|Bridging the Gaps|
Too many research discoveries and technologies never make it from the laboratory to the marketplace or the patient’s bedside. Researchers speak of a “Valley of Death” between basic R&D in laboratories and the creation of marketable technologies and medical treatments.
Earlier this week, I introduced legislation with Sen. Frank Lautenberg to help to bridge this gap. The America Innovates Act would create an American Innovation Bank to help universities and other research institutions establish and grow “proof of concept” funds to invest in science and technology-based projects in their earliest stages. The legislation also would provide high-tech innovators with business development training so they can turn their ideas into marketable products.
Bridging this gap between laboratories and the marketplace will help to save American lives, create jobs, and ensure America’s continuing role as a leader in innovation.
America Remains the World’s Largest Manufacturing Power
One way that American innovation can translate into market success is through our manufacturing sector. Despite much political hand-wringing about the challenges facing American manufacturing, the fact is that American manufacturing is strong and growing.
In March, America’s manufacturing sector experienced its 32nd straight month of growth. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. remains the world’s largest manufacturing power: We produce 21 percent of global manufacturing, compared to just 15 percent for China.
Congress must act to ensure the continued success of American manufacturing – not just for the benefit of manufacturing businesses or workers, but for the success of our economy at large. As the director of the president’s National Economics Council, Gene Sperling, recently put it, “Economic studies have shown that there are clear and measurable spillover benefits from manufacturing activity that benefit the locations and particular nations that house such manufacturing activity.... Manufacturing matters; manufacturing promotes the innovation and productivity that will keep America on the cutting edge.”
Celebrating 100 Years of Girl Scouts
A century ago, Juliette Gordon Low assembled 18 girls from Georgia for the first Girl Scout meeting. From Daisy Low’s start, 50 million people have been counted among the ranks of the Girl Scouts of America, and today its membership is more than three million.
Girl Scouts are involved in much more than cookies. I’ve had the privilege to see their wonderful community service projects, to attend award ceremonies, and to witness their work to introduce girls of all ages to math and science. Recently I had the opportunity to spend time with members of the Girl Scouts from West Windsor and Plainsboro. Their robotics team placed first in the Eastern Pennsylvania Division of the FIRST LEGO League, and they are competing in the world festival in St. Louis this week. I send them my best wishes.
I am inspired by the Girl Scouts’ achievements over the last century and wish the Girl Scouts success for the next 100 years.