Published online 17 September 2008 | Nature 455, 273 (2008) | doi:10.1038/455273b

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Innovative ideas

In the third of our election-themed podcasts available online, Nature looks at where US innovation policy might go under a new president. Excerpts from our panel discussion:

"One of the things I would like to see the candidates understand — I think Obama gets it intuitively, and McCain may be coming around to it — is that technology and innovation drive long-term economic growth … Real national leadership on these issues, on a consistent and ongoing basis, would be what I want to see from the next administration."

Stephen Ezell, senior analyst, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Washington DC

"It's astounding that over the past eight years, the number of computer-science graduates in the United States has decreased by 50%, at a time when computer science became one of the most high-growth job industries."

Stephen Ezell

"It is truly a competition for the best and brightest right now, and we need to do that. If it means stapling a green card to the diploma for people who have a degree in science that we think is valuable, then we should be looking to do it now."

Bill Bates, vice-president, government affairs, Council on Competitiveness, Washington DC

"We need to find ways in this country to get over being so worried about supporting industrial policy and funding, that Valley of Death that exists between our universities and the venture capitalists."

Tobin Smith, associate vice-president for federal relations, Association of American Universities, Washington DC

To hear the full discussion, chaired by our columnist David Goldston, visit http://www.nature.com/nature/podcast . 

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