America COMPETES Act

The Mass. High Tech Council salutes the U.S. Congress for passing the America COMPETES Act of 2010. This bill keeps federal scientific research funding on a path to be doubled in response to growing concerns that competitor nations are eroding our nation’s economic supremacy. This bill authorizes the expenditure of $45 billion over the next three years primarily to the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE), and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), while also increasing support for three specific Council priorities:

  • Growing regional innovation clusters
  • Increasing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs in schools
  • Promoting technology transfer at research universities

The Council has been in close touch with Senator Scott Brown to convey the cost-effective nature of this bill’s investments and direct impact on creating jobs in New England. “Given that China has surpassed the U.S. in technology exports, this is the right investment at the right time,” said Council Vice President James D. Rooney. “Our region remains competitive due to our research and STEM workforce capacities, but we need to invest in them, not take them for granted.”

Basic research projects funded by the federal government have spawned such technologies as personal computers, the Internet, fiber optics, bar codes, medical imaging devices, hearing aids, laser eye surgery, air bags, global positioning devices, and satellite communications systems, as well as a wide range of innovations in clean energy, biotechnology, defense, robotics and other technologies. Research investment by the federal government is often an essential prerequisite to reaching the point at which the private sector recognizes a potentially marketable product and invests in its further development.

The Council calls on the next Congress to fully fund America COMPETES when the current continuing budget resolution expires and budgetary issues are tackled anew. For more information, contact jim@mhtc.org.