Research and development spending by U.S. business has finally begun increasing robustly as the economic recovery has continued, reaching $499 billion--the most spent by any nation in a single year--in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available. What’s more, the business sector’s share of those outlays rose to a record 69 percent. For mid-market companies, there’s even bigger news: Many are contributing more than their fair share to the R&D boom.
Peter Thiel, never one to keep a low profile, made his most recent set of waves with reports that he is prepared to decamp from Silicon Valley to more benign haunts in Los Angeles along with several of his companies. His rationale, according to a piece in the Wall Street Journal, is that the Valley is now a politically intolerant culture, left-leaning in the extreme and to the exclusion of any contrarian viewpoints; any culture so unable to consider alternative viewpoints, the thinking continues, will stifle innovation.
At issue is a new procedure, established by the 2011 America Invents Act (AIA). It provides an mechanism for the Patent Office to double check its work and weed out its mistakes, revoking patents that never should never have been granted. A few critics claim that, because of this procedure, innovation in the United States is on the wane. The data shows just the opposite.
Falcon Heavy’s launch was seemingly flawless. Reminiscent of the ‘90s space shuttle or ‘60s Apollo mission days, people gathered around to watch the huge rocket launch into space. The Falcon Heavy’s side boosters landed perfectly side by side at landing pads for “future reuse” -- a concept unheard of in the aerospace industry.
The Chinese New Year began with the traditional lighting of firecrackers on Friday, but the country's military has been working on incendiaries on an entirely different scale. Over the past year, the nation that invented gunpowder has been rolling out an array of high-tech weapons that some experts say could threaten the global superiority of the United States.
Today, the U.S. and Germany are dropping in ranks as innovation champions while Japan and China are rising. The survey also revealed that business executives are favoring protectionist policies as a way to keep jobs in their countries — but globalization is still viewed as a driving force for innovation.
This year the United States edged out the United Kingdom by a mere .01 points on the Chamber scale. The U.S. position was helped by improved scores relating to copyrights and trademarks, but was dragged down as the U.S. patent ranking decreased for the sixth consecutive year as the result of a patent climate that the Chamber characterizes as causing “considerable uncertainty for innovators.”
Although there are some positive outcomes illustrating the power of the patent system, there have also been some significant missteps in the other direction. By moving one step forward, but two steps back, the United States is losing ground as an innovative leader. A quick look at one recent case may help illustrate these ideas:
More than 80 percent of Americans age 65-plus live in metropolitan areas,[i] and nearly 90 percent of older adults in the U.S. want to age in their homes and communities.[ii] Thus, the “Best Cities for Successful Aging” index is not intended to identify the locales to which older adults should retire. Instead, the index and report are designed to highlight the nation’s most livable metropolitan areas—those that enable an optimal quality of life for their aging citizens.
The potential of the ISS for R&D was expanded in 2011 when the Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), a non-profit, non-government organization, was selected as the manager of the research facility, with a focus on enabling a new era of space research to improve life on Earth. This change brought significantly more interest from researchers across academia and industry to the ISS National Laboratory, explained Michael Roberts, PhD, Deputy Chief Scientist, CASIS.