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SIA urges US govt to complete innovation agenda

Posted: 13 Aug 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:U.S. technology law  comprehensive innovation  engineering research 

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) lauded the U.S. government as it enacted into law a comprehensive innovation legislation aimed to help boost the U.S. technological and economic advantage, the America Competes Act (H.R. 2272).

President George Bush signed the legislation

The America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act on Aug.9. Congressa approved and passed the legilation to the White House on Aug. 2.

"The America Competes Act is a major milestone on the road to enhancing U.S. competitiveness in the global economy," said George Scalise, SIA president.

SIA urged Congress to fulfill the promise of this legislation by completing action on the relevant appropriations bills that will double funding for physical science and engineering research at the National Science Foundation, the Office of Science in the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Among other provisions, the 470-page Competes Act authorises Rs.135,906.25 crore ($33.6 billion) over three years for education programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Under TITLE V - Department of Energy, the Competes Act also authorises the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy to promote high-risk energy research. The U.S. Energy Department will run the semi-autonomous research agency.

Another important provision in the act is the funding for K-12 STEM education programs at NSF including the Noyce Teacher Scholarship program and the Math and Science Partnerships program. These are aimed to help to prepare new STEM teachers and provide current teachers with content and pedagogical expertise in their area of teaching.

Meanwhile, SIA also urged the Congress to act this year on the unfinished components of the innovation agenda set forward by bipartisan leaders. The components include reforming U.S. green card and H-1B visa policies to attract and retain more highly educated foreign professionals and making permanent a strengthened R&D tax credit?all shared recommendations of the Gathering Storm report, the President's American Competitiveness Initiative and the Democratic Innovation Agenda.

"There is more work to do though, and we urge Congress to pass the remaining pieces of the innovation agenda this year, including policies to attract the best scientists and engineers from around the world and make the tax climate for private sector research investments competitive with the rest of the world," Scalise concluded.

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