Day One Project Publishes Report Highlighting Opportunities For Growth in the Invention Ecosystem


WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a new report produced by the Day One Project with support from the Lemelson Foundation, the Project highlights opportunities for growth in the invention ecosystem. The report recognizes that after more than a half-century of unrivaled global leadership in basic science, innovation, and manufacturing, the U.S. is losing ground throughout the innovation pipeline across a wide range of sectors. The report underscores how the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed this vulnerability, making clear the need for innovation to address major challenges that arise and highlighting weaknesses such as the dependency on global supply chains. In the report, the Project explains how a strong invention ecosystem can power the path to economic recovery, sustained growth, and societal resilience.


“A strong invention ecosystem powers the path to economic growth and resilience. The invention ecosystem consists of two pathways. The inventor pathway inspires and prepares students to address crucial challenges and thrive in the innovation economy. The innovation pathway supports inventors and entrepreneurs so that they can create value from their ideas in the form of products and businesses. Together the pathways yield a pipeline of people and businesses which create jobs, foster resilient economies, and produce solutions to our most pressing challenges,” the Project’s report outlines.


The report highlights policy recommendations to strengthen the four pillars of the invention ecosystem: K-12 education, higher education, entrepreneurship, and industry. The recommendations, which are developed further in the report, are as follows:


Pillar I: K-12 Education Policy Recommendations

1. Create a national strategy to foster invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship skills and mindsets in all students.

2. Create and launch a national initiative to train K-12 teachers in invention, innovation, and entrepreneurial curricula, pedagogy, and assessment.

3. Develop and design new federal education programs aimed at expanding the diversity of our future inventors, entrepreneurs, and STEM workforce.


Pillar II: Higher Education Policy Recommendations

1. Close critical gaps in the university lab-to-market pipeline.

2. Restore federal R&D budgets to their historic levels as a percentage of GDP.

3. Expand successful models and explore promising new opportunities to support the higher-ed innovation pipeline.

4. Enhance opportunities for diversity and inclusion broadly, and for retaining and supporting immigrant contributions.


Pillar III: Entrepreneurship Policy Recommendations

1. Promote diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship.

2. Expand entrepreneurship education and diffuse it throughout federally-funded programing.

3. Expand and improve core federal investments in commercialization and entrepreneurship.

4. Close gaps in access to early-stage capital.

5. Tackle licensing and regulation barriers.

6. Restore highly skilled immigration as a key source of entrepreneurial potential.


Pillar IV: Industry Policy Recommendations

1. Expand and streamline the Federal Research & Experimentation Tax Credit.

2. Boost industry-relevant federal R&D spending.

3. Leverage federal workforce-development activities to support a greater industry role in a forging a demand-driven talent pipeline.

4. Encourage high-growth firms to recognize and invest in supporting the U.S. inventor ecosystem.


You can access the full report here.


The Lemelson Foundation, a funder of the Day One Project, is a philanthropic organization focused on cultivating the next generation of impact inventors, and strengthening the supporting systems that allow invention-based businesses to thrive.