Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), joined by Democrat Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), introduced legislation to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.

The bill, entitled the Leveraging our National Laboratories to Develop Tomorrow’s Technology Leaders Act, aims to use additional funding for the country’s National Laboratories to encourage the development.

“Tennessee’s national laboratories are responsible for keeping America on the cutting edge,” said Senator Blackburn. “The scientists, engineers, and researchers at Oak Ridge are innovators. This bipartisan legislation will support their critical research while fostering economic development and expanding the skilled workforce.”

$125 million would be sent to the Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP) through the Department of Energy. The money would strive to use existing resources and practices to “create a pipeline between the DOE’s cutting-edge research and U.S. commercial markets, promoting innovation and economic growth.”

“LEEP is a proven way to support some of America’s most creative and ambitious climate-tech entrepreneurs. By combining the ideas and energy of these entrepreneurs with the unparalleled resources of DOE’s national laboratories, LEEP enhances the odds that their startup companies will successfully traverse the proverbial ‘valley of death.’ LEEP deserves the wholehearted support of Congress and DOE,” said David M. Hart, Director of the Center for Clean Energy Innovation at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

There are more than a dozen National Laboratories across the county, including in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

“National Laboratories in New Mexico and across America are leading the way in developing cutting-edge technologies and maintaining our national security and global competitiveness. Our Labs are critical learning hubs for developing the next generation of tech leaders and entrepreneurs who are tackling our nation’s greatest scientific challenges while creating skilled jobs,” said Senator Luján. “As members of Congress negotiate bipartisan innovation and competition legislation, I will continue working with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to harness the full potential of our Labs to support our innovation ecosystem and workforce.”

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Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “U.S. Capitol by Martin Falbisoner. CC BY-SA 3.0.