Sen Gillibrand announces bill to spur growth of science and technology jobs

Friday, August 10, 2012 02:58 PM

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) announced legislation to spur the growth of new science and technology jobs in Western New York and across New York. The “America Innovates Act” would help scientists and researchers secure valuable resources and training to turn their discoveries into marketable products, new high-tech companies and jobs.

“New York is home to some of the world’s brightest minds and best ideas to grow our economy,” said Sen. Gillibrand. “This common-sense legislation will help develop scientific breakthroughs into cutting edge businesses and new jobs. Providing our scientists and students with practical business skills will go a long way towards creating high-tech industries and building the next generation of innovative leaders.”

The America Innovates Act would spur growth of high-tech jobs in Western New York and across the nation by making capital available for innovators and by training students to turn their discoveries into products, companies and jobs. The bill would create an “American Innovation Bank” to help universities and other research institutions establish and grow the development and commercialization of initial discoveries, making potential products more attractive to state, local and private investment.

Under this funding stream, universities would be able to create or strengthen their “proof of concept” funds, aimed to help researchers prove that their research can be practically and concretely used. Once proved practically, investors are much more likely to risk capital on the commercialization of research, thereby increasing the chances that the idea would turn into a new business or create new jobs at an existing company.

Universities would be able to use grants to hire additional staff for specific experiments, purchase testing equipment, test products in an industrial setting, clinical development, access expert advice in business strategy and patent and regulatory laws. Funds could also be used to build business incubators or other facilities that would support researchers.

To help build the next generation of innovative leaders, this legislation would also provide business training for graduate students in science, training students in intellectual property protection, commercialization and product development. Under this bill, existing science fellowship programs would be expanded to allow students to perform research in industry settings. Universities would also be encouraged to develop professional science masters programs and graduate degrees that will provide students with the skills they need to pursue careers in industry.

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