Science and Technology Innovation Program

Research Brief: Washington Goes to Sand Hill Road

Dr. Athar Osama

At a time when the federal government is attempting to ensure that the United States remains economically, technologically, and globally competitive, there is renewed interest in supporting innovative models and mechanisms that can spur and reward high-risk, high-reward research and development (R&D). Ranging from awarding competitive prizes to partnering with foundations and other non-profits such as regional technology based economic development and entrepreneurial support forums and specialized mission-oriented initiatives (e.g. the X-Prize Foundation), these funding approaches for science and technology have benefits that go beyond the traditional government request for proposals and grant-making competitions: they can address long-range, intractable, and "hard" problems; encourage the formation of multi-faceted, interdisciplinary teams; respond to quick turn-around and product-development cycles; and reward creative, out-of-the-box thinking. In many respects, they mirror funding schemes employed by private firms to stimulate innovation. The following paper by Athar Osama analyses one such pioneering approach by the federal government to encouraging high-risk, high-reward R&D: venture capital.

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Experts & Staff

  • David Rejeski // Director, Science and Technology Innovation Program; Interim Director, Commons Lab
  • Todd Kuiken, Ph.D. // Senior Program Associate, Science and Technology Innovation Program
  • Aaron Lovell // Writer/Editor/Program Manager, Science and Technology Innovation Program
  • Eleonore Pauwels // Program Associate/Researcher, Science and Technology Innovation Program
  • Anne Bowser // Researcher, Data Science and Visualization, Science and Technology Innovation Program
  • Elizabeth Tyson // New Projects/Technology Scout, Science and Technology Innovation Program
  • Sharon Weinberger // Global Fellow
  • Piers Millett // Global Fellow