Deep Innovation can’t thrive in a vacuum; it requires a supportive environment.
This policy case study examines the strategies applied by the U.S. government, through its science funding agencies, to enable the development of new technologies or products based on scientific discoveries in U.S. academic institutions. This has been a long-standing challenge, with the time to market of many academic discoveries being as long as 20 years, and many of them never making it across the “valley of death” at all. Recognizing this challenge, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has developed new programs with the specific objective of shortening the transition.
This article describes traditional and new U.S. programs that aim to spur economic development based on basic science and engineering discoveries, including:
- The Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Programs
- The NSF’s Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) and Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) partnership
- The NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program
The article also describes the challenges faced by U.S. academic institutions and commercial organizations during the process of technology or product development, for example, intellectual property protection and potential conflicts of interest. Finally, it highlights the importance of innovation education in facilitating the transition from basic science discovery to product development.
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Appeared in the issue: Coller Venture Review — 2016 -3 — Deep Innovation Issue