white house

Obama Administration's Wireless, Broadband Agenda Targets Economic Growth

Earlier this month, President Obama announced plans to expand broadband and wireless Internet access to every school and library in the U.S. The new initiative, ConnectEd, has a goal of connecting 99 percent of students to the Internet within five years by having the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) modernize and leverage its existing E-Rate program. The president claimed that millions of students lack access to high-speed broadband and fewer than 20 percent of educators say that their school's internet connection meets their needs, particularly those in rural America. The ConnectEd program will direct federal funds to support the use of new digital education tools in the classroom and provide support and training for teachers to better implement and utilize these tools. With the global education marketplace surpassing $1 trillion in value, the initiative hopes to encourage private sector innovation to produce educational devices and software that can unlock the value of the federal government's investment. Read more about the ConnectEd initiative...

White House Releases Study, Executive Orders To Combat Patent Trolls

As recently explored in an episode of This American Life, high-tech patent litigation has reached unprecedented proportions, with many research-oriented companies now joining the calls to restructure the patent system. This week, the White House released five executive orders and seven legislative recommendations to add transparency to the system and level the playing field for innovators. The executive orders require patents to name the real party-in-interest (as opposed to shell companies), call for stricter bounds on functional claims, limit the liability of end users, strengthen exclusion orders to ban the import of infringing products and begin a more extensive investigation of the current system. Read the White House announcement...

Federal Government Stepping Up to Coordinate State Cybersecurity Efforts

Threats to America's cybersecurity continue to make headlines, underscoring the growing importance of protecting our country's digital infrastructure. As national security experts continue to grapple with how to address the challenge, the federal government is stepping up to coordinate state cybersecurity efforts. In an effort to promote our country's economic security and boost innovation and competitiveness, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is working with states and the private sector to develop a framework for national cybersecurity standards. States are capitalizing on the increased coordination to build public-private partnerships that seed industry growth.

Federal Agencies Release Information on Manufacturing Institutes, Manufacturing Partnership

Last week, the Obama administration announced that it would commit $200 million to establish three new manufacturing innovation institutions in 2013 (see the May 8, 2013 issue of the digest). The announcement was followed by the release of a funding announcement for the first of those proposed institutes — the Department of Energy-administered Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute. The Department of Defense released requests for information on the two proposed institutes focused on digital manufacturing and design and lightweight and modern metals manufacturing. The Economic Development Administration (EDA) also released a funding announcement for the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (see the April 24, 2013 issue of the Digest).

Obama Administration Launches Competition for Three Manufacturing Innovation Institutes

The Obama administration will commit $200 million from five federal agencies to create three new manufacturing innovation institutions in 2013. Building on the Additive Manufacturing pilot initiative launched in Youngstown, OH, last year, the Department of Defense will lead two new institutes focused on Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation and Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing. A third institute, led by the Department of Energy, will focus on Next Generation Power Electronic Manufacturing. Competition for these new institutes is open immediately. Winners will be announced later this year. Read the announcement...

White House Backs Open Government Data, Seeks Open Science Champions

This week, the Obama administration announced a series of measures intended to make government and scientific data more available to the public. Key among these efforts is a new executive order requiring that future data generated by the federal government be made available in open, readable formats to the public. An accompanying memorandum instructs federal agency heads to build open data practices into their data collection activities and to develop secure data-release policies. In addition, the administration announced it was seeking nominations for notable open data and open science champions that are having an impact in their community.

White House Targets Clean Energy Manufacturing to Boost U.S. Competitiveness

Last week the Obama administration launched a new Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative housed within the Department of Energy. The initiative will use public-private partnerships to drive an open-source, "smart" manufacturing network that will help U.S. clean energy manufacturing firms reduce costs, increase competitiveness, and boost productivity.

White House Announces $100M BRAIN Research Initiative

This week, President Obama unveiled a new, long-term initiative to further understanding of the human brain. The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, the latest in a series of federal Grand Challenges, would attempt to reproduce the scientific and economic gains of the Human Genome Project. In FY14, the administration plans to invest $100 million in the initiative, with key operations within the Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Read more about the initiative...

Obama Administration Announced $40 Million Challenge to Reshore, Retain U.S. Jobs

The Obama administration announced the $40 million "Make it in America" Challenge to accelerate the growing trend of reshoring, attract more foreign direct investments (FDI) and create well-paying domestic jobs. The multiagency competition will award up to 15 grants to regions from across the country to develop and implement regional economic development strategies that encourage reshoring, foster increased FDI, incentivize companies to expand U.S. operations and establish industry-focused training programs. U.S. states, local governments, institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations are eligible for awards. Applications are due May 31, 2013. More information is available at the challenge's website...

White House, Business Community Support Investment in National Smart Grid

Sharp decreases in the price of domestic natural gas have challenged growth in the U.S. renewable energy industry. In response, the White House, with support from national business leaders, has re-focused public-private investment toward smart grid technology — efforts focused on developing the infrastructure for decentralized power networks that communicate and coordinate information between energy producers and consumers.


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