Administration Seeks Public Input on New “Strategy for American Innovation”

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Publication date: 
13 August 2014

“We want to gather bold ideas for how we as a nation can build on and extend into the future our historic strengths in innovation and discovery,” declares a recent blog post by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).  OSTP and the National Economic Council are revising the Obama Administration’s Strategy for American Innovation and are seeking public input in the development of this revision.  Comments are due by September 23.

This will be second revision of the original Strategy first issued in September 2009.  The Notice in the July 29 issue of the Federal Register summarizes this Request for Information as follows:

“The Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council request public comments to provide input into an upcoming update of the Strategy for American Innovation, which helps to guide the Administration's efforts to promote lasting economic growth and competitiveness through policies that support transformative American innovation in products, processes, and services and spur new fundamental discoveries that in the long run lead to growing economic prosperity and rising living standards. These efforts include policies to promote critical components of the American innovation ecosystem, including scientific research and development (R&D), technical workforce, entrepreneurship, technology commercialization, advanced manufacturing, and others. The strategy also provides an important framework to channel these Federal investments in innovation capacity towards innovative activity for specific national priorities. The public input provided through this notice will inform the deliberations of the National Economic Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which are together responsible for publishing an updated Strategy for American Innovation.”

The notice later comments on the role that public input played in the developing of the first Strategy document:

“Public input into the strategy update process is particularly valuable given the document's critical role in guiding the development of new policy initiatives that can help unleash the transformative innovation that leads to long-term economic growth. For example, the 2009 Strategy for American Innovation first identified an opportunity for Federal agencies to use incentive prizes to promote innovation, which was an important step in the eventual inclusion of agency prize authority in the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, significantly increasing the Federal Government's ability to catalyze innovation across a wide range of national priorities.”

The Request for Information poses 25 questions for public comment that are categorized under headings such as Innovation Trends; Science, Technology, and R&D Priorities; Skilled Workforce Development; and Novel Government Tools for Promoting Innovation.  The questions are both wide-ranging, such as “What emerging areas of scientific and technological innovation merit greater Federal investment, and how can that investment be structured for maximum impact?” to those that are narrower in scope: “Given recent evidence of the irreproducibility of a surprising number of published scientific findings, how can the Federal Government leverage its role as a significant funder of scientific research to most effectively address the problem?”

The Notice provides guidance for public input, explaining that comments can answer any number of the questions or offer “additional relevant information not in response to any specific question.”  Most helpful will be comments that provide “specific, actionable proposals for policy mechanisms, models, or initiatives.”  Submissions are limited to 5,000 words; there is no minimum.

All responses must be submitted by September 23, 2014.


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