blank check from the government. They go up to whatever they want and they know student loans will pick up the tab.

(4) Maybe colleges and universities should stick to what they know best — indoctrination of students to their liberal political beliefs and telling students there is no God.

Personally, I am not feeling they need a lot more of my money.


9 posted on 03/09/2014 8:34:03 PM PDT by boycott
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To: Cringing Negativism Network

Maybe the gov’t teat suckers can eschew CO2 is a bad thing (as are nuke plants).


10 posted on 03/09/2014 8:34:25 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: ckilmer

It takes hundreds of pages of regulatory paper work to be filed just to run a simple little biotech pilot study. How can innovation thrive in such an environment?


11 posted on 03/09/2014 8:34:32 PM PDT by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network
Cheese and crackers...don't you ever change your tune.

Money always goes to cheap labor (always has, always will)...but when labor gets dear (as it is getting in China and India), money comes homes to our American robots and infrastructure.

Luddites are so 19th century.

Take a course in economics and watch some Milton Friedman videos on youtube.

Life is not fixed in time and space. Things change and the world changes with them.

12 posted on 03/09/2014 8:37:59 PM PDT by RoosterRedux (The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing -- Socrates)
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To: Lorianne

Should we really be “investing” in Gender Studies in order to advance the economy and individual wealth?


13 posted on 03/09/2014 8:37:59 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: boycott

Works like this:
(1) U.S. company comes up with invention.
(2) U.S. company outsources production to other Country (i.e. China).
(3) China company produces product for U.S. company.
(4) China company copies invention product and sells it for less.
(5) U.S. company goes bankrupt as could not compete due to higher taxes and regulations.
(6) China company becomes source of invention product.
(7) China company gets rich.
(8) U.S. company workers go on unemployment.


14 posted on 03/09/2014 8:38:51 PM PDT by OldArmy52 (The question is not whether Obama ever lies, but whether he ever tells the truth.)
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To: ckilmer

Our Ruling Class has made themselves and their cronies their top funding priorities. Next on the list are illegal aliens and homos. Scientists will have to wait their turn.


15 posted on 03/09/2014 8:38:53 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: ckilmer

Wonder how much of the “research” has to do with green energy? Seems like a lot of money has been spent (wasted?) on green energy technologies.

Our high tech electronic companies do a pretty good job of keeping up and optimizing and shrinking. However, we don’t manufacture here in the States much.

We might be behind in medical research.


16 posted on 03/09/2014 8:38:58 PM PDT by dhs12345
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To: ckilmer

I assume it is true. those that subsist on grants are crying for more grants.

the part that is not at all true is that the 1979 DOE study spawned the shale gas and oil revolution.

the wells completed in that time with DOE funding were found to rely almost entirely on natural fracture porosity and permeability, which is a production enhancing natural feature, but not mandatory for commercial production.

decades of private enterprise and billions of private funds risked spawned the shale boom, not 6 guys with some grant money. hydraulic fracturing was around for over 30 years prior to that study. for a cup of coffee I or thousands of others could have explained that even though often naturally fractured but a low permeability rock, shale reservoirs require hydraulic fracturing to produce economically, basically what the 1979 DOE report states.

what did keep shale on the radar in the late 80s and early 90s was TAX breaks for exploration. about one in 2000 wells were diligently “studied” by DOE. these tax breaks expired, but by then private industry had it figured out vertically. once married with horizontal drilling technology of the late 90s and 2000s, it went nuts.


17 posted on 03/09/2014 8:39:14 PM PDT by EERinOK
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To: ckilmer

It's quality that counts, not quantity.

18 posted on 03/09/2014 8:40:04 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: boycott
We let every nation have access to our technology for free.

Companies who create don't share their technology. We have patent rights for that.

19 posted on 03/09/2014 8:40:20 PM PDT by RoosterRedux (The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing -- Socrates)
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To: OldArmy52

Works like this:
(1) U.S. company comes up with invention.
(2) U.S. company outsources production to other Country (i.e. China).
(3) China company produces product for U.S. company.
(4) China company copies invention product and sells it for less.
(5) U.S. company goes bankrupt as could not compete due to higher taxes and regulations.
(6) China company becomes source of invention product.
(7) China company gets rich.
(8) U.S. company workers go on unemployment.


Very true.


20 posted on 03/09/2014 8:40:35 PM PDT by boycott
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To: RoosterRedux

Companies who create don’t share their technology. We have patent rights for that.


Only good as enforcement.


21 posted on 03/09/2014 8:41:40 PM PDT by boycott
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To: ckilmer
It took more than 30 years, but this research underpinned the exploitation of shale resources that previously were considered irrecoverable, prompting the current US oil and gas boom.

The last time I looked, the envirowackos and warmists who hate all that stuff are a higher priority than scientists.

22 posted on 03/09/2014 8:42:11 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: boycott

Well, you are correct about that. But that isn’t an area which has been overlooked by our racist AG.


23 posted on 03/09/2014 8:43:32 PM PDT by RoosterRedux (The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing -- Socrates)
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To: boycott

Patent law is an anachronism and a farce.


24 posted on 03/09/2014 8:51:44 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: Paladin2
Too much regulation has suffocated US innovation.

Yup. There is a lot of blame to go around but ultimately it can be laid at the feet of a stifling and greedy government strangling the gold egg laying goose that is the profit driven private sector.
25 posted on 03/09/2014 8:52:31 PM PDT by SpaceBar
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To: dr_lew

Patent law is an anachronism and a farce.


Yep.


26 posted on 03/09/2014 8:58:07 PM PDT by boycott
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To: ckilmer

“Innovation” does not come from a research grant. Back off and get out of the creative people’s way.


27 posted on 03/09/2014 9:12:55 PM PDT by Ellendra ("Laws were most numerous when the Commonwealth was most corrupt." -Tacitus)
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To: ckilmer

Moving manufacturing outside the U.S., meant that R & D would soon follow. What nincompoop didn’t see this coming?

You know folks, the lack of innovation could cost us our naton.

When you enemies have the top R & D, sooner or later they’ll eat your lunch.


28 posted on 03/09/2014 9:15:35 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Immigration Reform is job NONE. It isn't even the leading issue with Hipanics. Enforce our laws.)
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To: ckilmer

Livestock don’t innovate.


29 posted on 03/09/2014 9:17:25 PM PDT by clearcarbon
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To: DoughtyOne

I’m sorry to say this, but America needs to change the way our businesses import everything.

America needs to make things in America again.

We need to stop importing everything, and we need to bring back American manufacturing. Now.


30 posted on 03/09/2014 9:18:10 PM PDT by Cringing Negativism Network ( http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html#2013)
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To: ckilmer

Just to be clear, my comment was aimed at the people in the article, not at you :)


31 posted on 03/09/2014 9:18:11 PM PDT by Ellendra ("Laws were most numerous when the Commonwealth was most corrupt." -Tacitus)
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To: RoosterRedux

I have read that China demands our tech information before they will allow us to manufacture a product in China.

If that’s true, the patent is meaningless. We have probably gifted China with about 70 years worth of information.

China hasn’t suddenly figured out everything we did over the last 70 years, in just a few years. We gave it to them.


32 posted on 03/09/2014 9:19:37 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Immigration Reform is job NONE. It isn't even the leading issue with Hipanics. Enforce our laws.)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network

I agree. You’ll get almost every free trade Capitalist to argue with you though.

We could be speaking Chinese with tanks in our streets, and those folk would claim they were right all along, and it was our fault this was happening.

Good luck...


33 posted on 03/09/2014 9:22:28 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Immigration Reform is job NONE. It isn't even the leading issue with Hipanics. Enforce our laws.)
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To: DoughtyOne

Just saying:

2013 America > China goods: 122 Billion

2013 China > America goods: 440 Billion.

Trade deficit:

318 Billion.


34 posted on 03/09/2014 9:34:23 PM PDT by Cringing Negativism Network ( http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html#2013)
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To: Paladin2

Bingo!


35 posted on 03/09/2014 9:36:49 PM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network
We need to stop importing everything, and we need to bring back American manufacturing. Now.

More Obamacare, now.

36 posted on 03/09/2014 9:44:30 PM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (Science is hard. Harder if you're stupid.)
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To: Paladin2

Get rid of the cancer in the WH and things will start returning to normal. The fact that impeachment hearings weren’t underway 2 years ago tells me that we’ve been sold out by traitors


37 posted on 03/09/2014 9:45:48 PM PDT by jsanders2001
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To: dr_lew

“Patent law is an anachronism and a farce.”

Trying to help a friend get a patent. Difficult and expensive. Certainly does not favor the “little guy,” but favors big companies, with deep pockets.


38 posted on 03/09/2014 9:47:06 PM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: jsanders2001

Nixon actually wuz the won who started to screw-up the gov’t funding of basic (real science) research.


39 posted on 03/09/2014 9:51:25 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: jsanders2001

DARPA still killz NSF in innovation.


40 posted on 03/09/2014 9:52:17 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: ckilmer
I can cite multiple examples where some bureaucrat decided to "save money" and ended up costing a bunch. I live that experience daily. "Budget" computer hardware that runs up labor costs waiting for results. I built my personal computer with a Bluray drive and SATAIII hard disks. A 22GB Bluray copied to my hard disk in 21 minutes. Contrast that with a company provided laptop and USB Bluray drive with a 20GB Bluray data source. I managed to copy 10 GB of the data to the disk over a period of 6 1/2 HOURS. The effort will continue tomorrow. I built my personal hardware for half the price and it is far better, but I have to live with what is mandated by the bureaucracy.

Both machines have i7 CPUs. My personal machine has 16 GB RAM. The laptop may have 8 GB or 16 GB...didn't check. My personal machine runs Windows 8.1 Pro OEM. The laptop has Windows 7 Enterprise. The point is that HOURS of my labor have been wasted waiting for this POS hardware. I found productive work to do in parallel, but would have wrapped up my work day much sooner with good equipment.

41 posted on 03/09/2014 10:48:48 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: ckilmer

They, the scientists, vote democratic as they are taught to in college to be good little socialists, then whine when the socialist leaders they elected enact policies that stifle research and promote high taxes on businesses, forcing them to leave the country. They didn’t bite the hand that fed them, they whacked it off with a chainsaw..


42 posted on 03/10/2014 1:16:20 AM PDT by ArtDodger
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To: Kirkwood

It takes hundreds of pages of regulatory paper work to be filed just to run a simple little biotech pilot study. How can innovation thrive in such an environment

Bears repeating:

It takes hundreds of pages of regulatory paper work to be filed just to run a simple little biotech pilot study. How can innovation thrive in such an environment


43 posted on 03/10/2014 2:25:23 AM PDT by Toucan Dance
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To: ckilmer

Americans are getting lousy education. Americans do not seem to have much imagination anymore.

Couple that with indoctrination and regulation and you have a place that exists only. Do not look for much inspiration.


44 posted on 03/10/2014 2:33:45 AM PDT by dforest
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To: Moonman62

It’s quality that counts, not quantity.
..............
Yeah I’ve read that a lot of the chinese patent applications are pretty bogus.

The Japanese have figured out which are the major US patent applications and then filed lots of patents for small variants of whatever a US patent filer does—so as to create a synthetic patent—that walls out the original US patent.

chinese may be up to the same thing.


45 posted on 03/10/2014 10:17:33 AM PDT by ckilmer
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To: ckilmer

Why bother innovating when you can collect huge amounts of money making up global warming crap?


46 posted on 03/10/2014 12:38:11 PM PDT by Organic Panic
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