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Renewing U.S. Telecommunications Research
FIGURE 1.1 Impact of telecommunications research.
benefits it enables, many of which are built up recursively over time as a result of interactions among the various levels. The picture is, to be sure, simplified—the interactions between the different elements are more complex than can be reasonably characterized by the diagram— but Figure 1.1 does provide a realistic view of the impacts of research.
Shown at the top of Figure 1.1 is the research enabled by available funding. Level 1 shows the direct results: Researchers conduct exploratory studies, achieving technical breakthroughs and developing their expertise and their basic understanding of the areas studied. Talent is thus nurtured that will be expressed in the future in industry and academia. None of these results of research can be characterized as end benefits. Rather, the development of talent and the achievement of breakthroughs build a capability for later revolutionary advances.
At Level 2 the benefits of research begin to become evident. Researchers collaborate, and individual insights and results begin to fit together. The university talent generated in Level 1 develops competence—not simply low-level job skills that can be easily transported anywhere, but rather the next-generation expertise needed to ensure a skilled U.S. telecommunications workforce. The United States has access to this skilled workforce first and can thus benefit directly from the talent and knowledge base generated in Level 1 that are fundamental to continuing technological advances and being able to perform in the best future jobs.
Also at Level 2 comes the maturing of fundamental breakthroughs and their transition to usable, deployable technology for next-generation telecommunication systems and the development of roadmaps to help guide research investments.