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Biden Administration Proposal Would Turn Back the Clock on American Innovation

By Barbara R. Snyder

The White House just released a new proposal that would turn back the clock on four decades of beneficial collaboration between leading research universities and the private sector. The plan would stifle revolutionary innovation across a range of critical sectors, hindering the development of everything from life-saving drugs to clean-energy technologies.

The administration's proposal hinges on the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act, bipartisan legislation that created America's world-leading innovation system. Congress passed the law to ensure that, whenever possible, promising university discoveries are translated into products and technologies that drive the American economy and benefit the public. 

Bayh-Dole has proven remarkably successful. Indeed, many of the technologies and products that we now take for granted were developed through university-to-private-sector technology transfers made possible by the Bayh-Dole Act. The original search algorithm that powered Google; the e-ink technology behind readers like Kindle; and the Nobel Prize-winning mRNA technology behind life-saving COVID-19 vaccines: these all began at America's leading nonprofit research universities. They were then brought to market by ingenious startups and companies willing to invest their own resources and expertise into further developing early-stage discoveries.

Read more in Real Clear Health.