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Optical Design & Engineering

Obama touts innovation in Hudson Valley speech

SPIE Newsroom
21 September 2009

President Obama underscored the importance of innovation to a sustained economic recovery in a speech at Hudson Valley Community College (Troy, NY) on September 21.

Building on funds allocated to innovation and research in the recent stimulus package, Obama highlighted proposals that address areas he called key to innovation. One important one is assuring that those who wish to attend college have the resources to do so.

Saying "nations that out-educate us today will out-innovate us tomorrow," the president reviewed investments from the stimulus bill and the 2010 budget totaling more than $200 billion invested in educational tax credits, community college funding, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

He also promised to "strengthen our commitment to reseach, including basic research, which has been badly neglected for decades." Obama said that an ongoing investment in R&D will ensure that the economic recovery will last. "When we fail to invest in research, we fail to invest in the future."

Among the primary target areas of the administration's strategy are renewable energy, communications, and health care, with a goal of regaining leadership by encouraging innovation and supporting small business with training, access to capital, and tax breaks.

Obama was accompanied by Dr. Jill Biden, a community college teacher and the vice-president's wife, who is involved in the promotion of the administration's American Graduation Initiative, funding programs to increase graduation rates, make courses more relevant to business needs and strengthen ties to high schools and other colleges and universities.

Whitepaper: A Strategy for American Innovation (Office of Science and Technology Policy) PDF