White House unveils final update for innovation roadmap

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The White House unveiled its final update Wednesday to its “Strategy for American Innovation,” an overview of efforts by the Obama administration to encourage technological advancements in the public and private sectors.

The update provides an outline of how the administration plans to support innovation through the $146 billion in federal research and development funds the president has requested in his 2016 budget plan.

Among the White House initiatives included in the update is the administration’s commitment of $160 million in federal funds for smart cities projects announced back in September. The president’s 2016 budget specifically calls for the allocation of $30 million to support that initiative.

The manufacturing of innovative technology is another focus of the strategy. The administration highlighted its efforts to establish a “National Network for Manufacturing Innovation” with a series of “Manufacturing Innovation Institutes,” which feature partnerships between states, higher education institutes and private companies to drive research.

Additionally, the strategy puts a focus on the administration’s support for autonomous and connected vehicle research. The 2016 budget specifically calls for the doubling of federal investments in advanced vehicle research in cities and states across the country.

The updated plan also spotlights the administration’s “ConnectED Initiative” launched in 2013, which aims to help 99 percent of the country’s students get access to high-speed broadband by 2018. And it notes a budget request for $50 million to create a “Advanced Research Projects Agency for Education” to study technological advancements in the field.

The National Economic Council and Office of Science and Technology Policy first teamed up to release the strategy in 2009, before unveiling an update in 2011. This latest revamp of the document aims to highlight “new areas of strategic opportunity where focused effort can advance national priorities and help create shared prosperity,” according to a White House fact sheet.

Overall, the administration says it hopes that the roadmap will help the public sector harness “new approaches for institutional change.”

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