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What the America COMPETES Act Means for the Department of Commerce

This week, President Obama signed the America COMPETES Act, signifying the importance of science, education and technology to America’s ability to innovate and remain competitive in the 21st century. The America COMPETES Act reauthorizes spending across the federal government on a variety of programs at agencies like the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and here at the Department of Commerce.

The act authorizes our National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to receive funding that would double its core science and technology budget by 2017, and elevates the position of the director of NIST to include the additional title of Under Secretary for Standards and Technology. It better equips our National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to conduct cutting-edge research and further innovation in oceanic and atmospheric technology development. And it establishes a new Regional Innovation Program to be administered by our Economic Development Administration that encourages and develops regional innovation strategies like clusters and science and research parks that help businesses grow and take advantage of regional strengths. Finally, the new legislation reaffirms the mission of our Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship – first announced in September 2009 – which works to unleash and maximize the economic potential of new ideas by more quickly moving them from the research lab to the marketplace.

This renewed commitment to science, education and technology illustrated through bipartisan Congressional support for the America COMPETES Act will greatly benefit the work done at the U.S. Commerce Department, and help fuel U.S. job growth, economic development and global competitiveness. |  Locke statement | White House blog | NIST release


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Good strategic move. More urgent measures

Having received 3 SBIR/STTR grants and incorporated, our startup is faced with bewildering requirement on reporting, Cal EDD, and IRS 941 submissions. Startups are being dragged down by antiquated labor laws in the area of contractors vs. employees. We like to see exceptions made for start-ups without revenue.

I applaud the expanded NIST R&D budget, but like to see more resources given to NWS, NOAA to support the Solar and Wind industry in global, web-based sensing and assessment data.

America is lagging in innovation, education, and high-speed internet access. Grass root, or individual citizen inventors need assistance to create value and commercialize innovations. I like
to suggest the USPTO or a separate organization be setup around the country to provide incubation resources to nurture and facilitate citizens' effort in creating product and services, and their commercialization.

We need ubiquitous free, or very low-cost Wi-Fi access at all public gathering places to enable face-to-face and virtual meetings and idea sharing nearly 24x7.

Rider I

Dear Secretary of Commerce Locke,
First you have a very cool name. I like it ver strong name. Second I would wonder if these scientific parks and places of science are also being properly matched up with a sales team education, and an economic basket comparison team? So we can diversify and mutiply our ability to compete in the neat products we can offer to the world. Keep up the strong work and work harder Secretary. However,live long and prosper. Thank you all for working so hard for your country.

Rider I
The dubious intellectual one. I's I Secretary.