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In the Name of Progress: What Role Should Government Play in Medical Innovation?

I recently spent some time catching up on the excellent podcast, Planet Money, and I really enjoyed one episode in particular, Lighthouses, Autopsies and the Federal Budget. The show was about what governments should or shouldn't pay for, but what it got me thinking about, was how huge a role government policy will play in the innovation landscape of the future.

Envisioning the Future of Drugs in San Francisco

This past week we interns each built a prototype for a game to engage with the future.  We considered this task to be a smaller version of the final project that is the culmination of this internship. Since we had but five days to design and complete our prototype, it was a challenge to identify a problem of the appropriate size.  My "play-space" shrunk from neural enhancement to chemical neural enhancement to chemical neural enhancement policy.

China uses Internet policy to shape "mainstream public opinion"

The current public pronouncements from the China government regarding Google's assertions of government penetration into Google services has been quite revealing of the persuasive intent of China's deep and comprehensive management of information flow on the Chinese Internet:

The Washington Post published a statements from cabinet spokesman Wang Chen on the Web site of the State Council Information. There are several key phrases that caught my attention when I read the article:

MIT and Harvard Leaders Make Policy Recommendations for the Next US President

Technology Review is running an article today
comprised of three letters to the next US president, suggesting policy
initiatives that they think are needed to address future challenges.

First up is Ernest J. Moniz, Director of The MIT Energy Initiative,
who argues for plans to develop a "portfolio of proven low-carbon
technologies". His specific proposals include:

Should America Create Innovation Zones to Spur R&D?

I spent the morning reading through a report released earlier this month by the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), titled “The Power of Place: A National Strategy for Building America’s Communities of Innovation”. AURP is industry association that represents several dozen leading research parks and real estate developers with strong connections to major universities in the US and Canada.

Characteristics and Trends in North American Research Parks

The Association of University Research Parks represents several dozen university-based research parks and real estate organizations across the US and Canada, and this study builds on a comprehensive look at the state of research parks in 2007, "Characteristics and Trends in North American Research Parks: 21st Century Directions" (PDF). In that report, AURP identified several key trends that re-inforce several foundation forecasts at IFTF that have shaped the Science In Place agenda.

Welcome Your New Copyright Overlord

On Monday, President Bush signed into law the PRO-IP Act, passed by the House in May with an amended version approved by the Senate and House in September. PRO-IP not only "toughens criminal laws against piracy and counterfeiting," it also officially establishes the position of intellectual property czar. The czar will be part of the Executive Branch and operate in the "Office of the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative," or USIPER (which becomes USPIER if you transpose two letters).

How to Attract US R&D Outsourcing

A recent article in Research Policy landed on my desk today, titled "The Maturation of Global Corporate R&D: Evidence From the Activity of U.S. Foreign Subsidiaries", by Deepak Hegde and Diana Hicks.

This review turned a lot of my assumptions about the globalization of R&D, and how poorly the current debate about offshoring of R&D in the US is based on fact.

Mercosur Announces Science, Technology and Innovation Plan

From SciDev.Net today, we learn that "the presidents of the Mercosur member countries have signed a five-year plan for science, technology and innovation, aiming to add value to regional production. Not many details yet, but with Brazil's rapid advances in aviation manufacturing and biofuel, and Argentina's burgeoning expat fashionability, there are some interesting possible futures for attracting R&D money and talent to the region.

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