From Tight Budgets, Primitive Myths, and the Shadow of Albert Einstein
For more than 50 years, America’s R&D system has remained fundamentally unchanged, according to the researchers, policymakers, and journalists who spoke at Monday’s Future Tense event, “How To Save America’s Knowledge Enterprise … From Tight Budgets, Primitive Myths, and the Shadow of Albert Einstein.” Held at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C., How To Save America’s Knowledge Enterprise featured incisive critiques of the aging system that is incapable of helping us solve looming problems in medicine, energy, and business.
In opening remarks, Daniel Sarewitz, co-director of Arizona State University’s Consortium of Science, Policy, and Outcomes, noted that our current research enterprise is built on several assumptions: that the more money we put in, the more results we’ll accrue; that scientists should only be accountable to one another, via peer review; and that knowledge will always help. But these assumptions are deeply misguided: For instance, as we’ve learned more about climate change, we’ve seen only more carbon dioxide emissions, so knowledge isn’t by itself a solution to a problem.
By turns, the afternoon’s conversation discussed the problems faced and perpetuated by universities (both in carrying out research and in educating students), business, and government (as both funder and as researcher).
12:00 p.m. - "Just Trust Us": The Postwar Golden Era and Why We Cling to It
Dan Sarewitz - @CSPO_ASU Director, Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, Arizona State University Professor of Science and Society, Arizona State University
12:15 p.m. - The Cost of Clinging to What Increasingly Looks Like Failure
Stephen Trachtenberg - @GWtweets President Emeritus and Professor of Public Service, George Washington University
George Poste - @ASU Chief Scientist, Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative, Arizona State University Founder and former Director, Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University
Andy Revkin - @Revkin Senior Fellow, Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, Pace University "Dot Earth" Writer, The New York Times
Moderator Deborah Blum - @deborahblum Author, The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York Winner of 1992 Pulitzer Prize for The Monkey Wars series in the Sacramento Bee
1:15 p.m. - Is our Knowledge Enterprise Complex Capable of Seeding the Jobs-Creating Industries of Tomorrow?
Jon Gertner - @nytmag Contributing Writer, New York Times Magazine Author, The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation
Eric Isaacs - @Argonne Director, Argonne National Laboratory
Michael Lind - @NewAmerica Policy Director, Economic Growth Program, New America Foundation Moderator Jonathan Koppell - @coppasu Dean, College of Public Programs and Director, School of Public Affairs Arizona State University
2:30 p.m. - Making Biomedical Science Nimble: It's the Patients, Stupid!
Ron Deprez - @unetweets Director, Center for Community and Public Health, University of New England
3:30 p.m. - Environment and Energy: Innovating in the Belly of the Beast
Margaret Davidson - @USNOAAGOV Director, Coastal Services Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Michael Holland - @Energy Senior Advisor and Staff Director, Office of the Undersecretary for Science, Department of Energy
Jeff Marqusee - @DeptofDefense Executive Director, Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, Department of Defense Director, Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, Department of Defense