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President’s Budget Aims to Recharge Regional Innovation

Investing in innovation is a critical component of long-term economic prosperity, and the president’s FY2011 budget request includes two notable provisions that will support regional science and technology clusters.

The administration is asking for $75 million “to support the creation of regional innovation clusters that leverage regions’ competitive strengths to boost job creation and economic growth,” a goal Jonathan Sallet, Ed Paisley, and Justin Masterman championed in the Science Progress report, “The Geography of Innovation.” Part of the key to this approach is that is allows policymakers to pay close attention to regional strengths. As the report authors explain: “Geographic regions that are bound together by a network of shared advantages create virtuous cycles of innovation that succeed by emphasizing the key strengths of the local businesses, universities and other research and development institutions, and non-profit organizations.”

As well, the Department of Energy budget includes substantial investments in research and development to spur clean energy innovation. That includes $107 million forĀ three existing and one proposed Energy Innovation Hub. The Hubs, as the full DOE request says, “establish larger, highly integrated teams working to solve priority technology challenges that span work from basic research to engineering development to commercialization readiness.” These hubs, write the “Geography of Innovation” authors, are forward-thinking centers that will “spur the development of the innovation clusters that will help solve our national energy challenges, create jobs, and promote widespread economic growth.”

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