Charles Wessner

Director of Technology, Innovation, & Entrpreneurship at National Academy of Sciences

Dr. Charles Wessner is a National Academy Scholar and Director of the Program on Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. He is recognized nationally and internationally for his expertise on innovation policy, including public-private partnerships, entrepreneurship, early-stage financing for new firms, and the special needs and benefits of high-technology industry.  He testifies to the U.S. Congress and major national commissions, advises agencies of the U.S. government and international organizations, and lectures at major universities in the U. S. and abroad.  Reflecting the strong global interest in innovation, he is frequently asked to address issues of shared policy interest with foreign governments, universities, and research institutes, often briefing government ministers and senior officials.  He has a strong commitment to international cooperation, reflected in his work with a wide variety of countries around the world.

Dr. Wessner’s work addresses the linkages between science-based economic growth, entrepreneurship, new technology development, university-industry clusters, regional development, small firm finance and public-private partnerships.  His program at the National Academies also addresses policy issues associated with international technology cooperation, investment, and trade in high-technology industries.

Currently, he directs a series of studies centered on government measures to encourage entrepreneurship and support the development of new technologies and the cooperation between industry, universities, laboratories, and government to capitalize on a nation’s investment in research.  Foremost among these is a congressionally mandated study of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, reviewing the operation and achievements of this $2.3 billion award program for small companies and start-ups.  He is also directing a major study on best practice in global innovation programs, entitled Comparative Innovation Policy: Best Practice for the 21st Century.  A complementary analysis entitled Competing in the 21st Century: Best Practice in State & Regional Innovation Initiatives is now underway. The overarching goal of his work is to develop a better understanding of how we can bring new technologies forward to address global challenges in health, climate, energy, water, infrastructure, and security.

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