Statement of Task
Responding to the challenges of fostering regional growth and employment in an increasingly competitive global economy, many U.S. states and regions have developed programs to attract and grow companies as well as attract the talent and resources necessary to develop a knowledge-based economy. These state and regionally based initiatives have a broad range of goals and increasingly include significant resources, often with a sectoral focus and often in partnership with foundations and universities.
An ad hoc committee, under the auspices of the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP), will conduct a study of selected state and regional programs in order to identify best practices with regard to their goals, structures, instruments, modes of operation, synergies across private and public programs, funding mechanisms and levels, and evaluation efforts. The committee will review selected state and regional efforts to capitalize on federal and state investments in areas of critical national needs. This review will include both efforts to strengthen existing industries as well as specific new technology focus areas such as nanotechnology, stem cells, and energy in order to better understand program goals, challenges, and accomplishments.
The committee will convene a series of public meetings and fifteen symposia involving responsible local, state, and federal officials and other stakeholders. These meetings and symposia will enable an exchange of views, information, experience, and analysis to identify best practice in the range of programs and incentives adopted. Eleven symposium summaries will be prepared. Drawing from discussions at these symposia, fact-finding meetings, and commissioned analyses of existing state and regional programs and technology focus areas, the committee will subsequently produce a final report with findings and recommendations focused on lessons, issues, and opportunities for complementary U.S. policies created by these state and regional initiatives.
Innovation clusters—localized groups of companies developing creative products and services within an active web of collaboration that includes specialized suppliers and service providers, universities, and research institutes and organizations—are now widely associated with higher levels of economic growth and competitiveness.3 Based on this recognition, there is an
3Richard R. Nelson and Nathan Rosenberg, “Technical Innovation and National Systems” in Richard R. Nelson, ed., National Innovation Systems: A Comparative Analysis, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993; Michael Porter, “Clusters and the New Economics of Competition,” Harvard Business Review, 1998. For more discussion, see Chapter 2.