Science Progress | Where science, technology, and progressive policy meet

FY2010 Budget Proposes Essential Investments in Innovation Clusters

The Obama administration’s proposed FY2010 budget reflects a sweeping re-thinking of priorities for the U.S. government. A welcome change from previous budgets, the administration makes a significant investment in developing regional centers of innovation, business incubators, and other strategies to encourage entrepreneurship and high-tech development.

The importance that the Obama administration places on strong government support of these efforts is clear, and reflects an encouraging change from the Bush administration. According to the proposed budget, the Department of Commerce is to receive $295 million for programs that invest in America’s competitiveness and promote innovation, in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars allocated for similar purposes in the stimulus legislation passed last month.

The budget calls for:

• “$70 million for the Technology Innovation Program, which invests in high-impact research that will address critical national needs and advance innovation”

• “$125 million [to the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership] to enhance the competitiveness of the Nation’s manufacturers by facilitating the adoption of more efficient manufacturing processes”

• “$50 million in regional planning and matching grants within the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support the creation of regional innovation clusters that leverage regions’ existing competitive strengths to boost job creation and economic growth”

• “$50 million [to launch an] initiative in EDA that will create a nationwide network of public-private business incubators to encourage entrepreneurial activity in economically distressed areas”

Congress should not reduce or eliminate these commitments. Investment in our young businesses and the local and regional innovation structure that supports their creation and development is essential to the short-term as well as long-term health of America. These investments will provide the capital that young companies need in these times of anemic support from institutional investors reeling from losses in the capital markets. The proposed support of innovation clusters across the country will build long-lasting tech-based economies in these regions that can generate new growth and provide jobs to local residents.

American economic geography is changing: to read about how innovation clusters will spur economic development across the new landscape, see our “Regional Centers of Innovation 101.” For more on why business incubator support is a good idea: Incubators Boost Job Creation.

Tags: ,

Comments on this article

By clicking and submitting a comment I acknowledge the Science Progress Privacy Policy and agree to the Science Progress Terms of Use. I understand that my comments are also being governed by Facebook's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.