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News and Press: Policy News

R&D Support and Immigration Challenge Bio-Industry Growth

Friday, January 30, 2015   (0 Comments)
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U.S. Losing Ground as R&D Leader


The U.S. is losing ground in its leadership of medical research spending, to other countries, particularly those in Asia, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. The nation’s total share of medical research spending globally dropped from 57 percent in 2004 to 44 percent in 2012. In contrast, China tripled its investment from $1.6 billion in 2004 (0.8 percent of medical research funding globally) to $4.9 billion in 2012 (1.8 percent). The decreased federal R&D funding will have broad impact on the number of discoveries, innovation, and commercialization in the biosciences.


Addressing the Immigration Problem for High Tech Industries


Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) and others introduced the Immigration Innovation Act to allow foreign nationals studying here in high-tech fields to be able to stay in the U.S. with their families. It would expand the number of available visas for temporary high-skilled workers, raising the existing cap of 65,000 to 115,000, with the option to expand up to 195,000 under certain circumstances. The bill would also exempt some categories of immigrants from the quota for employment-based green cards, effectively doubling the number of those available visas. It includes a U.S. STEM Education & Worker Retraining Initiative that would reform fees on H-1B visas and employment-based green cards and use money from these fees to fund a grant program to promote STEM education and worker retraining to be administered by the states. Another bill, the Startup Act was also introduced by six senators including Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Mark Warner (D-VA) would create a new type of visa for entrepreneurs looking to start companies in the U.S.

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