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Trends in Science and Technology Policy The U.S. Perspective: The Here and Now Versus the Ideal Joseph Bordogna Deputy Director, National Science Foundation I am very pleased to participate in today's discussion of transatlantic science and technology (S&T) cooperation. The last century is replete with transatlantic collaborations of every nature from national security alliances to matters as di- verse as public policy and political elections, scientific exchanges, and arts and cultural events. This plenary session on trends in S&T policy is part of all of our nations' long tradition of bridging the broad Atlantic Ocean with good communication and good ideas. This conference to inaugurate cooperation under the new U.S.- European Union (KU) science and technology agreement extends that tradition into the twenty-first century. My assigned topic for this talk is "Trends in Science and Technology Policy The U.S. Perspective." While I speak to this, my comments will be focused primarily on what those trends should ideally be rather than what they necessarily are now. The title of my remarks is "Trends in Science and Technol- ogy Policy: The Here and Now Versus the Ideal." Many of us here today are civil servants in the broadest and most generous sense of that term. We serve as officials of public institutions that often tend toward bureaucratic-sclerosis over time. Our first task, it seems to me, should be to commit ourselves to proving incorrect the blessedly unknown scholar who said, "Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status." It is a humorous but not untrue commentary on the danger of institutions holding onto the past instead of lifting their sights to the future. Our task is to recognize and retain what is valuable from the past while envisioning a future based on inevitable change. I should add that, although the definition of bureaucracy refers primarily to 20

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JOSEPH BORDOGNA 21 the public sector, bureaucrats have been known to exist in the private sector, too. The difference is often their briefer period of survival. We are fortunate indeed to have the able participation and advice of some of industry's best talent with us for this conference. Let me begin with a comment by paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould from his recent essay in Science magazine (Feb. 6, 1998~. He said, ". . . science cannot be separated from political change, if only because the primary motor of social reorganization throughout human history, from the ad- vent of agriculture to the acme of modern industry, has been fueled by . . . scien- tific knowledge." Although scientist and nonscientist alike can marvel at the power of our knowledge in science and technology, it is the intersection of this knowledge with the goals and needs of society that is our larger responsibility. From the first time humans left the confines of this planet to venture into space close to four decades ago, the limited circle of our globe and the even tighter circle of our dependency on each other have become increasingly appar- ent. Those first photographs of earth taken from space spoke not only of our shape and size in the universe but of our unity. We are all citizens of the small blue planet. And on this planet the advancement of civilization has, in many respects, been driven by the scientific and engineering research of each succeed- ing generation. We can all agree that science is a force absolutely fundamental to our well- being and, in fact, survival. Indeed, science and society are interdependent. There is an inextricable relationship between the diverse science, engineering, and tech- nology activities in all our nations and the public policy efforts that enable popu- lations, economies, and nations to reap maximum benefit from advances in knowl- edge and understanding. Although we know this connection by both instinct and example, we are only slowly coming to the recognition that science and technology, and its concomi- tant policy, must be seriously concerned with the many and great unsolved prob- lems of humankind. This latter premise moves our planning and projections to another, quite different, level. I do not in any way lightly dismiss the consistent increase in science, engi- neering, and technological knowledge that moves across national borders. Nei- ther do I discount the widening net of international collaborations, not only among our nations but with all nations. These are positive and contributory trends. But none of us can escape the contradiction in contemporary society that we are able to do increasingly outstanding science at the same time that many societal dis- parities and problems are increasing. Those of us in the S&T policy community are in a unique position to address these issues. The deliberations of this very meeting can establish, for the record, a distinction between the current trends in S&T policy and the ideal trends for the very same. Although many in the science and engineering community may not think of these matters as their individual responsibility, one of history's most eminent

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22 TRENDS IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY scientists spoke of this very issue decades ago. In 1931, before World War II and in the deepest days of economic depression, Einstein admonished the science community in an address at the California Institute of Technology. He said, "Con- cern for man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all tech- nical endeavors, concern for the great unsolved problems of the organization of labor and the distribution of goods in order that the creations of our mind shall be a blessing and not a curse to mankind. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations." Here we are 67 years later finally building consensus for his wisdom. Einstein takes us back to our fundamental values as guidance our concern for humanity and its fate. I believe that it is in those terms that we must work toward the more ideal trends in S&T policy in the twenty-first century. Since the end of the Cold War in 1989, the era of East-West rivalry has been eclipsed by an emerging era of North-South realities and relationships. President Clinton's trip to Africa exemplifies this recognition. Nuclear testing by India and Pakistan also is part of that new reality. This emerging era comes with new challenges, interdependent consequences, shared international responsibilities, and mutual opportunities. Much of the opportunity will be powered by the world 1 . . science and eng~neenng community. There is a global imperative to close the widening gap between the haves and have-nots not through handouts or handdowns but through building knowledge and capacity in poorer nations to enable them to create their own wealth. A1- though America is thought of as a rich industrial nation we are facing a similarly widening division in our own borders. Many of your nations are experiencing similar phenomena. The gap between rich and poor and skilled and unskilled in our nations or elsewhere in the world cannot bode well for our collective future. In 1960 the world population was 3 billion. We all know that by the turn of the century that number will double to 6 billion. This will have occurred in less than four decades. Most of the world's population growth and much of its eco- nomic expansion will occur in the Southern Hemisphere. Here too will exist the potential for the deepest problems of hunger, poverty, and disease, as well as for energy supply, vast environmental devastation and their incumbent emergencies. Although the 130 plus developing countries already account for four-fifths of the world's people, they only account for one-sixth of its economic output. This pervasive condition of poverty devastates individuals as well as nations and has far-reaching implications for all of the world's citizens and nations. Poverty degrades the dignity of us all as human beings no matter where it occurs, North, South, East, or West. It is clear that Einstein would have us be mindful to think not only of saving our planet for future generations but of saving the planet's current generation. Our reverence for humanity's habitat must include a reverence and compassion for humanity itself. Our only hope of saving either rests in a commitment to save

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JOSEPH BORDOGNA 23 both. Sustainable development cannot mean sustaining poverty in those places where it exists. The major problems facing the whole global society are human problems. And they will require more than technical solutions. These problems emerge out of complex patterns of overlapping consequences. For example, over the past several decades, the investment that industrial nations have made in improved nutrition, medical technologies, and public health have all coalesced to boost life expectancy in Europe and the United States from less than 47 years in 1890 to 75.5 years in 1993. Japan has done even better. More recently, this trend is also emerging in developing countries.) This is surely an advance to celebrate for all humanity. However, as this life expectancy trend increases, nations will struggle to support their elderly populations with a decreasing proportion of their popula- tions of wage-earning ages. Thus, our triumph of better health and longer life will also pose an economic dilemma. Our job will be to create opportunity from this and other impending dilemmas. We cannot deny that there are overlapping consequences of poverty, plan- etary devastation, illiteracy, aging populations, communicable diseases, mass migrations of immigrants, agricultural output, energy supply, and others. Grap- pling with these issues collectively might seem like a completely unmanageable task, at best. But we do not have the luxury of making choices. We do have new technological tools for innovative approaches. We can, indeed, make the same leaps of majestic proportion that created every other milestone of human progress. We know that energy, environment, and economics form the triple challenge of the coming century; they are inextricably wedded. We know that despite na- tional and cultural differences, every nation big or small, rich or impoverished, agricultural or industrial or postindustrial (as some speculate), democratic or dic- tatorial each is woven into the interlaced fabric, some would say a postindustrial digital fabric, of the world's economy and ecology. We may be gathered today to contemplate future collaborations among our several nations and through the European Union, but our vision must necessarily encompass a far broader concern. These discussions are transatlantic by associa- tion, but our genuine universe of thought must be transglobal if we are to move from the "here and now in science and technology trends toward the ideal." I wish you every success in defining areas not only for transatlantic coopera- tion but for global vision as well. Thank you. iScience Vol. 273, pp. 46-48. July 5, 1996.