Welcome to my personal home page. I’m a professor at George Mason’s School of Public Policy, 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.
As of June 2013, I am serving as acting senior associate dean of the School of Public Policy. That means that I have suspended much of my research for the 2013-2014 academic year.
Congratulations to Ted Davis, Juan Julio Gutierrez, and Kirsten Apple for successfully defending their dissertations in December 2013!
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.)
On August 29, 2013, I hosted the Virginia gubernatorial candidates in a forum on energy policy.
My paper on the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy came out in Science and Public Policy. I presented a version of this paper at a U.S.-China conference hosted by the University of California-San Diego in August 2013.
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 proposed National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) and the Additive Manufacturing Pilot, 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. The President’s 2013 State of the Union address featured the NNMI proposal and announced the creation of three more Institutes. I discussed the proposal on NPR’s “On Point with Tom Ashbrook” on February 25, 2013 (podcast here) and with John Judis of The New Republic in August 2013.
Update: The President announced the opening of the second manufacturing innovation institute in Raleigh, NC, in January 2014 and, in his State of the Union address, stated that six more would be funded through executive authority. Bipartisan legislation to put the institutes on a permanently authorized basis has been introduced in both chambers of Congress.
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 Bipartisan Policy Center hosted our roll-out event in February 2012. In March 2013, I gave the inaugural lecture in Clarkson University’s Power and Energy Forum.
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.
You can find my full c.v. here.