Investing in Innovation for the Future: Science and Technology

March 21, 2013

Lincoln Hall, Northwestern University School of Law
357 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL, USA


Blame for the Great Recession and America’s halting recovery has been attributed to many factors. But according to a new book, a major culprit has gone unnamed: the United States’ decline in the race for global innovation advantage. A complacent and politically polarized America is fated for a slow, painful transition into a “Rust Nation,” they warn, unless our leaders can muster the will to act.

In INNOVATION ECONOMICS: The Race for Global Advantage, Robert D. Atkinson and Stephen J. Ezell, president and senior analyst, respectively, of the non-partisan Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, explain that today, economic growth hinges on the ability to create new products, services, processes, or ways of doing business. And the competition in these areas is intensifying.  While the U.S. has watched its manufacturing sector decline at a rate faster than in the Great Depression, shifted its R&D overseas, and squandered its ample resources on risky speculation, scores of nations have done the opposite and made investment in innovation a top priority. It’s not too late for America to take the lead again, the authors write, but changes must be made.

Using publicly-available data and a historical perspective, Atkinson and Ezell shed new light on trends such as the decline of U.S. manufacturing jobs and the broken link between company and country. They describe how technology and innovation ultimately drive long-run economic growth, and show how countries now compete on the basis of their national innovation ecosystems—comprised of knowledge, risk capital, and regulatory, institutional, and technological factors. This in turn is forcing governments to rethink their economic growth strategies and policies, making support for technology and innovation a central tenet.

Yet the United States is woefully unprepared for this new world, they argue, in part because it lacks a robust innovation and competitiveness policy. In INNOVATION ECONOMICS, Atkinson and Ezell analyze what nations around the world are doing to either help or hinder innovation, and how the U.S. might emulate the best ideas. They lay out a practical roadmap of eight steps the U.S. must take to stimulate innovation and job creation, and explain why the U.S. to date has been unwilling to take the necessary steps to win the race. And finally they explain how global bodies like the WTO and IMF must change to ensure innovation can flourish amid fair competition, allowing all boats to rise.

Where: Lincoln Hall, Northwestern University School of Law, 357 East Chicago Ave.

When: Thursday, March 21, 2013

8am Registration & Coffee Reception

9am Presentation followed by Q&A and book signing

Dr. Atkinson’s new book Innovation Economics: The race for Global Advantage will be on sale for $25 at the event. Copies through C2ST are limited, to reserve your copy please email Andrea Poet at

Discounted parking will be made available to the first 150 attendees at 222 E. Huron St.

Fees Apply: C2ST members free / $20 non-members / $5 students

RSVP REQUIRED – Register at C2ST’s event registration site


Dr. Robert D. Atkinson is the founder and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington, DC-based technology policy think tank. He is also author of the book Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage (Yale, 2012), the book, The Past And Future Of America’s Economy: Long Waves Of Innovation That Power Cycles Of Growth (Edward Elgar, 2005), and the State New Economy Index series. He has an extensive background in technology policy, he has conducted ground-breaking research projects on technology and innovation, is a valued adviser to state and national policy makers, and a popular speaker on innovation policy nationally and internationally.

Before coming to ITIF, Dr. Atkinson was Vice President of the Progressive Policy Institute and Director of PPI’s Technology & New Economy Project. While at PPI he wrote numerous research reports on technology and innovation policy, including on issues such as broadband telecommunications, e-commerce and e-government, privacy, copyright, the R&D tax credit, offshoring, and innovation economics.

President Clinton appointed Dr. Atkinson to the Commission on Workers, Communities, and Economic Change in the New Economy; the Bush administration appointed him chair of Congressionally-created National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission; and the Obama administration appointed him to the National Innovation and Competitiveness Strategy Advisory Board. In addition, he was named by the White House Office of Science and Policy as co-chair of China-U.S. Innovation Policy Experts Group.

Dr. Atkinson has testified before a number of committees in Congress and has appeared in various media outlets including CNBC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NPR, and NBC Nightly News. He received his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1989, where he was awarded the distinguished Joseph E. Pogue Fellowship.