DC Dispatch

DC Dispatch - August 19, 2016

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Status of R&D Budget

(As of the summer recess)

Congress went on their annual summer recess in late July: still having “a long way to go to wrap up FY 2017 appropriations.” As summarized by AAAS, “[N]one of the twelve annual spending bills have yet been signed into law, and few have been approved by either chamber. Lawmakers are on recess until Labor Day, but when they get back they’ll have to figure out how to proceed on a continuing resolution that will punt funding decisions at least until late fall to avoid a shutdown … . In spite of these now-standard obstacles afflicting the process, forward movement has not been totally absent. Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees wrapped up work on their twelve annual spending bills before hitting the annual summer recess in mid-July. Assuming Congress eventually gets to an omnibus spending package, the outcomes of this work will shape that debate. With that said, here are some brief observations on where things stand for science at the break. Overall R&D budget figures are predictably modest – with the exception of NIH [which has received a $1B increase from House appropriators and a $2B increase in the Senate]. … While Congress hasn't been particularly generous, they have in fact protected research funding. Based on appropriations decisions so far, the federal research budget for FY 2017 will likely end up around $3 or $4 billion higher than the Administration had requested. The discretionary request had proposed billion-dollar cuts to the base budgets at NIH and NASA, and a nine percent reduction in DOD basic research. … Appropriators have mostly rejected these proposals: beyond the aforementioned NIH boost, NASA appears set up for a small increase, and appropriators in the Senate (but not the House) turned away the proposed Defense cut.” See the link for more agency-specific details. AIP provides their own summary of the R&D budget status. (Original Sources: AAAS web site, AIP web site)

Effectiveness of R&D Tax Credits

SSTI provides a brief analysis: of several recent studies on the impact of making the R&D tax credit permanent. As they note in their newsletter, “[W]hen the U.S. government made their R&D tax credit permanent in December 2015, it made a long-term commitment to using incentives to entice private firms to invest in research and development, joining many countries around the world. Although most studies find that R&D tax incentives promote R&D, there is little consensus on the extent of this effect. A recent firm-level analysis from the United Kingdom finds some of the strongest evidence to date on the effectiveness of R&D tax credits in incentivizing innovation. At the same time, however, other studies suggest other elements of a national economy such as education and infrastructure may be more important.” (Original Sources: SSTI web site)

New From NSF

Business Research and Development and Innovation: 2013 presents “detailed tabular statistics from the 2013 cycle of the Business Research and Development and Innovation Survey. Tables detail findings by size of company, sources of R&D funds, character of R&D, and industry classified by the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes. Also included are tables covering R&D by business activity and state, R&D performed outside the United States, and R&D paid for by foreign sources; intellectual property, including patenting; and R&D capital expenditures.” Utilizing that latest report, and data from prior years, SSTI notes that in total, “[U.S.] businesses performed 6.7 percent more R&D in 2013 than in 2012, according to the data, and nearly 19 percent more R&D from 2010 to 2013.  Combined, the top 10 states performed approximately two-thirds (65.3 percent) of all private research and development in the United States, led by California, [accounting for] 27.7 percent of the national total.” (Original Sources: NSF web site, SSTI web site)

Tech Innovation Policy Advice for the Next President

(Let the unsolicited advice begin)

The non-profit Partnership for Public Service has released: a report titled Encouraging and Sustaining Innovation in Government: A Technology and Innovation Agenda for the Next Administration, providing a set of recommendations for how incoming leaders can use innovation as a catalyst in achieving the administration’s priorities. From the link, “[T]his is the fourth whitepaper in our Management Roadmap series, published jointly by the Partnership for Public Service and the IBM Center for The Business of Government. The reports share lessons learned from roundtable dialogues with key stakeholders, identifies promising initiatives and offers ideas on successful implementation. The project will cumulate with a Management Roadmap capstone report later this year incorporating lessons from all four whitepapers.” See the link to download the full report. This is just the beginning of what will no doubt be a plethora of unsolicited advice for the next President on any and all policy issues – we’ll try to capture any of those that related to S&T when we see them. (Original Sources: PPS web site)

500 Organizations Reiterate Call for Action

(On federal S&T policy decisions)

A group of industry, higher education, and scientific organizations has reissued: a statement “calling for Congress to increase federal support of basic research, streamline research regulations, and reaffirm merit-based review, among other actions.” As AIP reports, “[L]ast summer, over 250 industry, higher education, and scientific organizations signed a statement entitled ‘Innovation: An American Imperative,’ calling on Congress to ‘enact policies and make investments that ensure the United States remains the global innovation leader.’ On the one-year anniversary of the statement, a broader coalition of over 500 organizations reiterated the call, reissuing the statement alongside a progress report summarizing developments to date.” (Original Sources: AIP web site, AMACAD web site) 

FTC and DOJ Seek Comments

(On proposed update to antitrust guidelines for IP licensing)

The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division seek: public comment “on a proposed update of the Antitrust Guidelines for the Licensing of Intellectual Property, also known as the IP Licensing Guidelines.” From their press release, “[T]he IP Licensing Guidelines, which state the agencies’ antitrust enforcement policy with respect to the licensing of intellectual property protected by patent, copyright, and trade secret law and of know-how, were issued in 1995 and are now being updated. … With the IP Licensing Guidelines as an analytical tool, the agencies have accumulated additional antitrust enforcement experience and policy expertise in this area. The proposed update announced today reflects this knowledge. It is intended to modernize the IP Licensing Guidelines without changing the agencies’ enforcement approach with respect to intellectual property licensing or expanding the IP Licensing Guidelines to address other topics and areas that are addressed, for example, in the 2007 Antitrust IP Report.” Deadline for comments is September 26. (Original Sources: FTC web site) 

GAO Seeks Comments on Proposed TRA Guide 

GAO Technology Readiness Assessment Guide: Best Practices for Evaluating the Readiness of Technology for Use in Acquisition Programs and Projects – Exposure Draft notes, “[T]his TRA Guide is a companion to GAO's Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide (GAO-09-3SP) and GAO's Schedule Assessment Guide (GAO-16-89G). With this Guide, GAO intends to establish a methodology based on best practices that can be used across the federal government for evaluating technology maturity, particularly as it relates to determining a program or project's readiness to move past key decision points that typically coincide with major commitments of resources. Similar assessments can be made by technologists and program managers as knowledge-building exercises during the course of a project to help them evaluate technology maturity, gauge progress, and identify and manage risk. The Guide is intended to provide TRA practitioners, program and technology managers, and governance bodies throughout the federal government a framework for better understanding technology maturity, conducting credible technology readiness assessments, and developing plans for technology maturation efforts.” Comments accepted through August 10, 2017. (Original Sources: GAO we site)


Note: The DC Dispatch is a periodic update of selected items of interest to the FLC and technology transfer community -- i.e., current legislation, trends, reports, policy and other developments potentially affecting technology transfer or related activities -- designed to keep the community informed of relevant issues on a timely basis. Information is gleaned directly from a variety of sources (newsletters, email alerts, web sites, direct participation at events from the FLC DC Representative’s office, etc.) -- with original sources, contacts and links provided.

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