Welcome to my personal home page. I’m a professor and acting senior associate dean at George Mason’s School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs where I have two overlapping areas of specialization. One is technology, science, and innovation policy. I’m interested in the sources and implications of discoveries and inventions of all sorts, past and present. I am the director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy. The other area is governance, at the regional, national, and global levels. I want to understand the processes by which policy-makers decide what to do. The two areas come together as I seek to comprehend how states, markets, individuals, and social groups interact to produce decisions about important new technological capabilities.
“Closing the Energy-Demonstration Gap” (with Richard K. Lester) is now out in Issues in Science and Technology (Winter 2015).
I am very proud to have been “present at the creation” of George Mason’s School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs (SPGIA), which was officially born in August, 2014. SPGIA brings together the strengths of Mason’s School of Public Policy and Department of Public and International Affairs. It serves about 2,000 students across 15 degree programs. It’s the largest graduate program of its kind in the country and is home to an outstanding faculty. I am continuing my service as acting senior associate dean of the School during the 2014-2015 academic year, alongside Pris Regan.
In October 2014, I participated in the second U.S.-China science and technology policy dialogue in Beijing and in the Pujiang Innovation Forum in Shanghai. While in China, I also gave lectures at the CAS Institute for Policy and Management and Tsinghua University’s School of Public Policy and Management. Continuing on to Korea, I spoke at KAIST’s Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy and Ajou University’s Division of Energy Systems Research while exploring opportunities for SPGIA to contribute to Mason Korea. The main topic of my talks was my reflections on the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (recently published in Science and Public Policy).
I gave a keynote lecture at Vinnova‘s annual conference in Stockholm in November, 2013. To watch the video, click here (go down to “Webb TV” and click to the second sequence); the presentation is here. (For Swedish speakers, an article in Nyteknik is here.)
In August 2012, I completed a year of service to the nation as assistant director for innovation policy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. My work for the Administration focused on advanced manufacturing policy, including the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) and the Additive Manufacturing Pilot (now America Makes), based in Youngstown OH. On December 12, 2012, I released a paper, co-written with colleagues from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, on “Why America Needs NNMI” at a Capitol Hill event. Bipartisan legislation that permanently authorized NNMI was passed in December 2014.
Unlocking Energy Innovation: How America Can Build a Low-Cost, Low-Carbon Energy System (with Richard K. Lester, published by MIT Press) is now out in paperback. An article on our scheme for regional energy innovation boards appeared in the Winter 2015 Issues in Science and Technology.
I moderated a panel on the future of U.S. immigration policy at the Brookings Institution in July 2012. Brookings released my policy brief (co-written with GMU colleague Zoltan J. Acs) on high-tech immigrant entrepreneurs at an event in February 2011.