National Academies Commemorate “Endless Frontier” Anniversary

The National Academy of Sciences, the Kavli Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation held a symposium “The Endless Frontier: The Next 75 Years in Science” on February 26. They symposium discussed the future development of science in the US, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Vannevar Bush’s landmark report Science: The Endless Frontier, which led to the creation of the National Science Foundation (which turned 70 this year).

Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), as well as Director of the White House Office of Science of Technology Policy (OSTP) Kelvin K. Droegemeier, all reminded the audience of challenges from China and mentioned the importance of securing the US’s Global leadership in sciences by adopting long-term perspectives and a national comprehensive approach. Sen. Alexander expressed confidence in the US leadership in science for the next 75 years, citing the particularly robust increase in federal funding for National Institute of Health (NIH) as well as increased investments in other science agencies. Sen. Alexander also highlighted the importance of energy research and suggested doubling investments in this area.

Rafael Reif, President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), suggested adopting competitive strategies, such as investing in science education even after formal education ends, stapling “green cards to the diplomas” of excellent international students, and integrating social science in research agendas from the very beginning.

During her address to attendees, France A. Córdova, Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), shared that NSF has funded many scientific projects that might have seemed nonsensical at first but ultimately turned out to be successful and essential. Córdova also noted NSF’s history of supporting STEM students of all backgrounds and increasing the representation of diverse communities in STEM.

Other panels included focused on “The Evolving Scientific Research Enterprise,” featuring a discussion on how the scientific enterprise must adapt over the next 75 years; “Science Engagement with the Public,” featuring actor Alan Alda and a discussion of the value of science communication; “America’s Unique Advantage: The Role of Government and Philanthropy in Supporting Our Research Enterprise;” “Evolution of the Government-University Research Partnership;” and “From Basic Research to Innovation and Economic Growth, and the Next 75 Years.” The complete agenda and a recording of the event can be found on the National Academies’ website.

This article was contributed by COSSA’s spring intern, Tracey Lan of New York University Shanghai.

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