For decades the US innovation community has been trying to get the attention of the White House and Congress for this issue, which has been way down on the list of Washington priorities. This grassroots lobbying effort has been greatly handicapped by not having the money to buy access that some other lobbies have. Still, some modest success was gained with the NIH doubling initiative, the American Competitiveness Initiative, and the America COMPETES Act. Except for the NIH money and a small portion of the ARRA stimulus bill, this has been mostly talk and not much action. At last we’ve got the attention of the White House, and maybe the Congress. When a State of the Union address from the President to the Congress is focused almost entirely on this issue, we’ve got the best lobbyist in town on our side.
WTEC has played a very small role in this movement though its pointing with alarm abroad. With this new attention at the highest levels, we are positioned to do a lot more. This President reaffirmed President Truman’s 1950 goal in the address, “Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success.” Logically, if one has a goal, it is necessary to measure progress toward that goal. Measuring world leadership of S&T is our middle name: World Technology Evaluation Center, Inc. And we have a 20-year record of doing more of this than anyone else by the on-site, peer review method that some believe is the most accurate method.
I think we are ideally positioned to take advantage of this new priority that our issue has in Washington. As the country as a whole focuses on competing in innovation worldwide, WTEC and WTIP should focus on redoubling our efforts to do our part to help. And as in the case of the country as a whole, we have a very tangible motivation for this: our prosperity depends on it.