About the Task Force on American Innovation

Who: Formed in 2004, the Task Force is an alliance of America's most innovative companies, leading research universities, and largest scientific societies. 

Why: Our mission is to support scientific research in the physical sciences and engineering.  Federal research investment has fallen to historic lows as a share of our gross domestic product, raising concerns that we're not investing an adequate share of today's resources to support the innovations of tomorrow.

Innovation is central to American jobs, competitiveness, and prosperity.  In today's world, many nations compete very well on the basis of cost or quality.  It is the ability to innovate - to create new high-value, high-margin goods and services - that sets a country, a state, or a locality apart.  Investment in scientific research is a critical component of America's innovation system.

How: The Task Force is based in Washington, DC, working with the Administration and Congress to support the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy's Office of Science, the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Defense Department, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  The budgets of these agencies support critical research at universities and laboratories across the country, build the skills of our scientific workforce, and supply essential infrastructure used by firms and institutions to make new breakthroughs.

Although companies conduct the vast majority of American research, most of their investment is dedicated to applied research and development that builds on the insights of federally-supported basic research that uncovers new fundamental knowledge.  Financial markets and shareholders limit the amount of high risk and longer term basic research conducted by companies.

Only the federal government has the resources and risk horizon to fulfill this national mission.  Even though research in the physical sciences and engineering accounts for only a tiny fraction of the federal budget, it is responsible for some of the last century's biggest breakthroughs and in many ways will determine whether America enjoys a prosperous 21st Century.

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Physical science funding trendline
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