America COMPETES

On January 4, 2011, President Obama signed the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, reauthorizing “various programs intended to strengthen research and education” related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The continuation of this Act is an important step for the federal government to support economic innovation through investment in research and development and education. The America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act reauthorization continues the growth of budgets for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the laboratories of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Science Foundation. It supports ARPA-E, an energy-research program designed to reduce dependence on foreign oil while stimulating a green economy and supplements ongoing work of the Administration to enhance STEM education. The COMPETES Act also allows every federal agency to conduct “prize competitions” to solve difficult national problems. Of significant regional interest is that the legislation authorizes the creation of a “regional innovation program” to “encourage and support the development of regional innovation strategies, including regional innovation clusters.” A new competitive grant program would make awards available to regional cluster initiatives on a matching basis. Click here to learn more about America COMPETES from the White House blog.