New initiative targets emerging models of technological innovation

June 10, 2015

Technological innovation--as essential as ever for economic growth--now occurs in a rapidly changing global and local context.

To identify the emerging models of technological innovation that will propel U.S. competitiveness in the coming decades, the Council on Competitiveness is beginning the Exploring Innovation Frontiers Initiative (EIFI) with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Today, NSF Director Dr. France A. Córdova joins leaders of academia, business, nonprofits and government from the southeastern United States to kick off the two-year initiative in Atlanta, Ga.

Córdova's keynote remarks encourage regional leaders to understand and spur innovation as it evolves in response to changes in the global economy, financing, physical resources, new technologies and demographics.

"NSF is proud of its role in supporting fundamental and translational research performed at universities and small businesses, which can seed innovations in both private and public sectors," Córdova said.

The U.S. and the world face enormous challenges: to increase the economic growth rate; to provide food, water, energy and other natural resources to rising populations; to protect against cyber and other unconventional threats; and to provide high-quality and cost-effective health care to diverse communities. The need for transformative high-impact innovations has never been greater.

The event, hosted by Georgia Tech, is the first in a series organized by the Council on Competitiveness.

In addition to exploring models of innovation, attendees will discuss tapping into the nation's innovation capacity, nurturing new talent and ideas, translating innovation into widespread prosperity, and growing national and regional economies.

"The Exploring Innovation Frontiers Initiative is fundamentally about the collective act of sensing," said Deborah L. Wince-Smith, president and CEO, Council on Competitiveness. "In order for complex systems to survive, adapt, evolve and grow in the face of turbulent change, we must sense the meaningful changes on the horizon and begin to prepare our organizations, institutions, and workforce to leverage these changes for future productivity and prosperity."

Additional EIFI events are planned in cities around the country; the next will be hosted by the University of California, Riverside, on Nov. 23, 2015.

"New technologies and new ways of engaging across communities give us remarkable opportunities for innovation across the science and engineering enterprise to bring growth, transformation, and resiliency in the face of regional and global challenges," Córdova said.

The Exploring Innovation Frontiers Initiative is part of a broader NSF effort to establish partnerships to enhance the impacts of NSF investments.

National Science Foundation

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