Robert Atkinson is the founder and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington, DC-based technology policy think tank. He is also author of the State New Economy Index series, Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage (Yale, 2012) and The Past And Future Of America’s Economy: Long Waves Of Innovation That Power Cycles Of Growth (Edward Elgar, 2005). He has an extensive background in technology policy, he has conducted ground-breaking research projects on technology and innovation, is a valued adviser to state and national policy makers, and a popular speaker on innovation policy nationally and internationally.
Before coming to ITIF, Dr. Atkinson was Vice President of the Progressive Policy Institute and Director of PPI’s Technology & New Economy Project. While at PPI he wrote numerous research reports on technology and innovation policy, including on issues such as broadband telecommunications, Internet telephony, universal service, e-commerce, e-government, middleman opposition to e-commerce, privacy, copyright, RFID and smart cards, the role of IT in homeland security, the R&D tax credit, offshoring, and growth economics.
Previously Dr. Atkinson served as the first Executive Director of the Rhode Island Economic Policy Council, a public-private partnership including as members the Governor, legislative leaders, and corporate and labor leaders. As head of RIEPC, he was responsible for drafting a comprehensive economic strategic development plan for the state, developing a ten-point economic development plan, and working to successfully implement all ten proposals through the legislative and administrative branches. Prior to that he was Project Director at the former Congressional Office of Technology Assessment. While at OTA, he directed The Technological Reshaping of Metropolitan America, a seminal report examining the impact of the information technology revolution on America’s urban areas.
He is a board member or advisory council member of the Alliance for Public Technology, Internet Education Foundation, NetChoice Coalition, the Pacific Institute for Workforce Innovation, and the University of Oregon Institute for Policy Research and Innovation. He serves as a member of the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy (ACICIP). He is also chair of the Congressionally-created National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission. He also serves on the advisory panel to Americans for Computer Privacy, is an affiliated expert for the New Millennium Research Council, a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Electronic Government and the Journal of Internet Policy, a member of the Reason Foundation’s Mobility Project Advisory Board, a member of the Global Innovation Forum Brain Trust and a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Dr. Atkinson was appointed by President Clinton to the Commission on Workers, Communities, and Economic Change in the New Economy. He is also a member of the Task Force on National Security in the Information
Age, co-chaired by Markle Foundation president Zoe Baird and former Netscape Communications chairman James Barksdale. In 1999, he was featured in “Who’s Who in America: Finance and Industry.” In 2002, he was awarded the Wharton Infosys Business Transformation Award Silver Medal. In addition, Government Technology Magazine and the Center for Digital Government named him one of the 25 top Doers, Dreamers and Drivers of Information Technology. In 2006, Inc. Magazine listed Atkinson as one of 19 Friends of Small Business in Washington. Ars Technica listed Atkinson as one of 2009’s tech policy People to Watch. Dr. Atkinson has testified before a number of committees in Congress and has appeared in various media outlets including CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NPR, and NBC Nightly News. He received his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1989.
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