Advanced Manufacturing Hubs Are Growing Across America

However, one hurdle that needs to be crossed is the assumption by Congress that new technologies “emerge automatically” from advances in science and have the capability to commercialize themselves in the marketplace.

“One hurdle that needs to be crossed is the assumption by Congress that new technologies emerge automatically from advances in science and have the capability to commercialize themselves in the marketplace.”

The Brookings report’s authors contend these assumptions are short-sighted, particularly in contrast to higher investments by other nations that raise “serious questions about the nation’s ability to maintain its advanced industries lead in the coming years.” While U.S. R&D intensity increased by a modest 10.4% between 1995 to 2008, it increased by 20.5% in Germany, 42.2% in Korea, 135.1% in Singapore, and a staggering 170.2% in China, according to the report.

The authors advocate for Congress to approve funding for the build-out of a national network of advanced innovation hubs, expanding on “the modest beginnings” of the Department of Energy’s Energy Innovation Hubs program and the Department of Commerce’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation initiative.

“The creation and appropriate funding of at least 25 such hubs would greatly accelerate the pace of innovation and new-product development in the nation’s advanced industries and so strengthen their long-term competitiveness,” the authors say.