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Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop II PROCEEDINGS
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Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop Welcome Bruce Alberts National Academy of Sciences Dr. Alberts opened the proceedings with a welcome and a brief introduction to the three Academies: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The three institutions have a total of some 5,000 members. The operating arm of the entity, formed during World War I, is the National Research Council. The combined Academies produce more than one report every working day, most of them for the federal government. Noting the breadth of the response by the Academies to the September 11 attacks, he singled out the “rather heroic effort” on the part of some 160 volunteers who produced a major report released late in June 2002, titled Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism.1 That study was initiated in the same room as the current workshop was being held, on September 26, when some 35 scientists and security experts gathered to recommend how the Academies could contribute to the “new, changed world.” That gathering, he said, led to the current workshop, as well as “at least 50 others underway currently, attempting to bring the great strength of science and technology in this nation to bear on protecting the United States.” He noted that he had just returned from a week in Uganda, which prompted him to emphasize that terrorism is a worldwide problem. He reported that science 1 National Research Council, Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism, Lewis M. Branscomb and Richard D. Klausner, eds., Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press, 2002.
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Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop and technology in the United States was highly respected around the world, and that he had received “undue” praise for it while abroad. Scientists and engineers, he said, can have a profound and beneficial effect around the world by strengthening the scientific capacity of other nations. He mentioned a major effort of the National Academies to “help develop in every nation the kind of capability that scientists have in this nation to advise their governments both on what we call policy for science—how to make science effective for meeting national needs—and science for policy—how to make wise decisions about the environment, water, health, and the future. “All those decisions need to be made at the national level,” he said. “They can’t be made unless there are strong institutions connected to government, yet independent from government, like this one.” He suggested that one of the major missions of the Academies was to “spread more rationality throughout the world through science and technology.”
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Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop Introduction William Spencer International SEMATECH Dr. Spencer said that his last job had been as chairman of SEMATECH, which seemed “almost a lifetime ago now.” He noted his pleasure in serving over the last four years as the vice-chair of the STEP study of public-private partnerships, which has included partnerships spanning the sectors of industry, government, and academia. The purpose of initiating the current study, he said, was to examine functioning partnerships and extract lessons about how such partnerships might be strengthened. He noted that at the outset of the study, he had tried to learn when the first such partnership had occurred in history, and had found, to his surprise, that “they have probably been around since before history.” He said that a historian of technology had posited the likely scenario of an early human ancestor who could make stone tools more effectively than the others of his tribe, and therefore received a share of the hunt even though he did not participate. In view of the long history of partnerships, therefore, the STEP Board had not tried to determine whether they should or should not exist; the Board simply accepted that they do exist in many forms and for many functions. Nor did the board try to compare partnerships according to degree of success, either in the United States or abroad. Dr. Spencer said that after 10 years at SEMATECH, he had learned that determining whether a consortium or partnership is “successful” is difficult to do. Instead, the study group chose to try to understand what kinds of activities had been supported by partnerships, and which of those had achieved their objectives. They examined different kinds of partnerships, including consortia, com-
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Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop petitive awards to innovative small firms, and relationships in science and technology clusters. He noted that he had just visited the new science park outside Sandia Laboratories in New Mexico, which features many public-private partnerships, and that it was showing substantial growth and accumulation of new companies even in the face of a subdued national economy. He said that he would go over some of the main lessons he had absorbed during the time of the group’s study, and cautioned that these lessons were “highly influenced by the time I spent at SEMATECH, as well as what the STEP board learned from our meetings.” He noted that the study, which focused on current and proposed partnerships, had held about a dozen and a half major symposia and workshops, and had produced eleven reports over the past four years. In one study he cited, STEP examined a difference in the way R&D in the biotech and pharmaceutical areas is funded, as opposed to the way R&D in the computer area is funded. He said that the lesson there, on which the participants at the meeting agreed by consensus, was that funding for the physical sciences was essential for continued advances in health sciences and life sciences. “I was pleased to see that the President’s science advisory council has picked that up and is proposing a significant increase in physical sciences.” He said that the advances in our life and health science programs would likely slow without new instrumentation, better measurement techniques, and sophisticated light sources, such as those produced at Lawrence Berkeley lab and Argonne National Laboratory, where it is possible to study the crystals of complex proteins. A second study he described as significant was a comparative examination of partnerships in Japan, Taiwan, Europe, and the United States in the semiconductor and electronics industries. The group had begun its study with the help of “a small paper by Kenneth Flamm, about partnerships in Japan 5 or 6 years previously,” and extended that study to the semiconductor industry of Taiwan and China and the many partnerships in electronics in Europe. Lessons from the STEP studies From those studies, he said, the group had learned several lessons. The first was that in a partnership between government and industry, it is essential to have a clear and measurable set of objectives. “If you don’t know where you’re going,” he said, “almost any direction will get you there.” These objectives need to be established, measured, and then reported on regularly. He also said that the objectives should be focused as closely as possible on generic or precompetitive work rather than on products for the commercial market. “We absolutely stayed out of products and any processes for products at SEMATECH,” he said, “and I believe that consortia or partnerships with government to develop products are not going to work.” A second lesson, he said, was that even though those objectives need to be set and measured, the group found it was necessary to maintain flexibility. When
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Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop SEMATECH began, in 1987 and 1988, there was a strong belief that the founders of the consortium were primarily trying to renew semiconductor memory capability in the United States. That was not the explicit goal, said Dr. Spencer, but even so, the consortium was able to make major changes within 2 years of it’s start, which resulted in contributions to the health of the industry as a whole. He added that the consortium quickly found that it needed a clear roadmap of where it was going, a practice that has been adopted over the last 10 years, not only by the semiconductor industry but now by many other organizations. A third lesson was that a partnership needs to be led by the very best people in the industry. In the case of SEMATECH, he said, that was true “from the top of the company down to the people who worked in the consortium. Quality leadership and quality people participating is a rule that needs to be followed.” He then borrowed a mathematical expression to say that these conditions were necessary but not sufficient to bring positive change. “I don’t know of a close set of sufficient conditions we could write down,” he said, “that would ensure that a partnership will succeed.” These lessons need to be followed, he said, but doing so does not guarantee success. He closed by praising the commitment and capacity of the steering committee, which he described as “extraordinary even by NRC standards,” and the staff, noting that the present workshop would be the last of this particular series of meetings on government-industry partnerships.
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