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IEEE-USA president encourages greater high-tech investment at Innovation 2008 Conference

Chris McManes

IEEE-USA President Russ Lefevre told a national conference audience that the United States should invest more in the nation's science, engineering and technology enterprise.

"There is much more that needs to be done in terms of investing in technology, in people, and in incentives that will drive innovation and entrepreneurship," Lefevre said as part of the Innovation Panel at the Innovation 2008 conference at the University of Minnesota on Monday.

Lefevre said one of the top priorities of the new presidential administration should be to fully fund the America Competes Act.

"This is an important step that the new administration can take to help shore up long-term U.S. innovation and competitiveness," he said.

The America Competes Act, which was signed into law in 2007, authorized, among other things, doubling the budgets at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy's Office of Science and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology; establishing the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy at the Energy Department; strengthening science, technology, engineering and mathematics educational opportunities at the elementary through graduate school levels; increasing funds to improve the skills of math and science teachers; and providing college scholarships for hundreds of future math and science teachers.

"Everybody supports science, motherhood and apple pie, but when it comes to funding, it's a different story," Lefevre added during the question and answer session.

Lefevre also discussed the importance of expanding our nation's energy portfolio to include greater use of alternative energy, the electrification of our transportation sector, and smart-grid technologies to manage electricity more efficiently and reliably.

"The new research and development priority is in energy, but there is no silver bullet," Lefevre said. "We need to invest our research dollars to ensure a diverse set of energy resource options."

The Innovation 2008 conference, which concludes today, is part of Science Debate 2008, a national movement that strives to restore science and technology to America's public dialogue. IEEE-USA was an early supporter.

Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain answered 14 questions from Science Debate 2008, the first time in U.S. history the endorsed candidates for president revealed their science policies in this detail before an election. Their responses are at www.sciencedebate2008.com.


IEEE-USA advances the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of more than 215,000 engineers, scientists and allied professionals who are U.S. members of the IEEE. IEEE-USA is part of the IEEE, the world's largest technical professional society with 375,000 members in 160 countries. See http://www.ieeeusa.org.

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
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