State of the Institute Talk

Tomorrow’s regular Monday seminar here at Krasnow is my annual report on the state of the institute. To telegraph, we face four main challenges going forward:

First, we have to position the Institute to adapt to what will surely be a changing federal R&D environment in the near future.

Second, we need to build on our critical mass of tenure-line faculty members. Both of our academic departments need to grow to adequately support their programs and to use our new research infrastructure effectively.

Third, we need to think internationally, both in terms of future scientific collaborations, but also in terms of funding of our scientific research.

And finally, we need to continue to actively fund raise from our stakeholders and donors to support Phase III and the synergies that will come from having all of our faculty, students and staff under one roof.

I’m looking forward to my talk…

Some thoughts on the debt crisis

First, I think the consequences for US science, were the US to default and possibly even if Congress and the President reach a deal, will be negative. In macro terms, I see Federal R&D on a downward glide slope that may well turn into a dive.

Second, I think the combination of the US debt crisis and the European sovereign debt melt down are potentially devastating to the entire global science enterprise. Asia is not yet at the point where the massive western science infrastructure is not needed to push ahead.

Third, with regards to the US, the solutions being put forward by both sides are so constrained by the size of the entitlement problem, there is no scenario that I can see where we don’t eat our seed corn.

To give loyal readers a sense of what the future might look like, we might look to the example of Soviet science after the collapse of the USSR in 1989. Not good.