Business backs the basics

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Science  14 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6309, pp. 151
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal1580

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Earlier this year, a number of leaders from major U.S. corporations gathered at Sunnylands in California to discuss the critical importance of basic scientific research. For decades, the private sector has withdrawn from some areas of basic research, as accelerating market pressures, the speed of innovation, and the need to protect intellectual property in a global marketplace made a Bell Labs–style, in-house model of discovery and development hard to sustain. However, the leaders who gathered for the “CEOs and Leaders for Science” retreat* (which we convened) agreed that basic research will make or break corporations in the long term. Why?