Welcome to my personal home page. I’m a professor and director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy at George Mason’s School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs. 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. 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.
I have joined the Innovation Policy Forum of the National Academy of Sciences as co-chair. The Forum acts as a focal point for a national and international dialogue on innovation policy.
I am serving on the organizing committee for the Industry Studies Conference in Minneapolis in May 2016. The 2017 meeting will be held in Washington, DC.
In December 2015 in conjunction with colleagues from SRI International, I hosted an agenda-setting workshop on behalf of NSF’s Science of Science and Innovation Policy (SciSIP) program on the theme “Making SciSIP Research More Useful to Policy-Makers.”
“Closing the Energy-Demonstration Gap” (with Richard K. Lester) was published in Issues in Science and Technology (Winter 2015). I hosted two panels on energy innovation in February, 2016 – first at the Bipartisan Policy Center on February 3 and then at the AAAS Annual Meeting on February 12. 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.
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, where I serve on the board, released a report on the demographics of American innovation that I co-authored on Capitol Hill on February 24. I’m quoted in a piece by David Malakoff of Science as well.
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. I served as senior associate dean of the School during its inaugural year after a year in the same role for its predecessor, the School of Public Policy. In July 2015, I returned to the faculty.
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. The main topic of my talks was my reflections on the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (which were 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. Bipartisan legislation that permanently authorized NNMI was passed in December 2014.