A Word From Z
I wanted to share some great news. As you may know, the Federal budget came out on Monday. In it, there s a significant item that I believe will dramatically improve job creation by supporting university innovation.
Currently, the federal government invests nearly $50 billion a year on university research -- yet very little on university programs to help translate the most promising ideas into new businesses and employment opportunities.
In a recent column for CNN, I outlined a specific policy proposal for how the federal government can catalyze economic growth and societal benefit with ideas spawned at major research universities. The IMPACT proposal, which I authored last summer at the urging of the White House Office for Science and Technology Policy, is an initiative that would translate the most promising innovations into new products, services, and start-ups; increase engagement of faculty and students in the innovation and entrepreneurship process; and enhance regional innovation ecosystems around universities.
So, the great news is that the proposal made it into the National Science Foundation's budget as an expansion of their Partnerships for Innovation program! In the FY 2011 budget, $12 million will be invested in a new NSF Innovation Ecosystem competitive grant program.
The key to the program is that it is modest in cost yet big on impact, because it leverages the resources we already have in higher education. It focuses on what a university does best -- generating groundbreaking ideas, teaching lifelong innovators, and serving as a nexus for the local community. Ultimately, we hope that it scales to every corner of the country.
We know first-hand that these initiatives create jobs and economic prosperity. For example, in the last two years 16 USC spinouts raised at least $148 million in financing. These companies employ approximately 500 full-time employees, more than half locally in Los Angeles.
Now that the proposal is in the federal budget, I could use your help. Please spread the word with your colleagues! We need to gain more awareness and popular support behind the idea as Congress prepares to consider the budget in the coming months.
Thanks for your help!