Corporations have mostly decided that big R&D labs don't make business sense -- the payback is too far in the future. Government is under pressure to cut spending, so don't expect large increases in government funding of R&D. That leaves things up to the universities. That's fine, but as was pointed out in an earlier comment, the grad students doing much of that research work aren't even allowed to stay here once they finish their degrees.
Engineers are struggling life today!
In china, Everybody is making money and buy a house in cites and overseas.
Professors in universities are opening company outside and become a boss.
Make big money!
isn't it a problem of funding and patents. patents are nice if you have them but if you need to use something that is patented to make your idea work than you need to have luck to be allowed to use it or you need a lot of money to buy a license.
if you don't have money for a patent then you keep it a secret until you can pay for the patent.
maybe they should force large companies or give them an advantage when they spend X% of there profits to research.
Fundamentally, many smart people in the world. inforamtion is available to all. Not like those days if you are close to Stanford only you get the best data. Who can spend more time on studies/work will win...
innovation is not protected. In 90's and 2000 we became and MBA country with short term quater to quater gains than long term..
Looks at permeire journals in 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000 american authors are reducing.
Look at the PH.Ds coming out of our best schools. Most are from other countries, and we do not even give the oppertunities for them to stay.
We killed our best labs ATT.
I agree that, in the past decade, Apple has little to no technological advancement. They simply put things together and make them look wonderful. Apple's innovation was back to the Apple II and Newton PDA. iPad and iPhone, to me, are an evolutionary product starting from Newton. Having said that, Apple has chosen great technologies and hired the right people to make their product revolutionary. The integration of iPod dialer to a MP3 device is the beginning of touch. Consumers are being trained since. To me, Apple may not have push the technology as much as some others company. Yet, I can't argue they didn't change the world.
Technological advancement demands fundamental research that, I agree, only big muscle can do. Government funding is one of the many sources. Bell Labs and NASA are all great organizations. Lately, NASA has announced a grant to 3D printing of food. Although I am very skeptical of eating printed food, I'm so welcome to the grant and the direction. I agree government shall put out more grants for various researches. I also believe corporations and taxpayers shall pay their fair shares to support the long term sustainability of the technological advancement.
On one hands, government was blame of inefficiency and of being slow in reacting to the market. On the other hands, when there is a research gap, it is because of lack of government funding.
Lack of government funding may be one of the many contributors to the slow to technology advancement. I see the unwillingness of hiring young engineers and of re-training employees is another. To have years of experience and to equip with 80%+, if not 100%, if the skills are the key to get hired lately. If the company evolves to different technology, you may or may not get retrain. Instead, to most organization, you may be let go because there will always be talents out there to pick up and be up to speed in no time.
To me, the technology pipeline are not only relying on innovation in various areas but also depending on the availability of human resources. The fewer the young engineers are trained; the bigger gap the technology pipeline is going to be broken. To fix it, more young engineers shall be trained. The experienced one will be a tool to train the young engineer the technology and basic skills of engineering - troubleshooting, debugging and more importantly, analytic skill.