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There are troubling signs that American innovation is beginning to lag behind the rest of world. Please find below a compendium of articles with cause for concern.

In Innovation, U.S. Said to Be Losing Competitive Edge

The competitive edge of the United States economy has eroded sharply over the last decade, according to a new study by a nonpartisan research group. The report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation found that the United States ranked sixth among 40 countries and regions, based on 16 indicators of innovation and competitiveness. They included venture capital investment, scientific researchers, spending on research and educational achievement.... But the American economy placed last in terms of progress made over the last decade. "The trend is very troubling," said Robert D. Atkinson, president of the foundation.

...Consequently, the United States ranked sixth in venture capital investment (Sweden was first); fifth in corporate research and development spending (Japan led); and fourth in science and technology researchers (again, Sweden was first). Over all, the most innovatively competitive nation was Singapore, which embarked on a national innovation strategy years ago, investing heavily and recruiting leading scientists and technologists from around the world. Mr. Atkinson of the foundation said the United States should act more like the individual states had been doing for some time. They have government programs to attract investment and talent and improve work force skills of local people. (The New York Times, February 25, 2009)

Is the United States asleep at the wheel?

Is America asleep? It is according to Rob Atkinson, president of the Washington-based Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a non-partisan think tank looking to promote innovation both nationally and internationally. Atkinson is the co-author of a new report, Benchmarking EU and U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness which finds that when it comes to improvement in international competitiveness and innovation capacity over the past decade, the United States has made the least progress of 40 nations/regions. Atkinson also criticized the U.S.'s cavalier attitude towards innovation, comparing the nation to "an aging sports dynasty that has won the Super Bowl for many years but blithely ignores the rising performance of younger teams." (BusinessWeek, February 25, 2009)

U.S. could fall behind in global 'brain race'

A chorus of scientists, politicians and business leaders has long sounded this lament: The USA is about to be deposed as the world's leader in science and technology..... The stakes are high. The USA now leads the world in spending on research and development—estimated to reach $328.9 billion this year—from both government and private sources. Innovation driven by such spending creates as much as 85% of the growth in economic productivity, according to a National Academy of Sciences report, "Rising Above the Gathering Storm." (USA Today, February 8, 2006)

Global Advances Challenge U.S. Dominance in Science

The United States remains the world leader in scientific and technological innovation, but its dominance is threatened by economic development elsewhere, particularly in Asia, the National Science Board said Tuesday in its biennial report on science and engineering. The United States' position is especially delicate, the agency said, given its reliance on foreign-born workers to fill technical jobs... "These differences probably indicate that many Americans hold religious beliefs that cause them to be skeptical of established scientific ideas," the report said, "even when they have some basic familiarity with those ideas." (The New York Times, January 16, 2008)

Tapping the World's Innovation Hot Spots

Countries around the world are putting innovation at the top of their agendas. As a result, companies now have access to a global market for talent, capital, tax credits, and regulatory relief. Before setting up a research laboratory or a marketing office in one of the world's innovation hot spots, organizations must consider which of the emerging innovation models best suit their requirements.... Singapore, for instance, plans to increase funding for R&D in life sciences, clean technology, and digital media, and to provide benefits such as tax relief to attract companies interested in conducting research in those areas. GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis have already begun doing so at the biomedical research center Biopolis. Countries adopting the brute force model hope to generate innovations by marshaling massive amounts of labor and capital. China, for example, is increasing funding for 10 universities in order to produce many specialists in every area of science and technology. (Harvard Business Review, March 2009)

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