Clinton to Boost Non-Traditional Innovation
Her plans include the creation of a $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund to be funded from oil company earnings and increases of 50 percent in spending on basic research by the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies, to be offset by cut-backs in other areas.
Her plan also relies heavily on awards and grants to universities and other institutions to stimulate research in new areas that could create new competitive advantages for the United States.
Clinton made her remarks at a gathering of Silicon Valley technology executives at Applied Global University in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday. Applied Global University is the training facility of Applied Materials, a supplier to the semiconductor industry.
California in general, and the technology industry in particular, was a bastion of strength for Bill Clintons presidency, and Sen. Clinton is surely hoping to build on that base.
According to a release provided by the Clinton campaign, Sen. Clinton told the executives that she has a plan to help keep the United States from losing its competitive edge. She said that her plan will encourage innovation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and upgrade the innovation infrastructure in the country.
Clinton said that a declining U.S. technical work force and a growing level of education and technological sophistication in places such as China present the United States with significant challenges in innovation. Clinton said that more than half of all Chinese college graduates have degrees in the sciences, engineering or math. She also noted that the United States ranks 25th in the world in broadband deployment.
Clinton proposed a 9-point plan to turn the United States around in its commitment to science, engineering, technology and math, and to upgrade the innovation infrastructure. The plan requires new levels of spending in a number of federal research efforts and the development of a Strategic Energy Fund. The plan includes:
Clinton provided few indications of where the funding for these initiatives might be found other than the tax on the oil companies for the Strategic Energy Fund. While a few initiatives would be the result of refocusing existing funds, a great deal of new money would need to be found. That part of her plan was not announced. In addition, Sen. Clinton did not address the future of the U.S. Space Program or the issue of visas for technology workers and scientists.
eWEEKs Chris Preimesberger contributed to this report.
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