Investing in Science and Technology for the Future of U.S. Global Competitiveness
[Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] you [Music] [Music] foreign [Music] so [Music] hmm so [Music] so [Music] [Music] so [Music] [Music] bye [Music] hey [Music] so [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] do [Music] do good afternoon and thank you for joining us for today's event investing in science and technology for the future of u.s competitiveness my name is john bennett and i'm editor-at-large at cq roll call where i've covered washington's policy and political debates for nearly two decades before we begin i'd like to take a moment to thank our sponsor science and technology action committee for partnering with us to make this event possible to kick off today's program i'd like to introduce dr seth the ramen panchanathan director of the national science foundation mr director over to you thank you john i'm delighted to be able to be part of this event because how we invest in science and technology is essential to ensuring the nation's global competitiveness so i want to thank cq roll call and the science and technology action committee for hosting this critical discussion our economic and national security depend on three things investing in the technology of the future building innovation ecosystems throughout the nation and developing all the talent that exists across the entire nation and when you do that you can foster innovation anywhere and ensure that there is opportunity everywhere the first of those things we have already been doing for more than 70 years at nsf and we are going to continue to make those investments in fundamental and basic research across the entire spectrum of science and engineering but now we are at a critical point where seven decades of investments have put us on a launch pad to tremendous possibilities going forward think of technologies like ai quantum computing biotechnology advanced communications or advanced manufacturing the nations that fully harness these technologies will have huge advantages economically and geopolitically to do this we have to recommit ourselves to building on the investments we have made in science engineering and technology we have to scale the investments we are making today to unleash the discoveries and breakthroughs that will define tomorrow we have to see technological growth and entrepreneurial opportunities by building innovation ecosystems in every region of our nation good ideas are democratized so we must have the infrastructure in place so that no matter where you are in the nation you can take those ideas and turn them into new technology and big breakthroughs that can fuel our economy and bolster our communities the way to do that is by building innovation ecosystems places where researchers educational institutions businesses industry state and local governments non-profits and communities that can all come together to identify important challenges and come up with solutions that improve people's lives and strengthen communities lastly and most importantly we have to quickly develop the domestic talent that is resident throughout the nation in every geographic area and every demographic background there are millions of people across every part of the country that have the ability to succeed in stem careers i do not only mean as researchers or engineers i mean the whole range of careers that rely on technical skills or advanced education or specialized knowledge and training we need to do everything we can to make sure that they have access to the educational and career opportunities that are the foundation of our nation's future workforce at nsf we know how important these three pieces are because we sit right at the center of investing in exploratory and use inspired research supporting the transition from lab to market through programs like the america's seed fund and strengthen education and workforce training across all stem disciplines at every grade level and it is a very exciting time at nsf right now i would say every exciting time across our nation because we have just launched our first new directorate in more than 30 years the directorate for technology innovation and partnerships this new directorate will work with programs across nsf and with other federal agencies industry nonprofits and more to expedite technology development in emerging areas that are crucial for the united states technological leadership and central to tackling the great issues of the day like climate change and future pandemics and we are thrilled that the white house's fiscal year 2023 budget request has proposed allocating more than two billion dollars for this new directorate to invest in emerging industries focus on priority areas such as advanced manufacturing advanced wireless artificial intelligence biotechnology microelectronics and semiconductors as well as quantum information science i'm thrilled to see the tremendous bipartisan support for strengthening the nation's competitiveness in these areas i am looking forward to working with congress to see the bipartisan innovation act signed into law and securing the resources necessary to implement this important vision because when we do this we are going to see that innovation can happen anywhere and you're going to have opportunities everywhere and that is how we ensure that united states remains the global leader in discovery innovation entrepreneurship and technological advancements thank you again for the great work you're doing to highlight this issue and i'm looking forward to hearing the insights from today's speakers thank you john and back to you thank you dr patrin for kicking us off with those great remarks next up i am pleased to welcome dr christina johnson president of the ohio state university dr k husband's feeling dean of the ivan allen college of liberal arts at the georgia institute of technology and jordan crenshaw he's vice president of the u.s chamber of commerce technology engagement center thank you all for joining me today thank you john i wanted to kick off our discussion and we can go around the panel and just talk about the major challenges in in the stem space uh right now is it is it workforce is it uh general funding is it r d uh is it the china china challenge or is it some combination of all of those and i wanted to start off with jordan with kind of the industry perspective i think that's a perspective that um and our reporting uh seems to be more and more important um every day the private sector they're called we hear calls for the private sector to be doing more and uh so jordan i want you to kick us off so john i think the answer is yes uh there are many areas uh that are uh causing uh alarm when it comes to competitiveness when it comes to technology from a global perspective i think as we talk about r d in particular the private sector its share of r d spending has actually gone up significantly since the space race day since actually it's almost doubled since 1965.
um but but the problem is is that we still need a robust basic research ecosystem in the united states and that's money that goes to universities to do the basic research that they can be applied and done at scale by industry and it's part of the virtuous cycle of development a couple examples uh the the federal government's role and basic research on the arpanet leading to the internet or some of the work being done at the university of pennsylvania in the early uh part of this century on mrna um that was actually taken up by moderna and pfizer to become the the coronavirus vaccine so uh there is a virtuous uh cycle of research and an ecosystem that needs to be uh balanced and put in place uh i think china is an issue china is working to outspend this also when it comes to r d but we've also got other areas as well too we need to ensure that we have a high skilled workforce in place and whether that's done through immigration reform or increasing the talent pipeline here at home with stem education that's going to be vital for the 21st century and then finally there are other issues that we need to address that we need to do some basic investment in as well one of those is the fact that we're experiencing a massive semiconductor shortage uh globally and ensuring that we put the dollars and the right tax incentives uh into producing semiconductors uh that goes into all of the technological uh work that we do in terms of electronics in our economy but also too making sure that we have the right tax incentives for research and development so john it's really an all-the-above approach when it comes to ensuring american leadership in this space right dr johnson that's quite the list that he just laid out um from your perspective uh how would you you as our friends of the military military would say how would you rack and stack those what do you think are the biggest ones and what can washington do uh maybe do better washington can always do better from my perspective um to help out the sector and to start addressing some of these challenges well thank you very much and you know jordan i think you you you nailed it in a lot of ways so from a university perspective and and i'm sure uh dean husband's feeling is similar is that we're in the education business we're in providing the workforce of the future and you know i think about that workforce has become even more sophisticated since i was uh studying 40 years ago at stanford in electrical engineering uh but a couple things would be bear thinking about going backwards and then coming forward so although jordan said that and it's true that um private sector funding has doubled and increased since uh you know the moonshot days i think if you look at specific industries like the semiconductor industry if you go back to 1980 you know 1982 uh the private sector um was funding about half of the r d it was the federal sector that really launched that industry today the private sector is investing 20 times more than the the um the public sector so we need to continue to invest in as jordan said basic research i would say fundamental research right because i don't think there's anything basic about the extraordinary work that's being done but um but it takes a long time so think about you mentioned moderna and mrna you can actually go back to the work of tom check the university of colorado boulder 78 won the nobel prize in what the early 80s or about 87. he was the first one to recognize that rna had more of a role to play than just you know being a library with books on it if you will it actually could send messages think about that without that fundamental change in the role of rna you might not have vaccines today and so that investment 40 years ago laid the groundwork for us to be able to turn this pandemic around but if we go back to um the importance that i know we heard from director punchanatham we need to invest in the fundamental work and we do that in life sciences through nih nih has very robust budget 45 billion but the national science foundation which is really what's carrying the water on a lot of the systems work in both the physical and natural sciences is about 8.5 now we just had announced two weeks ago a new directorate uh the um so-called uh tips so technology innovation and partnerships and that is something that can really fuel the next generation of these technologies that may not bear fruit for 20 30 40 years so i think it's really important to have that the second piece i would say about the national science foundation they've really been a leaders in workforce development they're the first to say let's reach out and let's combine the community colleges the k through 12 with the research enterprise and let's get these students really excited about research when they're young because then they're going to go in and help fuel uh the future of these really interesting technologies i think the last thing on workforce is we have to think about demographics and geographics demographics uh you know intel their million girl moonshot which is to get a million girls involved in stem uh we need to look at underrepresented minorities women we really need to open up the joy of the stem education to everyone and then there's the geographics for such a long period of time we've relied on the coast the west coast the east coast and i think you've seen with the intel investment in ohio in texas that that's really the new innovation hub if you will of the country so looking for what the government can do and will do with the bipartisan innovation act i think it's to look at these regional innovation hubs which is a brilliant idea you know 10 billion dollars to really get all the demographics and the geographics working uh towards um continuing our prominence and eminence in science technology energy and uh engineering and math great great thanks dean husband's feeling uh we had uh a chat uh prior to this about uh the new nsf uh technology directorate i know you have some thoughts on that uh so i want you to talk a little bit about what that means what role can that new office play and also of course want to hear what you think are the biggest challenges as well well i i'm so happy to be here and um jordan and christina both laid out a very robust sense of what do we need to do now what do we need to do for science and engineering of the future and the focus i think is on people and therefore the talent pool and that affects everything else that we're talking about the focus is also on people in terms of our constituents what do we want what do we understand um as important in our lives and so one of the things that i did was i went back and i wanted to go through for the last maybe 10 to 15 years and look at what were the science advisors setting for forth as priorities for our nation and those items really do reflect what we want not just scientists and engineers not best just us in the academy so to speak in in in universities and colleges but really what do we need and what do we value as a nation and it comes down to things like basic needs for the poor it comes down to healthy lives clean energy future safe and secure um united states safe and secure world public health all of the things that you just heard um jordan and and president johnson talk about comes down to those values things that we really care about so from my perspective focusing on the talent pool and a diverse talent pool as we just heard matters and that is one of the things that we see at the national science foundation in one of the existing directorates education and human resources but also is picked up quite a bit in technology and innovation partnerships those linkages those partnerships that's that that title is just essential innovation is a tail end of the the fundamental research that we just heard about it's where all of that meets the street where it's commercialized where it actually does provide the value that our citizens want out of our science and engineering system and then these partnerships are essential not just partnerships between say the government and private sector and philanthropic institutions but it's also partnerships among different types of of avenues for research so one of the things that we see in this in stack is that we are asking for that coordination across agencies so that we have the coordination within agencies of course and that's one of the things that tip will do all across the directorates and and within nsf and within between nsf and and corporate america and philanthropic philanthropies and such but also we're going to see as as christina said earlier the national institutes of health and things that can be done with the u.s department of agriculture with the national science foundation with the department of energy with with with those combinations that coordination is essential so that kind of diversity is important too but last thing i'll say because i started with people not only people who are our constituents the users the ones that value what we do in science and engineering but also the folks that need to be part of this engineering system this science system we all need to be part of that system and it is a geographic distribution we need broadband in rural america we need broadband in the inner city we need to have clean water in flint we need to have clean water um in appalachia i mean so you you have to see it as in my view wouldn't people value and therefore what is our science and engineering system providing for all of us right that's why these investments is so important they're truly our investments not just expenditures sure and dean speaking of investments uh the house and senate have been working on different versions of a legislation that is designed to get at some of these challenges and continue investing there is a difference between of course investing in spending and critics will say that congress and washington spend too much and invest too little so you know the bills this is headed to a conference committee congress uh we'll see if they remember how to do a conference committee like this uh but that's a little bit down the road how well do these two bills because they are similar especially the technology provisions there are a lot of similarities there how well does do these pieces of legislation which will eventually become one um continue to invest in these uh in these areas that that you guys have laid out and also are there are there deficiencies or places where the conference committee could improve the bills dean i'll go to you first oh thank you yeah we're going to reporter on this one okay well i know that jordan's going to hit it out of the park here but i think that there's a lot of room for both bills to be on the same page of course and making sure that the agenda serves all that is the primary purpose um investments and truly these are investments as we heard earlier um some of what has been funded 20 30 years ago we see in everyday lives and those are the types of investments that really matter we have to rely on the experts quite frankly to understand well we don't have a crystal ball how will you know that this investment today is going to be beneficial in five years in 20 years even we do have an understanding though of how that ecosystem works and where it is wise to put those investments in and i think both sides of both bills can address those items and we have a system of trying to determine how to invest the funds wisely in centers or is it by specific individuals but we have a systematic way of doing so it involves peer review it involves working with communities it involves um the scientific workforce but it involves um stem individuals that are in our workforce that are in stem proximate areas it involves and one of the things i really appreciate we appreciated about what president johnson said it involves community colleges research 2 and research 1 universities and again back to engagement with community so i hope that both bills will also address how those funds are beneficial and and span not just one area but span these different areas that we value but also means by which we can get about doing the business of this country within the science and engineering workforce that is so essential right right dr johnson uh what do you think of these two bills and are there any areas where you think the the conference committee could improve uh what's already been written i'm super excited about the bipartisan innovation act and the conferencing i think this is a tremendous and i'd be remiss if i didn't give a shout out to senator sherrod brown and rob portman from the great state of ohio and their work in bringing this together you know i i think that dean husbands feelings said it just right on the important bit in my opinion about this conferencing is that we create these regional hubs because this is the hubs where they're basically many manhattan projects right where we're going to get together and take on some of the big problems and and dean feeling went through many of them and and get after solving them in the way that we know as americans how to do so i'm excited about that i'm excited about the chips act when you think about in the last 30 years and this is from the ceo of intel's written testimony to the u.s senate committee
on commerce science and transportation since 1990 we used to manufacture over a third of all the chips in the world 30 years later we're down by a third of that we're at what 12 percent uh if that keeps going that you the the chip shortages we see now which is why we can't have cars why we don't have our endpoint devices while we're we are really everything has a chip in it from tractors to your iphone if we can't get a hold of the chips then that's really going to be a fundamental change in society you're already seeing that happen now through the covet so i think that's important and the last thing i would say is as a pitch with regard to international competitiveness i think what we need to do and i i've said this in every venue and i can is i think we need to add a supplement to every grant in science technology engineering math that would fund patents that would come out of that research you know if we're interested and concerned about being internationally competitive we've got to file patents in those international countries we're going to file them here we don't have the funds at universities to fund that work it would only be a few billion total across the enterprise but that makes a big difference so there you have it okay jordan over to you i know industry follows a bill like this at every step of the way so over at the chamber how are you guys feeling about these bills and and like i've asked um our other panelists are there areas that where the chamber really wants the conferees to dig in and improve uh on the two products yeah i i think one of the most important things to this process and given um just the necessity to compete internationally we need a bipartisan package and and it's for that reason that we we in industry lean more toward the senate side that version of the legislation uh that was introduced uh why is that why one of the senators well a couple reasons uh first it actually provides the money uh the house version really didn't provide it um and so when you're talking about investing um you know it's that 120 uh you know billion dollars that's going to be invested in those key technology focus areas like artificial intelligence advanced communications uh biotech you need the money there um and also i think as president johnson mentioned you know getting the funding for those um you know regional tech hubs is also going to be key uh we need to make sure that everyone is included uh it's not just uh silicon valley and it's not just uh the east coast that dominate this conversation we want to make sure that the entire country is part of this the chips act is also vital for passage we need to have that to make sure that we can continue to compete but i also think um there there are a lot more partisan pieces that are in the house bill um dealing with things like outbound investment screening uh some areas around the pro act that i don't necessarily think need to be addressed in this bill if we want to get to a bipartisan bill uh i think we need to make sure and the senate bill also had some issues with the country of origin labeling that didn't really have a lot of uh debate as to to what was going into that before it went into euseka but fundamentally speaking we need a bipartisan package uh that also addresses the core issues of research and development and competition and and if we can get rid of the extraneous pieces that are more partisan in nature we need to focus on areas where we all can agree right well we are running out of time uh this has been really great but i want to go around maybe just yes or no and ask like i said because congress hasn't done a lot of these really you know policy heavy conferences other than you know the the national defense authorization act really over the last decade and it is an election year it's a midterm election year um do we think that congress can get this what is now a bipartisan bill to president biden's desk as the jaded journalists in the room who's watched congress closely i'm going to go ahead and say i have my doubts that they can get this done but i just want to get your thoughts before we get out of here jordan what do you think the conference process will probably take at least a few weeks uh the only problem i think we have right now is that we have a calendar that seems to end right before august uh in our election year uh but you know i'm still cautiously optimistic but the calendar is is coming up against us so that's why we're pushing on congress to move quickly definitely dr johnson absolutely i believe in this country i believe in democracy i know they can get it done okay uh dean husband's feeling 100 agreed with president johnson if that's what happened this will get done okay uh optimism uh does not uh it's not it's not a currency that flows in washington these days but i appreciate that you guys are optimistic thank you all so much for your insights and for joining us today next i'm going to give the floor to jenny larae vice president of strategy and communications at research america who will be speaking with dr keith yamamoto vice chancellor for science policy and strategy at university of california san francisco dr suda parikh ceo of the american association for the advancement of science and mary wooley president and ceo of research america to share their insights as board members of the science and technology action committee hi jenny thanks for moderating this discussion today thanks john what a terrific conversation i'm excited to be here with three of the co-chairs and founders of the science technology action committee or stack mary woolley suta parikh and keith yamamoto the world faces unprecedented challenges yet us leadership in science and technology is falling behind is that why you created stack two years ago keith let's start with you well stack highlighted four challenges that are indeed existential uh environment and climate change energy production utilization and storage food and water security and of course public health and health care where pandemic preparedness is one critical element of need only transformative breakthroughs in science and technology will allow us to meet these challenges we called on government to re-energize its commitment to us leadership in science and technology to motivate and enable those breakthroughs thanks keith mary kovet 19 has shined a light on the importance of science that's for sure yet science has too often been taken for granted emerging only in response to a crisis and then retreating to a back burner in terms of priorities but in fact science is more like national defense indeed it is a defense of national health and prosperity and economic growth and it should have the same level of priority in washington year in and year out in fact eight in ten americans across political the political spectrum said in a very recent poll that investing in research is important to economic growth and almost 90 percent said it's important for the us to be a global leader in science and technology the science and technology action committee strongly believes that now is the time to realize those public expectations and drive science and technology forward thanks mary let's hear from you suda thanks jenny you know if you look at the share of our economy that's going to federal science and technology we've been at a dangerously low place for years it's less than one percent less than one percent of gdp compared to double that in the 1960s china is not only catching up many other countries in the world are catching up but china itself has a goal to surpass the united states and that is not good for the us economy for our workforce or for our national security thanks so here's a question the private sector's investment in science and technology has been growing and it's substantial surpassing that of the federal government so what is the government's role in science and technology why do we need both mary let's start with you sure science and technology is after all an ecosystem in which different sectors play complementary and often interlocking roles it's it's three ds if you will of discovery development and delivery the federal government is the first stop for the most part for basic science that's seed corn that's the necessary starting point for innovation thanks mary and keith what are your thoughts mary's right 3d newly discovered knowledge about people and the universe that we inhabit is really the product of the basic research that mary mentioned only government can support and maintain that effort the new knowledge can then be developed by private industry and although it's heartening that industry investment is increasing today's global economy demands that government academia industry partnerships be formed that can de-risk the bold developments needed to address the big challenges thanks keith suda i'm going to turn to you what does stack recommend at this juncture where are the opportunities you know we've got this opportunity we've had an opportunity to enact once in a generation bipartisan policy and that opportunity is coming to us through the competitiveness legislation leadership from both parties and in both chambers have pledged to go to conference and to complete the work this legislation will enable us to better focus on a number of neglected scientific areas and it's also going to bring opportunities to be part of the s t economy to more communities around the country that's incredibly important more communities around the country taking part we're also heartened to see significant increases for the national science foundation and other science agencies in the president's budget it's an important down payment but we're still going to have a long way to go because we're making up for years of neglect and if we fail to step up right now what's at stake keith well at one level we'll lose the opportunity to tap into countless ideas and innovations if we don't attract more people into the science and technology economy we'll lose opportunities to create high quality good-paying jobs and will continue to decline in the face of global competitiveness more broadly the challenges i mentioned at the beginning in health climate food and water and energy threaten our national security our economic and job security our global leadership our everyday lives basically we can't afford to fail mary do you have some thoughts on that thanks jenny yes the science and technology action committee believes that what's at stake is the future in the 20th century the us was the dominant innovative force in the world from the wright brothers to stopping polio and its tracks to apollo to the internet and so much more for all of the reasons shared by my colleagues and our panelists today we simply must not wait any longer to seize the opportunities of the 21st century and meet the challenges and expectations of the public we hope viewers will learn more about stack and have their organizations and companies endorse the plan check out sciencetechaction.org thanks mary and in addition to thanking our viewers and asking them to learn more about stack i think we have another request which is i'm pretty time timely right now thanks jenny uh look as i said this is a once in a generation opportunity and our congressional leaders and the leaders in the administration have shown real leadership in getting us this close this close to the finish line on the competitiveness act and on further appropriations for science and technology so i'd urge all of you to to go to your elected representatives give them the support they need and urge them to uh to pass and complete the competitiveness act to get over the finish line and to ensure that we make that down payment in appropriations suit up mary keith thank you for your vision uh and the work you're doing with stack now i'll turn it over to our moderator john to continue this very timely conversation thank you jenny and thank you dr yamamoto dr parikh and of course thank you mary next up i am pleased to introduce dr sally benson she's deputy director for energy at the white house office of science and technology policy and dr jerry richmond she is under secretary for science and innovation at the department of energy thank you both for joining me today we've heard a lot about the china competition bills and i want to get to that in a moment uh but i want to start with getting the administration's perspective on the major uh challenges right now in the stem sector we've heard from industry we've heard from academia um and we'll hear from capitol hill in a moment but i wanted to to kind of walk through the administration's policies of course it's budget week uh president biden's what some call first real budget for a new administration is the second budget uh that was released monday what are the priorities uh right now and and why do you need what do you want to get done beyond the china bill and the appropriations process as as this fiscal year uh uh heads to an end uh in in september and i want to start dr benson kick us off sure well uh thank you very much john it's a real pleasure to be here um i want to start off focusing on on stem and stem education um i come from a university that you know has a broad set of options for students and you know what we're starting to see is that you know there's this massive movement towards computing science as sort of the you know stem uh stem option of choice and you know computing science is great uh and computing science is not only great in and of itself but it actually has uh effects you know throughout you know the entire economy so there are many ways to do that but what we need to be able to do is to have students realize that there's a much broader diversity of choices uh available you know i think about you know things like the earth sciences material sciences chemistry and so forth and and it's and what we see is that it's not really clear to these young students high school students incoming college students what the job choices are in america if you pursue that so so we really need to do some work in that regard as you'll make it clearer if you start here here's where you can go the other thing is is that students you know fantastically they're really passionate about the the work they do and many of them are motivated with two things one is you you know want to have a good career you want to make enough money to support a good lifestyle but many of them are passionate for making a difference and and again that sort of gets back to you knows how do you articulate the case that if you major in chemistry you know you can have a big impact on climate change or the environment and and again that's that's not clear enough and and then finally you know i work in energy that's um that's my world and and one of the things that's always surprising to me is that connection between um climate solutions and energy is not really clear to people so i think that the government you know i think that we just have to get out the work if you want to solve the climate problem eighty percent of that is solving the energy problem and and and how do you solve the energy problem when you do stem fields you you know you can you can do almost anything it could be any field of engineering any of the of the basic physical sciences biological sciences doesn't matter you can help transform the energy system which is really the grand challenge i think for the 21st century um so that's sort of one challenge i'll just say a couple more things um in retaining and we educate a lot of people in masters phds actually you know there's a huge investment that most graduate degrees are are funded because the students are doing research as part of their studies and again what we see is a lot of attrition people will finish a stem degree and and get again frustrated they don't really see the direct path to impact and so what i see is a lot of people shifting to say oh well i want to walk work on policy because i can take my stem knowledge and focus on policy and that's a faster way to solve the you know pressing problems that people are feeling so so i you know when i think about this i think it's really a symptom of a broader sort of a broken innovation ecosystem you know in in the united states if we look at sort of the miracle that's occurring today where wind and solar and batteries and evs you know and these are like the cheapest forms of energy and you know battery prices have been slashed and so forth well where were all those invented those were invented in america right you know in the in the 1950s we had for solar panel belt labs i mean on and on and on all these things were you know invented here but we didn't go on and commercialize them right so they ended up being commercialized all over the world and there you start setting up outside america this virtuous cycle of learning and doing and reinventing and so students leaving college you know aren't seeing that there are these great jobs for them in doing what their passions would would have them pursue so i think if we can fix that whole cycle then then we can get back where people are gonna you know vote with their feet and you know stay in the stem field so i think it's a complicated set of issues i think they're all solvable and i think the administration you know through its strong emphasis on rebuilding energy supply chains is you know doing exactly what we need to do and then i think that's a good start i'll stop there okay we yeah we've heard a lot uh during this event about the workforce and the challenges and some of the um the things that that both congress and the administration are doing and uh dr richmond i wanted you to pick up there and kind of list your top challenges and and what you see the administration uh doing uh to get at those well in terms of the let me focus first on the workforce building on what uh sally has just articulated so well and what really concerns me is that is that we're under uh investing in education at all levels in stem fields but but it's not just colleges and universities it's community colleges also and i am concerned about the fact that a lot of the the people that are going to be driving this engine with regards to fundamental research that's so necessary to development to deployment um those are the ones that are getting masters and phds in science and right now we pay them minimum wage to go to to do the research that's the underpinnings of all the things that we want so we've got to have enough resources to be able to pay them uh a wage so that they can actually uh have a family while they're in graduate school while they can actually start saving some money as they go further and we know from research that we lose more women and underrepresented groups than certainly our majority groups partly because they can't financially afford to do it and can't afford to do that anymore but you know beyond that we at the department of energy uh are firmly committed to helping to build that workforce but we also believe that competitiveness legislation like the bipartisan innovation act is critical to tackle as sally mentioned the supply chain disruptions and the inflation head-on and lower prices for the middle class so it means more in america and investments in domestic manufacturing and our economic strength so that we can now compete china and the rest of the world and build a more resilient economy to avoid the kind of shocks that we've seen recently in the last uh several weeks and so we truly believe that what we're on now in the department of energy with this new uh build out that we have now in deployment that we are uniquely poised to work on and make critical uh investments as well as critical knowledge in going all the way from discovery basic science to applications to development and to deployment and we've got some phenomenal national labs to help us do that as well as the folks at the universities that sally and i are so used to being around right well uh dive into what i think has been one of the main themes of the event so far and that is the the two china competition bills that that the house and senate passed the senate of course acting this week setting up a conference committee uh and as i said on a previous panel we'll see if congress remembers how to do one of these uh conference committees outside of you know maybe the national defense authorization act which um november and december they uh they come back to and and push that through at the end of the year but we haven't seen you know a big sprawling policy bill there of course they're spending in here too um we heard from the chamber saying that in the house bill you know not all the money's there but the senate bill provides it that's the kind of uh difference that the house uh and senate conference committee will have to tackle in coming weeks we don't even have conferees yet uh we heard uh from our friend at the chamber who mentioned uh the legislative calendar you know it's a long time between here and election day but you know they're going on recess after next week memorial day recess july 4 3 says august recess then they have to come back keep the government funded while they go run for reelection so the legislative calendar is truncated um and i just want to talk about i want to put you guys on the spot i know the administration has a skin in the game here i definitely want to get a build of the president's desk and have him sign it into law but because congress hasn't done this in a while uh not successfully in a while what can the administration do to help the conferees you know once they get organized and start their work of trying to find a compromise because there are some big differences in the bills what can the administration do uh dr richmond how about you go first well i think it's really important uh and the administration is certainly working hard on this is really to get across the idea of how critically important this is right now right now we are at a critical point whether it be having to do with covid or whether it has to do with the fact or chips or or uh also our key issue is climate change right and so we have to do this now we are primed to have with our resources certainly in the department of energy to move fast but we've got to have the resources to do that so for example in the chips area we know that we need to do to have warships in this country but we also know we need to be on the forefront of developing new ones and so that means we need to have the capabilities to to to do that and then the department of energy i don't think a lot of people realize it but our doe light source facilities are actually critical to that and they're already built they're already built you know we're no longer in microelectronics we are in nano electronics and to be able to understand for companies to be able to come in and use our facilities and be able to to see how good their etch is if we call it that and how well these these semiconductors work they've got to have one of our big light sources sort of like the size of a huge arena and you can't just build those overnight but they're alright they're ready to go so it's important for congress to realize we have assets now that with the funding we could really move a lot faster on key issues that we need to address in this country right and and dr benson what can they i'm here oh yeah dr vincent i just wanted to to get your perspective what can your office do to help the countries along once they get organized and start trying to hammer these bills into one yeah so we focus on innovation you know that's our seat at the table and and you know energy innovation i i think is something that we can all agree on that it helps our economy it helps our national security it helps our energy security it helps our competitiveness and it helps our environment so you know this is something that absolutely checks all boxes and if we do it right it can also make energy much more affordable so i think we need to keep banging the drum that you know make the case that this is this is good for america and you know we look over the next 30 years you know if you lift the hood on the energy system 30 years from now it's going to look radically different than the way it looks today and this is the biggest opportunity i think of a generation to reinvest in becoming the world leaders and you know yes we're great at inventing things but we can't stop there we have to invest in building it here in america we have to we have to become exports and you know just looking at one technology that that you know we just had a white house summit on on fusion energy and uh you might be saying what fusion energy but you know it's actually remarkable the department of energy scientists have you know made major breakthroughs in this technology and and if we sprint and i think we can all agree that if we bring our forces together we can sprint across the the finish line and the private sector is also eager to participate you know they're investing billions of dollars just last year alone in trying to make it so america's first and we become the leaders in this absolutely game-changing technology that will put us on a firm footing for the rest of the 21st century you mentioned participation easy for me to say and i'm just curious you know the president's uh busy uh of course the conflict in ukraine and uh still fighting against covet and inflation he's got a lot on his plate but he has talked about uh these china competition bills and the need to get a bill to his desk will we see him lean in a little bit as the conferees uh get to work and and not so much put pressure on them but will he talk publicly about the importance of of getting a compromise well i i can say he's the president who loves science and who loves innovation and is doing more than we've seen in in an enormous amount of time to rebuild the foundations of you know the american economy using using energy and climate change as one of those springboards so i i think we can be certain of that okay i think we had a little technical blip there apologies uh to the audience but uh we are we're back enrolling here i also wanted to get into uh there's been some some mentions off and on during the event of clean energy and research and development in the clean energy space uh dr richmond and then dr benson uh talk a little bit about how the administration is is trying to speed up research in the clean energy space and you know what what uh what the private sector can do to help what the universities can do to help and and just overall kind of really give this a a jolt well the uh we here at the department of energy we got the big jolt with the infrastructure uh bill which allows us now to make all these discoveries and take them further and so what's really uh you know what's really important for us is to make sure that we get that going faster and that's why the the bill is so important and so we are really focused i mean we are as the secretary of energy says we are the solutions agency you know we have capabilities to go all from the discovery applied develop all the way and the way industry can get involved is to tell us exactly what they need come and collaborate with us so that we can understand the kind of developments that can help them i want to piggyback on something that sally just said and that is fusion so you know uh in order to get to this point where we can start to sprint it took 40 years of very fundamental physics that most people would consider to be really esoteric but it is not it's what we've needed to to be able to now sprint on fusion so it it really is a fabulous example how putting money into basic research for us in the office of science is so critical because those discoveries uh are what fuel the engine to get us all the way down the road and it's not like a relay race because that fundamental science has to be embedded all the way through the system when somebody in deployment realizes it's a problem so we're just all on it with regards to a number of earth shots three earth shots so far and these are really taking on the biggest challenges that we've had uh with regards to uh clean energy okay dr benson you mentioned your office is the innovation office so you know what are you guys working on um in this space in the clean energy space to again you know give it a jolt or further jolt and and take it to the next level so so we're focused on identifying these game changers that it's if successful they'll make a big difference so you've heard about fusion of course things like advanced nuclear reactors hydrogen electro fuels this idea you could capture carbon dioxide from the air and then take clean energy and literally make a fuel by and a carbon neutral fuel so that's a big priority uh very long duration energy storage so seasonal energy storage uh also carbon removal you know it's likely that there's going to be some emissions that we simply can't get rid of but we can spread them from the atmosphere and capture them and put them back underground or turn them into rocks or something like that so those are the kind of priorities that we're focused on okay great yeah i remember the president at the ford plant in the in the electric pickup truck um i think as an aide put it to me uh driving like a bat out of hell so i know this is uh this is important to the president um where we've got about a minute and a half left uh with you folks and i also wanted to to talk about the importance of not just focusing on on on the east coast and the west coast for innovation and research uh that's something that i know has bipartisan support um and and and and congress is working on that i know the administration to stress that talk a little bit about the challenge of doing that and using the federal funding and scattering it more across flyover country or the southwest or or down south uh dr benson could you uh go first yeah gosh you know i just don't see that as a challenge i see it as a massive opportunity and again you know going back to energy i mean every part of the country has a different set of energy resources a different workforce a different set of preferences about the solutions that they think will work best for them you know where better to to invent and those and deploy those than all across the country i think that actually universities are little crucibles for climate solutions you know you've got a passionate group of young people you've got faculty this is the place to bring all these disparate ideas and opinions together and and really get on with solving the problem and in the course of doing that provide an example for for communities and regions and states and so forth so i think it's imperative let's do it uh dr richmond you get the final word uh about the importance of spreading uh spreading the funding out oh it's critically important and that's why uh we've already started programs to get into tribal communities as well as more rural areas and weatherization and other issues like that it's critically important and we're there because we've got our national labs all over the country and they're spreading out their influence around the region too so thank you gotcha gotcha well thank you dr benson thank you dr richman for joining us we really appreciate your insights today great thank you yeah thank you john to wrap up today's program i'd like to welcome representative frank lucas the congressman represents oklahoma's third district and he is the ranking member of the science the house science space and technology committee congressman lucas welcome and thank you for joining us it's good to be with you john and being in the minority in the united states house i'm kind of the conscience of this process the senate does things their own unique way we in the house do our things in our own unique way and um this is going to be an amazing conference process well i want to just dive right in because there's so much to talk about uh with these two bills i i wanted to ask though i know when when the house version that that eventually passed was released um despite what this what speaker pelosi says it was in the middle of the night because i got up early the next day and here was this sprawling bill that was that china competition plus as we called it internally in our office for a little while um do you still i know you were frustrated after how that was handled do you still feel that frustration do you feel are do you worry that that frustration could bleed into the conference and and and maybe the compromise isn't as easy as it would have been otherwise first let me say john chairwoman johnson and i worked very hard to prepare a package of 10 bills to improve in competitiveness 10 bills that passed in bipartisan ways out of committee everything from reauthorizing the national science foundation to reauthorizing the programs department energy research to nist to a variety of things and we saw our work product well it wasn't ignored but let's just say it wasn't the way that it was put together somewhere in the leadership structure now we're about to go to conference this is an opportunity for the legislative body to work its will to come up with a really good long-standing product i'm an old ag committee chairman we do a farm bill every five years we do it in a bipartisan way we do it both chambers and we ultimately get it signed into law i'm a veteran of this knuckle dragging knock down drag out political kind of stuff right i think we're in good position in the house and we're ready to go matter of fact later today i think we'll see a votes that will start the process towards a conference and we in the house we're fired up we're enthusiastic heard varying uh uh predictions uh earlier in the in this event about you know whether you guys remember how to do this you make a very good point about the your uh agriculture chairmanship and doing the farm bill do you do you think you can get there do you think you will get there and get a bill to the president's desk yes john if you look at the things that that we are ready to accomplish and ultimately you've got to have a strategic bipartisan bill that'll pass both chambers be signed by the president that means focusing on areas of broad agreement in basic research and competitiveness if we'll do that if our senate colleagues will work with us in that regard if leadership in the majority will allow house members to be a part of that process then i think we can get there there's a lot of things john's we already agree on the 42 billion dollars uh allocation towards the chip act which was authorized in ndaa we all agree we have to get back in the basic manufacturing of this critical component we all agree we need to invest more in the national science foundation and to create a new tech directorate to improve to help improve use inspired research we need to invest more in the department of energy now john in fairness there are some other areas much to my regret in the house the majority's not chosen to move forward to nasa reauthorization and that's a part of the senate bill so we'll have to work our way through that how we invest in the national science foundation again we pass the full authorization in the house for both nsf and doe i think we provide guidance and focus and i would argue where some people say perhaps we didn't spend enough money in the house if you look at what we reauthorize over the next five years we propose to double the spending at the national science foundation to 78 billion double the spending at the department of energy research programs to 50 billion double the nist spending to 7 billion our perspective in the house was they could only absorb and utilize so much money efficiently this is a town where when something becomes a cool idea people want to throw everything imaginable at it that's not the way you manage resources to maximum possible return so right i think we can make it happen it's going to be hard i hope leadership on both sides of the building we'll let this conference committee do its work i know we can work in a bipartisan way on the on the house side of the equation and science committee if we're allowed to but there are also several other committees that have pieces of this pie too john this is going to be a great big old conference committee if we have forma