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6 Next Steps to Enhance Science and Technology Policy Advice at the State Level T o forge a more effective science and technology policy advising system at the state level, many presenters and participants at the convocation thought that changes must occur both inside and out- side government. According to Doug Henton, states must place themselves in a position to take advantage of science and technology policy advice more effectively and efficiently. First, state governments need to work with academic institutions and businesses to identify the stateâs strengths and weaknesses. âWhat are your strengths? What do you want to be good at? What do you want to build on? What are your assets?â The state then must invest in institutions and programs that enable it to take advantage of its strengths and minimize its weaknesses. The key is not necessarily how much a state spends, Henton said, but how fund- ing is used. For example, state support can be used to foster collaboration and long-term commitments. âYou donât want to do one thing and the next thing and the next thing,â Henton said. The centers of scientific and technological development in states that have been successful, such as Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, are products of sustained and long-term investments. Outside state governments, the institutions that are in a position to offer science and technology policy advice at the state level must For more information about North Carolinaâs Research Triangle Park, see <http://www. rtp.org/main>. 53
54 STATE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY ADVICE work together and learn from each other. Colleges and universities, other nonprofit research institutions, federal laboratories, state academies of science, and state science and technology councils can all act to enhance the science and technology base in a state and connect that base to the stateâs goals. Furthermore, all of these institutions are working effectively in some states and not others. A mechanism for sharing best practices and innovative approaches could strengthen policy advice in all states. States need to establish systems to measure the results of initiatives involving science and technology. Once money is spent, the legislature and governor are going to ask what was accomplished and why the state should continue to fund these activities. Again, some states already have made considerable progress. For example, the Massachusetts Inno- vation Index measures every step of the innovation process, including research and development, commercialization, patents, royalties, and outputs in terms of new jobs. Measures should not include just inputs but also outputs in terms of facilities, patents, personnel, education, and so on. Other possible measures are industry interactions, collaborations, invention disclosures, licensing, venture capital attracted, new companies formed, industry concentrations increased, companies retained, employ- ment increased, the number of high-value-added jobs created, graduate students hired in the state, existing industries transformed, and new industries developed. âThere needs to be some type of an accounting system in place,â said Henton. âPromises canât be made for future results. Results need to be measured from the outset of an effort.â History in the Making âThe United States is entering a new era of scientific and technological development, one where the states assume a much greater role than has been the case in the past,â said Jay Cole. âWe are fairly early in the history of the state science and technology policy movement, and recognizing this also allows us in a sense to recognize that weâre making this history. Weâre in uncharted territory, and we need to learn from everything weâre doing so that we continue to make progress in the future.â Participants were particularly enthusiastic to recreate the dynamism and synergy of the convocation. âWeâve been hoping to have a meeting of this sort for many years,â said Susan Hackwood. Although California has had an active state-level science and technology policy advising system, it has known little about what other states are doing, and âfor us thatâs been a big handicap, so Iâm delighted for this meeting.â According to Gerry OâKeefe, âThis kind of meeting is unique. Iâve learned a great deal, and I think my colleagues have learned a great deal. . . . Kudos to the National
NEXT STEPS 55 Academies for doing this. . . . Itâs a great service to the country and a great service to the states getting this group of people together. Future meetings that bring together people from across the country could be sponsored by the National Academies, perhaps with a focus on different topics that are important to all the states. In addition, regional meetings of nearby states could be extremely valuable, said Hackwood. âIf you put a regional meeting together that brought together academics, lots of industry people, and most importantly policy people, the people who are in the trenches working with legislatures, working with the gov- ernorâs office, and making policy, if you bring these people together, the chemistries that will happen and the ideas that will come out, I guarantee you, will be quite remarkable.â Regional meetings would enable states to learn from the policy work done in nearby states. âIf we [in California] have done a study on regional climate change, how can it be used in Arizona?â Hackwood said. âIf Ari- zonaâs done a study on nanotech, how can it be used in California? And how can that connect into National Academies studies, because thatâs a root source of a lot of this information. Thereâs no competition between our states. We have everything to gain by learning from each other.â The states are often called âlaboratories for democracy,â said Edward Derrick, the director of the Research Competitiveness Program for the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The same is true of science and technology policy advice. âThe opportunity here as sci- entists is to learn from the experiments that are going on in the states in science policy and science policy advising,â Derrick said. National and regional meetings could serve as forums for the horizontal diffusion of successful experiments. At the same time, there are commonalities among states, and âI believe thatâs been proved by this discussion.â Karl Pister quoted the comic strip Pogo saying, âwe are surrounded by walls of insurmountable opportunity.â The convocation helped make those walls surmountable. âWe need good advice from people who under- stand how to put scaling ladders on those walls,â Pister said. For more information about AAASâs Research Competitiveness Program, see <http:// www.aaas.org/spp/rcp>.