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9/22/2009
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Obama Promotes National Innovation Strategy

The president unveils a three-pronged plan to spur technology and business innovation in the United States.

President Obama on Monday outlined a strategy for spurring technology and business innovation in the United States. The plan seeks to create a national environment that's conducive to entrepreneurship and that provides the requisite "tools" for innovation, supported by more than $100 billion in federal Recovery Act funding.

Obama delivered his remarks far from Silicon Valley, at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, N.Y. He pointed to partnerships between area universities and businesses, including GE Energy and IBM, as providing the kind of training and job opportunities in emerging technologies and markets that his administration wants to encourage. Obama visited Hudson Valley Community College's Tec-Smart center, a soon-to-open facility with more than a dozen classrooms and labs that will be used to train students in alternative fuels, wind energy systems, and other green technologies.

In a speech to community college student and technology workers, Obama said his strategy aims to foster new jobs and businesses "by laying the groundwork and the ground rules" for unleashing innovation in the United States. The three-pronged plan entails investing in building blocks of innovation, policies to spur and promote entrepreneurship, and federal backing of emerging markets such as clean energy, smart grid, and healthcare technology that are deemed national priorities.

Tenets of the Obama administration's plan include an increase in federal funding for basic research and development, developing an "IT ecosystem" supported by widely available Internet access, promoting community innovation, and government support for advance vehicle technologies and other markets of "exceptional national importance."

Obama applauded FCC chairman Julius Genachowski's stance on Internet neutrality, also presented in a speech on Monday, as being consistent with his innovation strategy.

And he called on government agencies to be involved, pointing to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as an example of how the public sector can drive innovation. Obama urged Congress to "fully fund DARPA since its creation has been a source of cutting-edge breakthroughs from that early Internet to stealth technology."

The Obama administration plan is outlined in a newly published report titled, "A Strategy for American Innovation: Driving Towards Sustainable Growth and Quality Jobs."


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