these models rather than a search for new ones. “We tend to forget where some of the nurturing of small firms comes from. It comes from proven and existing mechanisms that help us do things quickly, without using exorbitant sums of money. This is easier and more effective when you have mechanisms already in place. You might be able to design a better mechanism, but that would take years, and may not be better after all.”
A key question for any country, said Dr. Wessner, is “how to keep the industry we have and generate new industries in the future.” Something that is seldom discussed in Washington, he said, is “the fierce locational competition for the industries of today and tomorrow.” It should not be solely the concern of lobbyists to support industries and create an attractive environment, he said, because industry is essential for the growth of the country as a whole. One way to do that, he said, is to bring together the tremendous assets of the research universities of the United States, the vibrant industrial structure, and an “informed and activist government with the funds necessary to help us cooperate.”
He suggested that the field of photovoltaics—the topic of the symposium—could benefit from such collaboration, as have semiconductors and other fields in the past, and that the symposium attendees were well qualified to contribute to both a stronger policy framework and practical steps needed to forge collaborations at many levels. He thanked, in particular, Clark McFadden, an attorney who had helped lay the groundwork for photovoltaics consortia, and John Lushetsky of the Department of Energy, whose department led the way in support of the symposium.