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image credit: Edward Jenner from Pexels

Pure Green Cement, L3C respects and even trumpets the benefits of high returns from investments made using both human and financial capital.  Productivity, a ratio of output volume versus input volume can help all when it generates a high rate of return.  As economist, Paul Krugman cleverly opined, “Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything”. 

To be sure, different metrics are used to track economic growth. Yet by any measure, increasing productivity can help lift man from poverty, curable disease, and existential threats. One source where innovation can assist productivity is found at university research departments.  Yet, as recently noted by The Economist, the vast amount of money spent on academic research needs to increase results by producing “intellectual and scientific breakthroughs that can be employed by businesses, the government and regular folk”.

After WWII, labs in corporate America were responsible for most of the scientific breakthroughs. Corporate R&D expenditures dwarfed academic research budgets at American Universities.  In the late 1980’s this R & D equation between the business community and academic world changed.  As anti-monopoly laws loosened, the corporate R&D spend decreased in relation to academic budgets. Government funding to burgeoning university research departments also swelled.  Unfortunately, commercial solutions and productivity gains didn’t increase proportionately.  This needs to change.

Fortunately, there are new public sector programs focused on reversing the trend.  The National Science Foundation, through aggressive and ambitious initiatives, have targeted the development of regional ecosystems. By leveraging academic research and employing public, private and non-profit consortiums NSF’s Technology, Innovation and Partnership directorate is seeding economic engines to help transition research to the market.