I knew the chap who founded SPRU, looking into just such things back when it was largely being ignored. I also worked briefly with a colleague of his on technology bubbles and the positive transformative effects they can have in the long term, despite 'short-term' financial crises.
Firstly, they are of course of the opinion that R&D is vital. Indeed my limited understanding of their position is that almost all 'real' economic growth can be said to come from technological change. Everything else is either population growth or accumulating fixed assets like materials; the former dilutes per capita growth and is effectively a wash (distribution of wealth aside - yes that's a big issue too, but bear with me...), the latter only have value because of how they are used in technology (market value is of course determined by perception, and that's another reason it gets out of kilter from time to time).
More significantly, perhaps, is their way of looking at tech bubbles: they exist because of R&D, and all sorts of people get overexcited and there's a bubble followed by a collapse but, in the meantime, some entire infrastructure has been replaced. Rail bubble is a good example, the transition to mass production is another, various colonial bubbles etc. In these cases, the real economic growth (of the kind that benefits everyone, not just a financial elite) tends to occur only after the collapse.
I think we are in the middle of this collapse right now, and it may be protracted. Arguably the last similar collapse involved WWII before upward movement was restored. Anyway, the point is this fellow from IBM is absolutely correct, but if history is anything to go by there may well be a serious hiatus in R&D before the next wave of real growth starts, and him saying it ain't so might not do a hell of a lot...
(Just as an aside, a lot of R&D post Wall Street crash started as part of the military-industrial complex, effectively funded by governments as part of the war effort. There are many economists who suggest that, when private enterprise fails, governments have to step in and spend spend spend, but the reactionary governments such crises often engender have difficulty justifying this sort of expense without, say, a huge war. A more positive alternative might be putting large parts of the world economy onto a 'war footing' against climate change: printing money, creating jobs, building infrastructure and so on. Even if climate change isn't happening, this could be no more pointless than developing ways of actively destroying people and infrastructure...)