[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 145 (Tuesday, July 29, 2014)]
[Pages 44064-44068]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-17761]




Strategy for American Innovation

ACTION: Notice of Request for Information.


SUMMARY: The Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National 
Economic Council request public comments to provide input into an 
upcoming update of the Strategy for American Innovation, which helps to 
guide the Administration's efforts to promote lasting economic growth 
and competitiveness through policies that support transformative 

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innovation in products, processes, and services and spur new 
fundamental discoveries that in the long run lead to growing economic 
prosperity and rising living standards. These efforts include policies 
to promote critical components of the American innovation ecosystem, 
including scientific research and development (R&D), technical 
workforce, entrepreneurship, technology commercialization, advanced 
manufacturing, and others. The strategy also provides an important 
framework to channel these Federal investments in innovation capacity 
towards innovative activity for specific national priorities. The 
public input provided through this notice will inform the deliberations 
of the National Economic Council and the Office of Science and 
Technology Policy, which are together responsible for publishing an 
updated Strategy for American Innovation.

DATES: Responses must be received by September 23, 2014 to be 

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods 
(email is preferred):
     Email: innovationstrategy@ostp.gov. Include [Strategy for 
American Innovation] in the subject line of the message.
     Fax: (202) 456-6040, Attn: Dan Correa.
     Mail: Attn: Dan Correa, Office of Science and Technology 
Policy, Eisenhower Executive Office Building, 1650 Pennsylvania Ave 
NW., Washington, DC 20504. If submitting responses by mail, please 
allow sufficient time for mail processing and screening.
    Details: Response to this RFI is voluntary. Please do not include 
in your comments information of a confidential nature, such as 
sensitive personal information or proprietary information. Please be 
aware that your comments may be posted online. Responses to this notice 
are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Federal Government to form 
a binding contract or issue a grant. Information obtained as a result 
of this notice may be used by the Federal Government for program 
planning on a non-attribution basis. The United States Government will 
not pay for response preparation, or for the use of any information 
contained in the response.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Correa, (202) 456-4444, 
innovationstrategy@ostp.gov, OSTP.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:  This Request for Information (RFI) offers 
interested individuals and organizations the opportunity to provide 
input into the development of an updated Strategy for American 
Innovation by identifying promising policy opportunities to promote 
innovation and its economic benefits in the United States (U.S.). The 
public input provided through this notice will inform the deliberations 
of the National Economic Council and the Office of Science and 
Technology Policy, which are together responsible for publishing an 
updated Strategy for American Innovation.
    Public input into the strategy update process is particularly 
valuable given the document's critical role in guiding the development 
of new policy initiatives that can help unleash the transformative 
innovation that leads to long-term economic growth. For example, the 
2009 Strategy for American Innovation first identified an opportunity 
for Federal agencies to use incentive prizes to promote innovation, 
which was an important step in the eventual inclusion of agency prize 
authority in the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, 
significantly increasing the Federal Government's ability to catalyze 
innovation across a wide range of national priorities.


    President Obama released the Strategy for American Innovation in 
September 2009 and updated it in February 2011 (http://www.whitehouse.gov/innovation/strategy).
    The 2011 Strategy for American Innovation articulates the 
importance of innovation as a driver of U.S. economic growth and 
prosperity, the central importance of the private sector as the engine 
of innovation, and the critical role of government in supporting our 
innovation system.
    It organizes the Administration's policy initiatives into three 

(1) Invest in the Building Blocks of American Innovation

    Spurring the innovations that will drive America's future economic 
growth and competitiveness requires critical investments in the basic 
foundations of the innovation process, including education, fundamental 
research, and both the digital and physical infrastructure on which our 
dynamic economy relies.

(2) Promote Market-Based Innovation

    American businesses are the engine of innovation, and the 
Administration seeks to promote an environment that allows U.S. 
companies to drive future economic growth and continue to lead on the 
global stage. This requires that government establish and maintain the 
right framework conditions to support market-based innovation through 
the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit, effective intellectual 
property policy, and policies to promote innovation-based 
entrepreneurship as well as innovative, open, and competitive markets.

(3) Catalyze Breakthroughs for National Priorities

    The 2011 strategy identifies several areas of national importance 
where public investments can catalyze advances, bring about key 
breakthroughs, and establish U.S. leadership faster than might be 
possible otherwise. The portfolio of national priority areas outlined 
in the 2011 strategy includes clean energy, biotechnology, 
nanotechnology, advanced manufacturing, educational and health 
information technologies, and space technologies.


    To gather valuable insight into promising opportunities to boost 
our innovation capacity in order to drive economic growth and 
competitiveness, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and 
the National Economic Council (NEC) seek public comment on a wide range 
of innovation policy topics.
    Instructions. In formulating responses to any of the below 
questions, respondents should consider the following:

 The questions below are grouped into the following categories:
    [cir] Overarching Questions
    [cir] Innovation Trends
    [cir] Science, Technology, and R&D Priorities
    [cir] Skilled Workforce Development
    [cir] Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship
    [cir] Regional Innovation Ecosystems
    [cir] Intellectual Property/Antitrust
    [cir] Novel Government Tools for Promoting Innovation
    [cir] National Priorities
 Respondents are free to address any or all of the following 
questions, as well as provide additional relevant information not in 
response to any specific question. Please note the number corresponding 
to the question(s) addressed in the response.
 Specific, actionable proposals for policy mechanisms, models, 
or initiatives are more useful than general observations and 
recommendations. For example, a response that describes the importance 
of increasing technology transfer activities is helpful but not as 
useful as one that

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identifies specific model(s) to accomplish this goal and offers 
accompanying details (e.g., the specific problem it addresses and how 
it does so, the parties who would be responsible for administering the 
model, actions the Administration might take, the likely benefits and 
costs, the rationale and evidence to support the proposal, etc.).
 There is a 5,000 word limit for responses. Accordingly, 
responses longer than 5,000 words will not be considered. There is no 
minimum length requirement, and a 500 word response can be as valuable 
as a 5,000 word response if it contains detailed and well-founded 

    OSTP and NEC seek public comment on the following:

Overarching Questions

    (1) What specific policies or initiatives should the Administration 
consider prioritizing in the next version of the Strategy for American 
    For any proposal, respondents may wish to consider describing 
specific goals, the actions the Administration might take to achieve 
those goals, the benefits and costs associated with the proposal, 
whether the proposal is cross-government, inter-agency, or agency-
specific, the rationale and evidence to support it, and the roles of 
other stakeholders, such as companies, universities, non-profits, 
philanthropists, state and local governments, professional societies, 
    (2) What are the biggest challenges to, and opportunities for, 
innovation in the United States that will generate long-term economic 
growth, increased productivity, sustained leadership in knowledge-
intensive sectors, job creation, entrepreneurship, and rising standards 
of living for more Americans?
    (3) What specific actions can the Federal Government take to build 
and sustain U.S. strengths including its entrepreneurial culture, 
flexible labor markets, world-class research universities, strong 
regional innovation ecosystems, and large share of global venture 
capital investment?
    (4) How can the Federal Government augment its overall capacity for 
analysis of both the forces that determine the competitiveness of 
specific sectors and the impact of Federal policies--including, but not 
limited to, science, technology, and innovation policies--on sector-
specific productivity and competitiveness? What are the most important 
outstanding questions about innovation policy and process and how might 
government promote systematic research and program evaluation in those 
    Many policies can affect the ability of research-intensive 
companies to innovate and compete in the marketplace, but the impact of 
future policy choices on innovation is often not well understood in 
advance. For example, telecommunications spectrum policies that 
facilitate innovative business models may enable significant 
productivity growth in the mobile communications sector. Improved 
Federal capacity for analysis of such impacts would help inform policy 
development to support innovation.
    (5) What innovation practices and policies have other countries 
adopted that deserve further consideration in the United States? What 
innovation practices and policies have been adopted at the state or 
local level that should be piloted by the Federal Government?

Innovation Trends

    (6) How has the nature of the innovation process itself changed in 
recent years and what new models for science and technology investment 
and innovation policy, if any, do these changes require?
    For example, many cite the growing importance of open innovation, 
combinatorial innovation, and user innovation; the convergence of 
biology, the physical sciences, and engineering; and the emergence of 
human-centered design.
    (7) What emerging areas of scientific and technological innovation 
merit greater Federal investment, and how can that investment be 
structured for maximum impact?
    (8) What are important needs or opportunities for institutional 
innovation and what steps can the Federal Government take to support 
these innovations?
    Economists have identified institutional innovation as critical to 
long-term economic growth. Examples of particularly important 
institutional innovations include the British invention of patents and 
copyrights in the 17th century, the work of the agricultural extension 
service in the U.S. in the 19th century, and the development of the 
peer review system for supporting basic research in the 20th century.

Science, Technology, and R&D Priorities

    (9) What additional opportunities exist to develop high-impact 
platform technologies that reduce the time and cost associated with the 
``design, build, test'' cycle for important classes of materials, 
products, and systems?
    A number of the Administration's current research initiatives are 
aimed at developing platform technologies for this purpose, such as:

 The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)/National 
Institute of Health NIH)/Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ``tissue 
chip'' project to transform the way researchers evaluate the safety and 
efficacy of drug candidates;
 The Materials Genome Initiative, which is investing in a 
``materials innovation infrastructure'' to reduce the time and cost 
required to discover and make advanced materials by at least 50 
 Federal investments in new tools to reduce the time and cost 
needed to engineer biological systems;
 The DARPA ``Adaptive Vehicle Make'' program, which supported 
the development of technologies such as model-based design to shorten 
development timelines for defense systems by a factor of five or more.

    (10) Where are there gaps in the Federal Government's science, 
technology, and innovation portfolios with respect to important 
national challenges, and what are the appropriate investment and R&D 
models through which these gaps might be addressed?
    Agencies lacking a traditional focus on research and development 
nonetheless pursue critical missions that could benefit from 
innovation. Given these agencies' more modest capacity to support 
research and development and other avenues to innovation, there is 
potentially underinvestment in science, technology and innovation to 
address key national problems such as education, workforce development, 
and poverty alleviation.
    (11) Given recent evidence of the irreproducibility of a surprising 
number of published scientific findings, how can the Federal Government 
leverage its role as a significant funder of scientific research to 
most effectively address the problem?

Skilled Workforce Development

    (12) What novel mechanisms or models might facilitate matching 
skilled STEM workers with employers and helping individuals identify 
what additional skills they may need to transition successfully to new 
    In a dynamic economy, STEM workers seeking employment in a 
different industry often find it difficult to identify employers with 
matching needs. Likewise, employers devote

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significant resources to finding technically skilled individuals to 
meet their needs, sometimes with little success, even though a large 
pool of technically skilled workers may exist.
    (13) What emerging areas of skills are needed in order to keep pace 
with emerging innovations or technologies? What are successful models 
for training workers with these skills to keep up with emerging 
    For example, pharmaceutical researchers report that more workers 
are needed with capabilities in gene sequencing and bioengineering to 
keep pace with new innovations in bio-manufacturing. Similarly, 
innovations in advanced materials from lightweight metals to advanced 
composites have spurred a need for welders with the ability to create 
high-precision welds on complex materials.
    (14) What mechanisms or programs can effectively increase the 
supply of workers with technical training, from industry-recognized 
credentials and postsecondary certificates to two- and four-year 

Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship

    (15) What new or existing investment models should be explored to 
support entrepreneurship in new geographies, as well as in technologies 
and sectors that are capital-intensive, relatively high-risk, and 
require sustained investment over long periods of time?
    Angel and venture investment has tended to concentrate in a few 
regions and sectors, particularly sectors that are capital efficient 
and can provide ``exits'' for investors within 5-7 years. As a result, 
innovative technologies that do not meet these criteria may be better 
suited to different investment models.
    (16) For new technologies and products, how might ``proof of 
manufacturability'' be gauged sooner, and what entities would most 
appropriately provide the necessary resources and facilities? What 
sectors represent the most promising opportunities for the application 
of such models?
    Assessing the feasibility of producing at scale remains a critical 
hurdle for manufacturing startups attempting to commercialize new or 
unproven technologies, but it is a challenge that firms do not face 
until relatively late in their evolution, after a great deal of early 
investment has already been committed. More effectively addressing this 
challenge at an early stage could yield more efficient allocation of 
investment capital, and greater commercialization of important 
innovative technologies and products.
    (17) What tools, business model innovations, financial innovations, 
or other developments hold promise for reducing the cost of starting 
and scaling a business in capital intensive sectors like the life 
sciences, advanced materials, and clean energy? What can the Federal 
Government do to accelerate these trends?
    Over the past two decades, the cost of starting and scaling an IT-
based company has plummeted due to a combination of cheap, scalable 
cloud computing, open source software, and other similar trends. 
Extending these or similar developments to more capital intensive 
sectors, where costs remain a significant barrier, would yield 
significant benefits.
    (18) What investments, strategies, or technological advancements, 
across both the public and private sectors, are needed to rebuild the 
U.S. ``industrial commons'' and ensure the latest technologies can be 
produced here?
    After a decade of significant offshoring, the United States has 
lost important manufacturing capabilities and the connections between 
manufacturers, know-how, national supply chains, educational 
institutions, local workforce and financial institutions that provide 
the foundation and resources for new technologies to be manufactured in 
the U.S. As the manufacturing sector recovers and strengthens, 
rebuilding these industrial commons will be important for capturing 
domestically both the production of new technologies and next 
generation manufacturing capabilities.

Regional Innovation Ecosystems

    (19) What partnerships or novel models for collaboration between 
the Federal Government and regions should the Administration consider 
in order to promote innovation and the development of regional 
innovation ecosystems?
    (20) How should the Federal government promote the development of 
metropolitan ``innovation districts,'' where large research 
institutions, companies, start-ups, and business accelerators 
congregate to facilitate the knowledge flows that sustain innovation?

Intellectual Property/Antitrust

    (21) What new challenges and opportunities for intellectual 
property and competition policy are posed by the increasing diversity 
of models of innovation (including, e.g., through the growing use of 
open innovation, combinatorial innovation, user innovation, internet-
enabled innovation, and big data-driven innovation)?

Novel Government Tools for Promoting Innovation

    (22) What are specific areas where a greater capacity for 
experimentation in law, policy, and regulation at the Federal level is 
likely to have large benefits? Are there useful models of experimental 
platforms in the public or private sectors that the Federal Government 
can adopt? How might the Federal Government encourage state and local 
    New technologies and business models often evolve more rapidly than 
law, policy, and regulation at the Federal, state and local level. One 
approach to dealing with this challenge is to increase the capacity of 
governments at all levels to support experimentation. For example, the 
FCC recently reformed its experimental licensing rules to help 
researchers and manufacturers bring new products to market more 
rapidly. Analogous opportunities may exist in other areas.
    (23) Beyond current Federal efforts to promote open data and open 
application programming interfaces (APIs), what other opportunities 
exist to open up access to Federal assets (such as data, tools, 
equipment, facilities, and intellectual property from Federally-funded 
research) in order to spark private sector innovation?
    For example, the Internet economy has created new opportunities for 
innovative business models relying on Federal data. Through open data 
and open APIs, the Federal Government can invite competition among 
firms to provide valuable services directly to end users by 
incorporating these Federal assets. For example, a travel booking 
provider might directly incorporate public campsite reservation 
functionality into its Web site through open Federal APIs. Likewise, a 
researcher looking to access billions of dollars of Federal testing 
equipment can access equipment availability and usage information 
through machine-readable data on Data.gov.

National Priorities

    (24) Which new areas should be identified as ``national 
priorities,'' either because they address important challenges 
confronting U.S. security or living standards, or they present an 
opportunity for public investments to catalyze advances, bring about 
key breakthroughs and establish U.S. leadership faster than what might 
be possible otherwise?
    (25) What Federal policies or initiatives could unleash additional

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corporate and philanthropic investment for critical national 
priorities, such as energy innovation?
    In a number of areas, overall investment may be too low to sustain 
our global leadership in innovation or to confront critical challenges 
to our national wellbeing. For example, overall investment in clean 
energy innovation remains significantly below the level that economists 
and climate experts conclude are required to facilitate the transition 
to a low-carbon economy. Other national priorities may suffer from 
similar underinvestment, such as in learning technologies or in smart 
infrastructure technologies. Responsible for the majority of U.S. 
research and development (R&D) funding, private entities will be 
essential to achieving the overall levels of investment required to 
meet such challenges.
    Respondents are also free to provide additional information they 
think is relevant to the goal of promoting innovation in the United 
States, and feedback on the framework and components of the 2011 
Strategy for American Innovation.

Cristin A. Dorgelo,
Chief of Staff, Office of Science and Technology Policy.
John M. Galloway,
Chief of Staff, National Economic Council.
[FR Doc. 2014-17761 Filed 7-28-14; 8:45 am]