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Dr. Stephen S. Tang, President & CEO, University City Science Center, speaks about the COMPETES report transcript

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I'm Steve Tang, President & CEO of the University City Science Center. I'm proud to be a member of the Innovation Advisory Board. This has been an invaluable opportunity to focus on innovation and the role it plays in economic competitiveness. Throughout this effort, one theme quickly became clear. Innovation and entrepreneurship are important, but they alone will not lead our country out of our current economic downturn, nor sustain our bright future.

As Intel co-founder Andy Grove has noted, "scaling," that is, transitioning from the start-up to the manufacturing phase in a company's early life, is the key to capitalizing on innovation and creating good jobs. The United States must return to our great tradition of scalable innovation that led to our economic prosperity.

I am fortunate to have lived most of my life in the Greater Philadelphia region. Our region can serve as a case study of the steps needed to realize that goal. Greater Philadelphia's ecosystem of innovators and entrepreneurs is well positioned to support mechanisms for innovation that can be conceived, and then further developed and scaled to benefit our entire nation.

Other regions in our country could also scale innovation into jobs and prosperity in their own ways, based on their own unique strengths and assets. Just as Silicon Valley nurtures great tech companies, Greater Philadelphia is the cradle of the life sciences industry. And that's important because a thriving ecosystem must consist of more than just our great academic and medical institutions.

Industry must be part of the equation as well. Research parks, business incubators, and other economic development agencies can serve as innovation intermediaries or linchpins to connect the creators of emerging technologies with investors, suppliers, and users of those technologies. Through those connections, we can maximize the value of early-stage research and, in turn, accelerate technology commercialization to create new, high-paying jobs. The future of our nation's economic competitiveness will rely on the collective strength of our nation's regions where high innovative capacity is translated into industries that can generate job growth. 

However, it will take a combination of strong leadership, collaborative public private partnerships, and dedicated innovation intermediaries -both regionally and in Washington- to get us there.