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December 1, 2003
Volume 81, Number 48
CENEAR 81 48 p. 8
ISSN 0009-2347


Report explores federal labs' contribution to local economies


Federal laboratories provide economic and educational benefits to the communities and states in which they are located through an array of activities, concludes a report released on Nov. 20 by the Office of Technology Policy in the Technology Administration at the Department of Commerce.

SHARING The Central Receiver Test Facility (above) operated by Sandia National Laboratories is used to develop technology to produce electricity from solar energy.
The report, "Partners on a Mission: Federal Laboratory Practices Contributing to Economic Development," includes the survey results of 28 federal labs. It presents case studies describing ongoing developmental activities from seven of the labs and two programs that link businesses and federal labs.

Among the benefits cited, the report notes that federal labs attract highly educated individuals to an area and, by adding a research infrastructure, provide incentives for entrepreneurs to come to the area. The labs also work with local schools and colleges, helping to encourage math and science at all education levels.

"Just as research universities have long catalyzed economic development in knowledge clusters across our nation, federal laboratories are playing an increasingly important role in promoting regional growth," wrote Bruce P. Mehlman, former assistant secretary of commerce for technology at Commerce, in the report's foreword.

Federal labs also play a key role in driving innovation, said Phillip J. Bond, undersecretary for technology at Commerce, during the report release briefing. "The ultimate advantage for the U.S. in global competition is that Americans can innovate."

The full report is available online at


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Copyright © 2003 American Chemical Society

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