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IV The Future Challenges and Expectations

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Challenges of a Technologically Competitive World: A Vision of the Year 2000 JAMES BRIAN QUINN The year 2000, which looked so distant for so long, is now practically upon us. In fact, the work the Engineering Research Centers start this year will be exploited mostly after the year 2000. What trends and chal- lenges are likely to continue throughout that time? What are the most likely implications for the Centers? Technology and history are so full of surprises that I will not attempt any precise estimates of future states of the art. Instead, I will attempt some surprise-free comments about the future. One should not be seriously surprised if trends already existing create the results predicted (Kahn and Wiener, 1967~. Of course, unex- pected major events a war, political upheaval, or unforeseen accident- could change the picture enormously. WORLD POPULATION AND WEALTH The world's population is expected to be about 6.2 billion people in the year 2000, with almost all the growth occurring in developing countries (Figure 11. This growth in population to 1.4 billion people more than we have today is greater than the current population of China. Yet this growth is only a point in a continuum toward a likely population of 8 billion people a few decades later. Growth in world gross national product (GNP) has fallen from the annual 5% per year enjoyed through the mid- 1970s, yet even the currently expected growth rates of 2.7% to 3.5% (Frisch, 1983) have formidable consequences. By the year 2000 real wealth should be 50% to 66% above 1985 levels. Recent spurts in wealth and productivity gains in the Asian rim, China (which has shown productivity 139

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BIRTH AND DEATH RATES, 1950-1980 1 CRUDE RATE (per thousand) 40 30 20 10 ~ Births _ 1 _ I .. __ Developing ~ countries Deaths ~ 1 1 1 1 / 140 CHALLENGES OF A TECHNOLOGICALLY COMPETITIVE WORLD gains of 7% to 8~o per year in both agriculture and industry since 1978), and other developing countries suggest the possibility of even higher gains (The Economist, 1984). Worldcasts and the World Energy Conference estimate a world GNP of about $17.7 trillion (in 1983 dollars) for the year 2000, representing a world market of $7.8 trillion (in 1983 dollars) beyond today's levels (World Bank, 1985). Wealth per capita is expected 11 _ 10 40 _ 9 Developed I 30 countries I _ 8 20 ~I _ 7 0 10 ~:i6 o 1 1 1 1 1 ~ 1950 960 1970 19BO1990 ~00 1950 1960 1970 1980 199 1 1 5 ~ CRUDE RATE I (per thousand) I Total world population I Developed / countries' \ / population ~, _ rat - , A.D.1 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 FIGURE 1 Past and projected world population, A.D. 1-2150. 4

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JAMES BRIAN QUINN 560 540 520 _ ~ x 480 In ' 460 - z 440 o ~ 420 0 400 380 360 340 D:: Actual production _q ~ Prorl''~ti~n triter] Population trend 320 ~1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1962 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 YEAR FIGURE 2 Food production in developing countries. 141 to rise in real terms from today's $2,000 to between $2,600 and $3,200 by the year 2000 (Frisch, 19831. A key question is whether this wealth will be further concentrated in the developed countries or reasonably distributed among developing countries. Two kinds of technologies food and energy will play principal roles in determining this outcome and other competitive patterns in the world. FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGIES 1 Among the great forces affecting international competition will be food and agriculture technologies. There have often been dire predictions about future world food supplies. Television constantly reminds us of the tragic pockets of hunger in the world today. Yet world food production per capita has actually been greater than ever before in both developed and devel- oping countries (Figure 21. The much-maligned "green revolution" has brought important relief to many areas of the world with the development of dwarfed and higher-yield crops, but often at the cost of significantly increased energy and chemical requirements for the land. Diffusion of these technologies will continue to offer productivity increases until the next decade, when advanced biotechnologies are expected to offer even greater potential through higher-yield varieties, improved pest resistance, and better adaptability to saline or low-moisture conditions.

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142 CHALLENGES OF A TECHNOLOGICALLY COMPETITIVE WORLD Some experts have estimated that with known technologies the world could feed twice its estimated population of 6.2 billion in the year 2000, and that developing counties could produce two to three times as much food as they do today (Revelle, 1976~. For example, pest control could provide enormous gains. Today almost half of all crops produced are destroyed by pests (David Pimentel, personal communication, 1983~. Sadly, agricultural technologists know what to do about many of these problems, including the soil destruction that is increasingly moving farms onto ever more marginal lands. Application of known, low-cost technologies such as soil retaining, low tillage, crop cycling, scheduling, land-use planning, and storage could preserve valuable lands, control many pests, and increase usable foods dramatically. Unfortunately, applying more advanced chem- ical technologies to increase production to the level of developed counties may require capital, energy resources, and technical knowledge that are not always immediately available in the countries that need them most. Getting these resources to where human needs are greatest will be one of the strongest issues, creating potential alliances and conflicts among na- tions for the next two decades. TABLE 1 Urban vs. Rural Population Growth in Developing Countries Average Annual Percentage of Population Growth, 1980-2000 Income Category UrbanRural Low income Asia (excluding China) 4.20.9 India 4.21.1 Africa 5.81.5 Middle income East Asia and Pacific 3.10.9 Middle East and North Africa 4.31.6 Sub-Sahara 2.91.7 Latin America 2.90.4 Southern Europe 2.9- 0.2 All developing countries (excluding China) 3.51.1 SOURCE: World Bank (1985).

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JAMES BRIAN QUINN TABLE 2 Trends in Exports from Developing Counmes Value of Exports In Billions of Dollars 143 Commodity 1965 1982 Annual Growth Rate (Percentage) Manufacturers 7.1 134.6 21.7 Food 13.3 74.8 12.2 Metals and minerals 4.5 26.9 12.6 Fuels 7.3 165.1 23.1 SOURCE: World Bank (1985). MORE INTENSE LABOR COMPETITION Certain patterns and consequences of the improvement of food tech- nologies are likely in the near future. While some countries will undoubt- edly be plagued by drought and impossible incentive and distribution structures, most countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will have farm surpluses that are genuine po- litical problems. U.S. farmlands are being abandoned or sold under dis- tressed terms because of high interest rates and the government's refusal to support production at prices higher than those of the world's increasingly competitive markets. U.S. agriculture, which provided the greatest U.S. net export balance about $20 billion in 1983, may be on its way to becoming only a "residual source" for world markets, with corresponding negative effects on the U.S. trade balances needed to buy energy and raw materials. Most important, however, in many developing countries about 70 percent of the population has traditionally been employed on farms (Food Policy, 19841. Increased agricultural productivity is allowing people to move to cities in unprecedented numbers, creating megalopolises of tens of millions of people, with corresponding huge labor forces that must be employed in nonagricultural tasks (Table 1) (dining, 19851. These people provide a tremendous pool of cheap labor, which can manufacture with known technologies at very low costs. Cheap labor has begun to change the trade balances of developing countries toward manufacturers (Table 2), and throughout the foreseeable future will create relentless downward pressures on the price of manufactured goods in international trade. Even U.S. agriculture is threatened by imported processed foods (like frozen orange juice from Brazil). TECHNOLOGY AND CAPITAL TRANSFERS Each emerging country will urgently seek new ways to form capital through involvement in the more highly value-added industries. U.S.

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144 CHALLENGES OF A TECHNOLOGICALLY COMPETITIVE WORLD companies will increasingly seek to produce and source abroad, and capital will certainly be available to those who do so. World capital markets will be ever more closely linked by these ventures through the instant access offered by electronics technologies, and through new worldwide invest- ment and banking structures that exploit these technologies' potentials (The Economist, 1985c). With a few exceptions, as in Japan, cost ad- vantages resulting from capital availability will be hard to maintain. Given the increased rapidity with which technologies have crossed bor- ders (Vernon and Davidson, 1979), permanent technological advantages will be ever more difficult for any single company or country to maintain. The only feasible bases for greater long-term comparative wealth in the United States will be continuous technological and management innova- tion, more rapid productivity increases in all sectors, and better systems and incentive structures that will encourage U.S. industries to create and adopt new problem solutions. These considerations will be central to the success of the Engineering Research Centers. ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES For years the United States based its industrial strength in part on cheap energy and raw materials. Now our relative position with regard to these resources is not so attractive. Although the country enjoys great total resources, these have become marginally more expensive than foreign sources. Despite concerns expressed in the 1970s about limited energy and mineral reserves, the world is slowly recognizing that its ultimately exploitable fossil energy supplies are very extensive, and that its raw materials may be substituted for each other almost without limit, based on their relative prices (Simon, 1981~. The Electric Power Research In- stitute (1981) estimates in its review of world hydrocarbon resources that vast amounts of oil and its substitutes (the equivalent of 7 to 11 trillion barrels, less energy for development and refining) could be available in the very long run with proper combinations of prices and technologies. Although new non-fossil-fuel technologies (and increasing environmental and investment costs for fossil fuels) may mean that most of these hy- drocarbon resources are never used, fossil fuels will undoubtedly predom- inate for the next two decades. The important questions are, at what prices and from what sources? High Replacement Costs Although energy costs have temporarily dropped for the United States, this is not true for much of the rest of the world, which has to buy oil in

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JAMES BRIAN QUINN 145 dollars (The Economist, 1985a). Developing countries will use more en- ergy per capita as they industrialize. Replacement costs are likely to rise steadily until new synthetic fossil or high-technology approaches are well established. Many replacement sources lie in remote locations and will require investments of many trillions of dollars for development and ex- ploitation over the next 15 years. To the extent that these investments are made in less developed countries, they can provide strong forces driving those nations' economic growth and emergence as attractive world markets and suppliers of other goods. Few people expect fossil fuels to be as inexpensive as they were in the 1960s; the pressures of politics and replacement costs hold prices up too powerfully. Although we have effected some permanent savings from installed insulation and redesigned engines, it will be interesting to see whether energy growth rates move back toward their pre-1973 values, which were greater than 4 percent, as market forces reassert themselves and energy prices drift toward levels of marginal substitution for other products similar to the levels seen in the early to middle 1970s. The popularity of low-set thermostats, small cars, and slower speeds has al- ready waned rapidly in the United States and OECD countries. A contin- uing challenge in industrial design will be properly evaluating trade-offs between energy and other costs, including energy-related externalities like acid rain and deposition, polluted groundwaters, and injuries to those most heavily exposed to toxic by-products of energy production and use. Other Developing Alternatives By the year 2000 the world will probably have proof of several other large-scale systems offering truly permanent energy access. At Creys Malville, France should have proved continuous breeder reactor opera- tions-if not their economics-on a commercial scale. Although formi- dable technical problems remain, U.S., Japanese, European, and Russian fusion power programs still seek to surpass Lawson's criterion (energy break-even) within the next decade (Clarke, 1981~. The constantly im- proving field of solar voltaics-a young $180-million business in 1984 (The Economist, 1985b) is another developing alternative. But neither of these will significantly affect energy supplies by the year 2000. Once proved at commercial scales, however, these technologies could offer a long-term prospect, characterized by relatively stable energy costs and fewer environmental problems. More important, they could redefine the very nature, scale, location, and availability of the raw material resources of the world and thus the longer-term wealth potentials of many now- developing areas.

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146 CHALLENGES OF A TECHNOLOGICALLY COMPETITIVE WON NEW STRATEGIES FOR THE AMERICAN ECONOMY Assuming that major trends in these two most important technology areas-foods and energy- develop in the noncatastrophic fashion sug- gested, what is a likely scenario for U. S. . and world industry over the next several decades? While we must assume that the United States and other advanced countries will be increasingly dominated by their service sectors (Figure 3), we must also remember that "services" include many high- technology industries that do not happen to produce a tangible "product": airlines, utilities, communications, retailing, wholesaling, healthcare, banking, insurance, financial services, and others that are very technology- intensive and need continual infusions of engineering science and exper- tise. It is difficult to maintain reasonable trade balances, however, solely by exporting services. There will probably be strong pressures to maintain at least a 20 percent employment presence in manufacturing. Solely for reasons of national security, it seems likely that at least viable steel, chemicals, ground transport, aircraft, electronics, domestic energy, and ship-building capabilities must be maintained, by government subsidies if necessary (Quinn, 19834. Other industries that will have to remain internationally competitive must squarely face the problems outlined above: how to compete with some companies (like the Japanese firms) that may have half the capital costs, with others (like those in developing countries) that have a tenth or twentieth of the labor costs, and with still others that have especially low-cost raw materials in addition to low labor costs. 70 68 z 66 ~ 64 on 62 ~ 60 I 58 -> 56 . 54 a: o 52 in 50 o <~' 48 ~ 46 cot 44 cr: `~ 42 404 38 - o - - United Kingdom France United States Japan ;;=; ,' ~ ~ r I I I I I 1960 1965 1970 1975 YEAR 1980 1981 1982 FIGURE 3 Distribution of employment in service industries.

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JAMES BRIAN QUINN 147 There are few easy answers. Strategies must fall back on what the United States can do best: exploit its extraordinarily rich and varied scientific base; get closer to its own customers in the largest, wealthiest market in the world; relate sciences, technologies, and customer needs to the search for new solutions with higher total value added; and exploit the country's entrepreneurial capabilities and flexible capital structures, which have been the envy of the world. All these strategies require continuous innovation, not just in products, processes, and system technologies, but also in the use of smaller, more flexible organizations and more imaginative man- agement concepts. ELECTRONICS AND COMMUNICATIONS Many opportunities will arise from electronics, the most powerful single technology of the current era, and from biological technologies, which will offer a wide range of new solutions for agriculture, human healthcare, environmental improvement, chemical processes, and even energy pro- duction. Many important dimensions and trends within the electronics and communications technologies have been well documented. However, it is their interface with other technologies and their use in entirely new system solutions that will present some of the most fascinating horizons of the next 15 years. What are some of the likely effects on industry structures, competitiveness, and management? The demand for electronics functions has been growing continuously and exponentially for several decades, and it is expected to grow another 100-fold in the next decade. When one asks executives or investors how they would like their company to be in an industry with such a growth rate, they exhibit a mild excitement. Oddly enough, virtually all companies and institutions have the opportunity to share in this growth rate, because it is the use of these technologies that will expand so rapidly in the next decade. Almost everyone is a potential applier of the technology, whether in their travels or at home, in factories or government offices, in retail shops or on farms, in research centers or educational institutions, in health- care facilities or places of entertainment. The benefits of electronics will accrue most notably to those who apply electronics, not to semiconductor manufacturers, as is often implied in discussions of world trade advan- tages. Each capability of the technology opens its own particular oppor- tunities. Communications Bandwidth Bandwidth, the amount of data that can be carried over a single link per second, has been growing continually and exponentially for decades

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188 CHALLENGES FOR GOVERNMENT Where there are problems, there are also opportunities-opportunities to improve infollllation technology, to create new manufacturing tech- nologies, and to foster emerging technologies such as biotechnology, to name a few. We even have opportunities in critical technologies and in such mature industries as steel. A major goal of the ERC program is to link problems with opportunities. In this linking process all of us have a role to play. The ERCs must choose important engineering problems that require a cross-disciplinary approach, and provide solutions and manpower. The ERCs and their industrial partners must identify the problems that hold the key to our future technological progress. The role of government is not to dictate what the community should work on and what it thinks are the important problems. Instead, it must rely on the community to develop a consensus about the areas requiring research emphasis. However, government does have an important role to play. The role of NSF is that of a catalyst. It is an enabling agent that helps the universities to accomplish their goals. It is also a facilitator: it can make the collab- oration between the universities and industry easier. Indeed, it can help the university people to fulfill their dreams for excellence in higher ed- ucation. In addition to these roles, the NSF must protect and promote the public interest. The ERC program enables the NSF to fulfill all of these roles. In his paper Dr. Hall states that the NSF is not going to micromanage the ERCs. NSF's policy is formulated in the spirit of the role of catalyst: we would like to promote the goals of the ERCs, but we would like to let the ERCs decide what they ought to do by letting university people and industrial people jointly establish their common agenda. NSF's strategic plan for the ERCs consists of the following elements. First, we would like to establish between 20 and 25 Centers during the next two or three years. Next year we are planning to establish six Centers, if our budget wins the support of Congress. If not, we may have to decrease the number of new starts. Second, NSF plans to establish management teams for the ERCs within the NSF, and to render assistance to the ERCs to ensure their success. We will do whatever we can to help, and we will provide the Centers with whatever they need to achieve their goals. Third, NSF plans to secure for the ERC program the support of Congress, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of Management and Budget, the National Science Board, and the engineering community at large. I will be spending a great deal of time trying to articulate the need for this type of Center. Finally, as the funding agency, the NSF plans to monitor the progress of these Centers and to make sure they carry out the goals set forth in their proposals.

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NAM P. SUH 189 The NSF is also working to find ways for state governments to fund some of the ERCs within their own states. Once the state governments establish the infrastructure for research at their state-supported institutions, it will be easier for those schools to acquire NSF funding, since they will be more competitive. In addition to these plans we have a number of other complementary programs within the NSF Engineering Directorate. We have been sup- porting individual researchers through single-project programs, in which we support one researcher or a group of researchers. This kind of grant may also be used to establish or upgrade the academic research infra- structure. For example, if a university is interested in establishing a bio- technology program, it does not have to rely solely on the ERC program. We have a research program for biotechnology which is designed to help universities in establishing their academic infrastructures. We also have very successful programs that have promoted cooperation between industry and universities i.e., the Industry/University Cooperative (IUC) Re- search Programs and the IUC Center Programs. These programs have established a large number of successful cooperative research centers in the past. We must strengthen these programs in the years to come. The NSF is planning new initiatives for FY 1987. The new programs deal with engineering manpower, facilities, access to federal and national laboratories, and generic engineering systems. In developing these plans we need the ideas and counsel of the engineering community to ensure that the new initiatives are executed in a most effective and rational way. We hope that the Engineering Research Centers established so far will become role models for successful ERCs. Other institutions can then emulate them and develop equally successful ERCs in the years to come. However, we are realists. We don't expect that every one of these Centers will be successful. But if only a few of them succeed we can use them as role models in establishing new ones. We have a great deal to learn. If some Centers fail, stones should not be thrown at the whole concept. In the final analysis, no government can be greater than the people it represents especially with the form of government that we have. Con- tinuing support for the ERC concept will be essential to the continuing support of ERCs. With the support of the entire engineering community behind the ERCs, I think Congress will continue to look favorably upon this endeavor in the years to come.

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Implications and Challenges for Industry JAMES F. LARDNER The recommendations of the National Academy of Engineering to the National Science Foundation (NSF) about establishing Engineering Re- search Centers reflect the concern of many business and academic leaders that U. S. engineering education today does not meet industry's real needs. I believe that much of the blame for this situation lies with industry (although academe has too often been a willing and active contributor). In accepting, without complaint or comment, the conventional products of U.S. engineering education; in helping create shortages of qualified engineering faculty by hiring talented faculty members away from teach- ing; and, in ignoring the dearth of adequate research into manufacturing itself, industry has contributed to the problem it has finally identified and would like to see corrected. Why is it that industry apparently has acted against what clearly were its own best interests? I suggest the reason is found in the essence of traditional U.S. manufacturing culture. During most of our national in- dustrial development, American manufacturing companies enthusiastically embraced the principles of specialization and division of labor to address the increasing complexity of products and of the manufacturing environ- ment. For a long time this approach worked. As the techniques of specialization and division of labor were refined, manufacturing became increasingly efficient. Ideas and materials were transformed into products using fewer resources per unit of output. Pro- ductivity increased, and with it the wealth of the nation. At the turn of the century this view of industrial organization was dignified by Frederick W. Taylor with the term "scientific management." Unfortunately, this 190

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JAMES F. LARDNER 191 approach to dealing with complexity turned out to be neither very scientific nor very good management, but that fact was not recognized for another 70 years. What the division of labor and specialization finally caused was the "dis-integration" of manufacturing. Continued growth in the complexity of products, processes, and the environments of manufacturing operations all led to additional specialization and to greater and greater division of responsibility. Unfortunately, we have only now begun to recognize that the solution we adopted with such confidence has resulted in inefficient, unresponsive organizations that are difficult to manage, resistant to change, slow to adopt new technologies, and suffering from formidable commu- nication problems. These negative and unexpected results have caused thoughtful industrial managers to consider reintegrating manufacturing so as to survive in an intensely competitive world. (I hope it is by now agreed that manufacturing spans the range of activities from product concept and design to support of the product in the field.) There is a powerful case to support the conclusion that the organizational culture in a large part of U.S. industry has caused too many American companies to be late in identifying needed changes in manufacturing management, and late in educating manufacturing management to use resources effectively enough to survive in international competition. Growing recognition of the cause and nature of this problem has led some perceptive individuals to argue for significant changes in the way we educate engi- neers. These recommendations have been eloquent and forceful. The ques- tion is, are they valid? Should we seriously modify the way we educate engineers? The answer, I think, is "yes and no." "Yes" for some engineering students, but "no" for the rest. Many of us who helped develop rec- ommendations for establishing the NSF's Engineering Research Centers feel strongly that a solid foundation in engineering fundamentals remains an essential part of a quality engineering education. We also think that the Centers can help fill a critical void in engineering education for some engineering students. The Centers can become a unique and major factor in advancing the concept of manufacturing as a science. Important features of successful Centers would be multidisciplinary research, substantial in- dustry involvement in identifying areas for research, industry support for projects selected, and development of a codified body of new knowledge and instructional material about manufacturing and manufacturing prob- lems. This should create an environment in which the problems and ben- efits of integration can be studied, and where the lessons from past failures can be learned. Clearly, industry has a vital interest in supporting these . . . . n~t~at~ves. However, the challenge for industry goes beyond simply supporting the

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192 IMPLICATIONS AND CHALLENGES FOR INDUSTRY Engineering Research Centers financially if the Centers are to achieve their objectives. 1. Industry must help define the environments for valid manufacturing research. Most engineering campuses have had difficulties in attempting to create realistic manufacturing environments to challenge both students and faculty. 2. Industry must help identify and define manufacturing research needs that offer intellectual challenges to the academic community, that are commensurate with established research activities on university campuses, and that will withstand the scrutiny of peer review. In the past, given the emphasis on specialization and division of labor, industry was generally content to accept and support research projects selected and defined by a principal investigator. Now, as industry struggles with the task of rein- tegration, problems increasingly are seen as multidisciplinary, and the lack of research to help solve them is of growing concern. Industry has a responsibility to make this concern known and understood. 3. Industry must recognize the need to support university programs to recruit and retain adequate numbers of qualified engineering faculty. With- out sufficient qualified, motivated faculty, the Centers cannot succeed. 4. Industry should be prepared to support the development and pub- lication of instructional material based on manufacturing research findings. The apprenticeship method of teaching engineers about manufacturing simply isn't sufficiently rapid, nor is it as effective as it needs to be if we are going to change our manufacturing culture to survive new global . . competition. 5. Industry must find ways to provide real-world situations for con- ducting research, and to make available selected, experienced industry representatives for research projects. 6. Industry must provide constructive input into program evaluation in order to enhance the contributions of research findings and of the graduates the Centers produce. 7. To contribute to the success of the enterprise, industry must rec- ognize, hire, and reward graduates of the Engineering Research Centers, offering opportunities commensurate to the potential these individuals have. These will be new and difficult challenges for industry. It has not been a hallmark of U.S. industry to look to academic research for help with problems as fundamental and broad as the reintegration of manufacturing, or for insights into how manufacturing organizations might be reorganized to make this reintegration possible. Industry has not traditionally turned to engineering schools for help in managing manufacturing, but there is

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JAMES F. LARDNER 193 increasing evidence that in evaluating the changes considered schools may be the preferred resource. Finally, it is important to remember that industry and academe operate by different time scales. Everyone involved in the ERC effort knows it will be some time before the products of the Centers whether graduates or research findings will be available to industry, and even longer before these products will have measurable impact on industry results. For the interim, industry will have to "wing it," to depend on expe- rience, common sense, and intuition to steer an uncharted course. Despite the absence of immediately useful output applicable to industry problems, management needs to maintain a belief in and provide support for the ERC concept until the first results can be evaluated. Today's situation reminds me of a time in my naval career when I was "in destroyers," operating with a carrier task force. I don't know how they do it today, but back then when we changed the fleet axis, the destroyers would race through the maneuvering ships at high speed on an approximate course, chosen to avoid collisions, to get close to their new screen stations. Only as they approached their new stations did the fine maneuvering begin. Varying course and speed slightly but continuously, if successful they dropped in, right on station, exactly where they be- longed, and their captains lost no promotion numbers. I think industry today faces a similar situation. We are changing from where we were to where we have to be, and we have no time to spare. As we move closer to where we want to be, we will require special skills and knowledge that can put us right on station. I think these can come- to an important degree from the Engineering Research Centers, and I believe these Centers deserve industry support.

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Challenges for Academe H. GUYFORD STEVER I have the last word in this volume; but those universities that will host the Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) will have the last word on whether the Centers are successful. In these pages many leaders of American industry, government, and academe discuss how important the Centers are to the nation's future. I think it is the concept itself that is most important- that of pooling our engineering research efforts on a bigger and broader scale. Teams of engineers and scientists from many disciplines, from both academe and industry, working together, with the cooperation and support of govern- ment, to target problems of importance to our competitive future that is an exciting idea. It is not a new idea, of course. It has been tried before, but usually on a smaller scale and with less clarity of purpose, less sense of urgency. However, there is often a great gulf between ideas and reality. The message running through these papers is: The Centers are needed, and we must make them work! But those in academe, especially, know well what the real problems will be. Larry Sumney suggests some of them. Young faculty members will be wary, maybe reluctant to participate be- cause of their fears about unknown (or perhaps too well known) threats to their careers. Cross-disciplinary research is usually not an accepted route to advancement; in many institutions that battle has yet to be fought. When I was the newly appointed president of Carnegie-Mellon Uni- versity, a group of professors came in to see me. These were distinguished professors from different departments who wanted to start what we called 194

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H. GUYFORD STEVER 195 then an interdisciplinary center. I listened to them. Their ideas were just great, and I was quite excited about it; but at the end of the presentation they said, "Now, we have to find someone whom we can bring to the university to lead this center." I said, "Stop right there. When any of you strong people in your disciplines who have all these good ideas are willing to risk your career to lead this effort, then I will go along with it." About a year later, two of them came in and took the responsibility. They changed their careers. I think they are very happy today that they did, but the fact is that they took a risk. Graduate students are also going to have to take a risk. Many of them may be quite excited when they notice all the drum-beating that has accompanied the ERC program. But some will look at the situation and conclude that the disciplinary approach to education is still very strong. Existing departments may not readily accept the ERCs. The resistance may not surface until the going gets tough for one reason or another; but retrenchment into the disciplinary fold has always been the instinctive . . response In such circumstances. Another problem is what happens if, after the seed funds are withdrawn and the ERC has becomes self-supporting, the Center encounters a down- turn in the nation's economy. Industry funding may diminish. What hap- pens to the ERC then? Will it be a case of "last to arrive, first to leave"? What can we do to make the world safe for ERCs? Changes will have to occur, of which the first will be a change in "campus sociology." As James Lardner's paper points out, some indus- tries are already wrestling hard with this requirement in their own context. They can't avoid it their improved performance demands this adaptation. But universities have so far not accepted the proposed mode. The dis- ciplinary structure has remained essentially intact, preferring instead to split off new disciplines to accommodate the explosion of knowledge and the emergence of problems such as the environment, or new technologies such as the computer. That approach is no longer completely sufficient. Of course the disciplines must continue to be strong. But, as we are already seeing in efforts such as MIT's new Interdepartmental Biotechnology Program, the cross-disciplinary approach must increasingly be reflected in the organizational structure of science and engineering. Schools must figure out a way to accomplish research goals of a cross- disciplinary nature while still maintaining strong disciplinary depth. The reward system will have to be modified to accommodate this requirement. That is a challenge that every school will have to address in terms of its own particular situation, its own "culture." If the schools fall short of that, in Larry Sumney's words, "we will all lose."~ According to the National Science Foundation's program announcement for FY 1986, one of the four criteria upon which the next round of ERC

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196 CHALLENGES FOR ACADEME proposals will be judged relates to this very thing: a concern for the "effect of the research on the infrastructure of science and engineering." Any proposal demonstrating a commitment to this kind of change is likely to be a stronger proposal, in the eyes of NSF. Second, schools will have to alter their relations with the outside world. Faculty consulting and small-scale cooperative research with industry are fine, and should continue. But they are not enough. Universities will have to open their doors in new ways, defining strategies for making and cementing ties with state and local governments, other schools, and com- panies large and small. These ties should be stable, long-term, and mu- tually beneficial. Third, and perhaps most fundamental, a sensitivity must emerge in the university community regarding the needs of the nation, regarding the situation of the nation with respect to economic and competitive fortunes to which engineering holds a very important key. The Engineering Re- search Centers are being created to improve our national technological productivity and competitiveness. This can only be done through a systems approach to real-world problems not through abstraction and analysis for its own sake. A new generation of engineering students has to be educated to think and function in the cross-disciplinary context. I think the ultimate challenge in all this lies with the individual, as it always does when change must take place. As I have pointed out, the young faculty members who work in the ERC programs will have to be courageous people. They will have to be committed to goals and methods that the power structure may not share, that even many of their academic peers do not share. Graduate and postgraduate students who participate in the ERCs will also need to have commitment. When they have finished their education they will have a major decision to make: whether to go into industry or to join a faculty. The latter choice may be the only avenue by which real change can be brought to the disciplinary structure, since those individuals will have come up through the new system. Academic administrators who want the ERCs to succeed will have to have the commitment necessary to push against disciplinary barriers and to protect the ERCs from adverse pressures. Industry managers will have to be ready to be committed to the success of the program, even when continued support is painful to the company. They may have to convince boards of directors and, ultimately, stock- holders, and persuade them to share that commitment. In many cases, the academic institution has to make a commitment to individuals if they are going to take the risk of participating. Some will participate no matter what, because they share a conviction about what these Centers represent. Yet their fate is in the hands of people who will

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H. GUYFORD STEVER 197 be difficult to persuade of that vision, that commitment. This is where we can clearly see the fragility and the vulnerability of the fledgling ERCs. By funding these six Centers, the National Science Foundation has taken the first strengthening steps toward a new approach to engineering research, education, and practice. I am willing to bet very strongly that the initial impetus has been and will continue to be very well received by the Congress and the administration. I cannot conceive of an administration that would resist this kind of approach now or sometime in the future, and therefore I think it is on very good ground. But the battle is by no means over for the ERCs. In wartime the tank units have to select a point tank for every one of their advances, and it can be imagined what chances that point tank has to take. It is the same with the ERCs. We have only a few point units out there, and we had better make sure that they are very well supported by everyone concerned. Eventually we will have a larger number of units, and then we can sit back and let them compete in a rough-and-tumble world. But we had better make it a good world for them for a while.

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