Historically, American research innovation has led the way to progress in countless scientific disciplines. From establishing the first research park in the world, to building world-class research universities and federal laboratories while pioneering technology transfer and patent reform for public-private research partnerships, the U.S. has led the world in attracting research talent, funding scientific advances, and commercializing new discoveries. Innovations spawned in the basements, garages, dorm rooms, classrooms and laboratories of countless Americans will create jobs, foster the reversal of the U.S. trade imbalance, reduce U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources and attract and retain the brightest human capital. It will ultimately return the United States to the premier position it has historically enjoyed.

The United States is losing ground competitively. The ambitious entrepreneurs and scientists who are willing to invest time and money into an idea are being lost at a staggering pace to other countries. These foreign governments provide incentives for this U.S. human capital to uproot and move. These individuals find that the challenge of surviving in a foreign country is outweighed by the tremendous economic benefit these foreign communities provide.

At the present time, the U.S. is losing ground because we do not provide the Place for the Creative Class to prosper. We have left the responsibility of creating Place to local communities, many of which cannot bear the speculative burden of creating Place without governmental financial support. Policy support to attract foreign direct investment from across the globe into the U.S. is also urgently needed.

To that end, the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) offers a series of urgent recommendations for the U.S. Government, so that it can more precisely support American innovation and American innovators with both economic and policy-based changes. Our proposal targets the following:

· Creating American Innovation Zones to drive the creation of modern research and development collaboration;

· Formalizing a series of incentives that will support growth in these communities, including:

· Reforming the tax code for tax exempt financing of research park development;

· Creating a permanent and enhanced research and development tax credit;

· Expanding Enhanced Use Leasing (EUL) authority;

· Making government-managed federal labs more effective partners in technology-led economic development;

· Fully funding the America COMPETES Act of 2007;

· Expanding the availability of visas for skilled researchers; and

· Encouraging in-migration of foreign start-ups through “soft landing” programs.

Each of these initiatives are elements of a single strategy to increase innovation and competitiveness. We call on Congress and the new Administration to enact comprehensive legislation incorporating the initiatives listed above to increase U.S. competitiveness and ensure that we remain the world’s leader in science and technology innovation.