Investing in Innovation

While the country grapples with the implications of the Sequester and government institutions race to cut their budgets, other voices call for a boost in spending on innovation.

Join the Chicago Council on Science and Technology and Dr. Robert D. Atkinson, founder/ president of the Information Technology Foundation, a Washington, DC-based technology policy think tank, to discuss this timely topic.

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. While the U.S. has watched its manufacturing sector decline, 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, the authors 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.

Robert D. Atkinson is the founder and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington, DC-based technology policy think tank. In addition to Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage, Atkinson has authored The Past and Future Of America’s Economy: Long Waves Of Innovation That Power Cycles Of Growth, and the State New Economy Index series. Atkinson was formerly with the Progressive Policy Institute, serving as its vice president, and was director of PPI’s Technology & New Economy Project. He was appointed to the Commission on Workers, Communities, and Economic Change in the New Economy by former President Clinton; 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.

When: Thursday, March 21, 8am registration & reception; 9am presentation, Q&A and book signing

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

Fees: Free to C2ST members / $20 non-members / $5 students

For more information or to register visit

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