Office of Science and Technology Policy Blog
- Posted byon November 25, 2013 at 2:58 PM EST
Last Monday, in the midst of National Entrepreneurship Month and as countries around the world celebrated Global Entrepreneurship Week, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Sweden rolled out a new $15 million competition to support entrepreneurs who are strengthening global food security and alleviating poverty through market-based solutions that reduce water scarcity in the food supply chain.
The Securing Water for Food Grand Challenge for Development offers catalytic financial support and acceleration services – such as business development services, investment facilitation, and market linkages – for entrepreneurs at either of two stages of project development. Stage 1 is for entrepreneurs with a successful prototype and pilot under their belt now looking to demonstrate the viability of their innovation and business model in an emerging market. Stage 2 is for entrepreneurs who have already demonstrated technical feasibility, market acceptance, and revenue generation in developing country markets and who need help overcoming barriers for further commercial growth.
The Securing Water for Food call for proposals is the latest milestone in the Administration’s National Impact Initiative that was launched around the 2013 G8 meeting to grow the community of investors, companies, and social entrepreneurs tackling significant national and global challenges through commercially viable, market-based solutions that intentionally generate both economic return and social impact. The President believes that social enterprise has a critical role to play as part of a holistic approach to accelerate economic recovery and boost job creation in the United States. In addition, social enterprise can leverage new capital, skills, and pathways to scale in support of the Administration’s global development commitments, including Power Africa, Feed the Future, and the Global Health Initiative. The Administration has already taken a number of steps to realize the full potential of impact investing and social enterprise, including creating the Small Business Investment Company Impact Investment Fund, clarifying the rules that allow foundations to invest in social enterprises, and increasing impact investments made by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, which committed $333 million to impact investing in 2012 in sectors including healthcare, education, renewable resources, and water.
- Posted byon November 21, 2013 at 9:22 AM EST
From left to right, Google Science Fair 2013 Winners: Viney Kumar (14, Australia), Ann Makosinski (15, Canada), Elif Bilgin (16, Turkey), and Eric Chen (17, USA). (Photo by Andrew Federman)
- Posted byon November 20, 2013 at 3:08 PM EST
Ed. note: This event has concluded. Watch the full hangout below.
“Let us come together and help aspiring entrepreneurs take a chance on themselves and their visions for a brighter future.” —President Obama on National Entrepreneurship Month, November 2013
For generations, Americans have turned innovative ideas into small businesses, large companies, and entire industries that have revolutionized the economy, created millions of jobs, and transformed life as we know it—here at home and around the globe. That entrepreneurial spirit is the foundation of America’s story and is critical to ensuring future successes for generations to come. We know from experience that potentially game-changing innovative ideas are born in all corners of the Nation—in every state and region, at laboratory benches and on factory floors, in boardrooms and city halls, at community meetings, in classrooms, and on college campuses.
That’s why, on November 22, which the President has designated National Entrepreneurs’ Day, we’re celebrating the extraordinary stories of young entrepreneurs—students who, along with all the usual demands of pursuing a high school, college, or a graduate degree, are building companies today that are spreading homegrown ideas all over the world. Two proven entrepreneurs featured on the popular TV show Shark Tank will join these student innovators to share lessons from their own entrepreneurial journeys.
Join us this Friday November 22, at 2:00 pm EST for a “We the Geeks” Google+ Hangout, called “Student Startups” – where leading student entrepreneurs and business moguls will talk about how anyone can cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship in his or her own community.
- Posted byon November 20, 2013 at 9:00 AM EST
William Towery is a retired United States Army Chief Warrant Officer Three who received Fiber Optics Installer/Technician certifications and other certifications through the Warriors 4 Wireless pilot program. These certifications provided him with the necessary licenses for placement in a new position at Dynis Tower Solutions, where he started as Wireless Communication Tower Technician in March, 2013.
Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer William Towery scales a 420-foot wireless tower while on the job in June, 2013. (Photo by William Towery)
Last December, while on assignment in Fort Gordon, Georgia, I received an email invitation and phone call to interview with Warriors 4 Wireless (W4W) to be a part of their inaugural pilot-program class for training and job placement at Dynis Tower Solutions (DTS).
For the longest time I was trying to decide what career path options I had—considering all I knew for 20 years involved flying Blackhawk helicopters for the United States Army. I was very nervous at the thought of retirement from my military career due to a head and neck injury that I suffered during a tour in Iraq. I accepted the W4W invitation and attended the interview, though I had little to no experience in telecommunications.
The W4W team provided both classroom and on-the-job training, which was a great relief because I wanted to start work immediately after retirement. I was of course ecstatic to accept their invitation to work and be given the opportunity to start a second career.
- Posted byon November 19, 2013 at 5:39 PM EST
Today in the Oval Office, President Obama met with nine of the Nation’s foremost innovators, creative thinkers, and builders of the future—the American recipients of 2013 Nobel Prizes in natural sciences and economics. The President was joined in the meeting by OSTP Director John P. Holdren, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) Jason Furman, Ambassador Björn Lyrvall of Sweden, Ambassador Kåre Aas of Norway; and a number of the Nobel Laureates’ family members.
The nine newly minted laureates embody the spirit of ingenuity and discovery that have long made America great—and they exemplify the tremendous advancements that can be achieved when research, skill, and study in the so-called STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math are applied to address real-world challenges. The American prize-winners have illuminated scientists’ understanding of how cells operate in the brain; enabled the simulation and modeling of complex sub-atomic-scale chemical reactions; and reshaped the way economists understand market prices and “bubbles.”
- Posted byon November 18, 2013 at 2:48 PM EST
This past September, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced “Broadening Experience in Scientific Training” (BEST)—a $3.7 million awards program designed to help universities prepare graduate students and research fellows in the field of biomedical research for 21st century jobs, including those outside of the traditional academic tenure-track.
BEST awards focus on enabling universities to create innovative pilot programs that increase student and trainee exposure to an array of research-related career options—including through coursework, workshops, and hands-on training experiences. This type of supplemental training is especially important in the biomedical sciences—where an estimated 77% of PhD students ultimately pursue careers outside of academia, such as in industry or government.
The first set of ten BEST awards will provide about $250,000 per year, over five years, to support collaborative efforts between university departments and external partners that enrich graduate education and research experiences.
The 2013 winners are already working to implement innovative programs that provide communications skills training; promote faculty and peer mentorship; guide career planning; provide industrial externship opportunities; and support student entrepreneurial leadership.
BEST awardees are also working to expose program participants to entrepreneurial thinking and provide training experiences for faculty mentors.
For instance, a BEST-awarded program at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University focuses on equipping faculty mentors to be effective “cheerleaders” for student participants in career-training programs—and on providing incentives to faculty members who are effective mentors.
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