Back to the Future: The Increasing Importance of the States in Setting the Research Agenda

Wednesday, April 11th, 2001
Larry Smarr
4:00 pm

Auditorium, College of Law

504 East Pennsylvania Champaign

Event Description

After a fifty year period of a global war, our country is readjusting to a global economic competition.  During the wartime, the federal government assumed a very strong central role in the initiation of research topics in science and engineering.  In the last few years, there seems to be a major movement for the states to have a much stronger voice in choosing research directions.  In particular, states and universities are increasingly creating major research programs that focus on the needs of the future economy of the state and on the betterment of the quality of life of its citizens.  The federal government's role is moving toward supporting long term high-risk innovation and research in universities.  I will illustrate this phenomenon by working through two examples that I have been intimately involved in recently:  The President's Information Technology Advisory Committee and the formation of the new California Institutes for Science and Innovation.  I believe that this rising importance of the state role is a revalidation of the original concepts involved in the creation of the Land Grant universities.

Larry Smarr

Director, California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology