Dear Mr. President

Top IT luminaries demand action from the next administration.

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Henry Chesbrough

Adjunct professor and executive director, Center for Open Innovation, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley

Innovation must be at the forefront of economic policies in [the new] administration. Innovation is widely distributed around the world, so policies must promote the division of innovation labor. These include support for start-ups and small businesses. Universities and national labs must be allowed to engage with industry on translating research results into commercial products. Markets for the sale and resale of intellectual property must be supported. Open initiatives must be promoted, especially where government can help set industry standards.

More money must be appropriated for basic research. Ph.D. graduates should receive green cards to allow them to stay in the U.S. H-1B visas should be expanded. The R&D tax credit should be made permanent. And a new initiative in alternative energy led by the government -- but involving universities, industry, venture capitalists, nonprofits and research labs -- should be started immediately.

Judy Estrin

CEO, JLabs LLC; author of Closing the Innovation Gap

The nation faces major challenges -- energy independence and climate change, national security, and the need for affordable, quality health care -- that threaten our future. Each of these challenges also brings opportunities, if we give innovation the attention it deserves.

One of the most crucial roles of the next administration will be to foster the right environment for innovation through wise funding and smart policy. But it must also re-energize the nation by embracing these challenges, providing a vision to inspire and engage the country at large, and bring out the innovator in each of us.

David Farber

Professor of computer science, Carnegie Mellon University; former chief technologist, FCC

I propose that a new president re-establish the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee. This, combined with a strong science/technology adviser to the president, would provide the White House with much-needed help in technology policy.

There are agencies that regulate aspects of IT, such as the Federal Communications Commission. Re-establishing the position of chief technologist as a permanent position [and establishing] a bureau that would attract technologists to join the agency would bring to the policymaking activities technical input and understanding missing these past years.

The establishment of an organization that has the staff and charter to advise the Congress can be critical in the formulation of realistic laws that impact IT. Such capability is missing now, and our laws show it.

Finally, it is essential to get our brightest young scientists and technologists to intern in Washington. The benefits to the nation and to the young future leaders will be enormous and long-lasting.

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