The Losing Case for Innovation Understanding Why Congress Doesn’t Fund Research

Date(s) - 05/22/2017
3:00 pm

Milan P. Yager, MPA, Executive Director, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)

Introduction: In the halls of Congress there is widespread agreement about the role of R&D in the success of the America’s most innovative corporations. However, too often lawmakers view
government models of discovery, from NASA to public university research labs, as obsolete and costly superstructures in today’s .com marketplace.  What happened to the case for public exploration and discovery and why shouldn’t the private sector be trusted to find the cure for Grandma’s dementia or Johnny’s brain tumor?  Long-time Washington political insider, former lobbyist, Administration appointee, and AIMBE’s Executive Director, Milan Yager, will reveal the hidden truth about why Congress doesn’t fund needed biomedical research. 

Results and Discussion: This presentation will highlight innovations and achievements made possible from past federal investments in basic research; such as the internet, wireless communications, even mapping the human genome.  Today, Congress seems less interested in past accomplishments as they assume new priorities to balance the budget, reduce government, and free the private sector to assume long-standing government responsibilities for innovation and discovery.  How did Congress make spending decisions to permit federal R&D spending to be flat for over a decade? Learn about why Congress is no long accountable for reduce investments in basic research.  Discover three secrets to making a winning case for federal funding for medical and biological research.  Learn practical steps to successfully getting your point across to a Member of Congress.  Find out how to brand your research as the Sputnik in the race to cure cancer, manage chronic disease, or Type I diabetes. 

Conclusions:  Arming yourself with the strategies for the political warfare in the case for innovation is more than just changing public policy; it can provide the key to changing the future landscape of new biomedical materials, products or procedures.  Attendees will get insight into America’s next biomedical “moonshot” initiative. 


Milan Yager is a long-time Washington lobbyist and association executive who has over 30 years of senior government and public affairs experience in the public and private sectors.  His background includes senior government position in the Administration and Congress, as well as private sector experience with four national associations and a business-consulting firm.

Mr. Yager is currently the Executive Director of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, an honorific organization of the most accomplished innovators in the fields of medical and biological engineering. 

Mr. Yager previously served for 16 years as president and CEO of the National Association of Professional Employer Organization.  Under his leadership the organization achieved record membership and consolidated 16 affiliated associations to unify the often-diverse needs and interest of the industry behind a national advocacy campaign that resulted in the passage of 22 comprehensive state licensing statutes. 

Prior to joining NAPEO, Mr. Yager was an Administration political appointee to the Interstate Commerce Commission and served as Director of the Office of Economic and Environmental Analysis. Mr. Yager also has served in senior management and policy advocacy positions for two national trade associations including the National Association of Home Builders and United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association. 

Mr. Yager’s legislative and policy background includes service as Chief of Staff in the House of Representatives for now Senator and Assistant Minority Leader Durbin, and Legislative Director for
Congressman Berkley Bedell.  Mr. Yager is a former candidate for the Iowa State Legislature, President of The Yager Company, and a political consultant and staff member for several congressional campaigns.

He is a graduate of the University of Iowa and has a Masters in Public Administration from The American University in Washington, D.C.