The future of the energy sector and environment is at stake.
Ken Costello serves as principal researcher for energy and environment for the National Regulatory Research Institute. Contact him at email@example.com.
R&D is a hard sell. And that goes for both government and the private sector.
The problem? We live in a society that is becoming increasingly myopic. We want immediate gratification - right now, or if not, then at least in the short term.
Yet we know we are just fooling ourselves.
That's because for decades now economists of all stripes have agreed that the new technologies that come from research and development (R&D) represent the major contributor to economic growth, ensuring long-term prosperity for the companies that innovate, and gains in overall economic-welfare for the citizenry at large. Without this impetus, countries stagnate and lose ground to the rest of the world.
Public policy objectives become more difficult to achieve. Businesses lose their competitive edge (think of drug companies, computer software/hardware, and mobile phones).
Thus a major objective of R&D must be to advance the current state of technology. Basic research, for example, attempts to create new knowledge that will lead ultimately to profitable commercial applications of new technologies.