**Free Workshop on Brain Imaging on May 23, 2014

March 19th, 2014

Register to attend in person for the neuralimaging workshop.

Register for the web online-based workshop.

ARLINGTON, VA, February 20, 2014 – A panel of some of America’s top experts on brain imaging will present their findings from an international study of biomedical imaging at a workshop to be held at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, VA on May 23, 2014.

The study was funded by NSF, the National Institutes of Health, and the Office of Naval Research. It was conducted by seven expert panelists who carried out peer reviews of research abroad. This included visiting the sites of the research institutions and researchers who are noted for the most advanced work in Europe, Asia, and Australia. More than 30 foreign sites were visited during 2013-2014,

The panel evaluated emerging computational neurodiagnostic methods. The findings that will be discussed at this conference include: MRI acquisition strategies for advancing neuroscience, interpretation and analysis of the fMRI signal. Use of MRI, fMRI, CAT, PET, ECG, EEG, SCR, voxel-based morphometry, endocrine sampling, and near-infrared spectroscopy to detect neural signatures of psychiatric and behavioral disorders, plus computing infrastructure and more.

The neuroimaging panel is chaired by Prof. Lilianne Mujica-Parodi from the Stony Brook University. Also on the panel are Dr. Peter Bandettini from the National Institute of Mental Health, Prof. Bin He of the University of Minnesota, Dr. Tom Cortese of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Prof. Gary Glover from Stanford University, Prof. Tor Wager of the University of Colorado, and Dr. Lawrence Wald of the Martinos Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

The public may attend the workshop free, but space is limited, so that registration is required. The workshop will also be webcast live. Viewers will have the ability to submit questions for the panelists during the event. For more information and to register, please visit the WTEC neuralimaging page for more information.

About WTEC:

The World Technology Evaluation Center is the nation’s leading organization in conducting international technology assessments via peer review. WTEC has conducted over 70 such studies since 1989 under grants from a variety of Federal agencies. For more information, visit WTEC.

For more information: Ms. Patricia Foland, Vice President for International Operations, WTEC, pfoland@scienceus.org, Phone: 410-691-1579.

Workshop Invitation: International Research on Physical Sciences Applied to Biology, at NIH on Nov. 21, 2013

August 8th, 2013

Washington, DC, August 8, 2013 – A panel of some of America’s top experts on the application of physical science concepts to biological systems will present their findings from study tours of top European and Asian labs in a workshop and webcast to be held at the National Institutes of Health on November 21, 2013.

The study is aimed at determining the status and trends of research and development whereby physical sciences and engineering principles are being applied to life sciences, cancer research and oncology in leading laboratories and organizations via an on-site peer review process in Europe and Asia. The panel will assess general progress in the field, and compare the relative positions of nations. The panel will also be issuing a written final report later this year. For short, the study is known by the acronym APHELION: Assessment of Physical Sciences and Engineering Advances in Life Sciences and Oncology.

The study was sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). As a part of the study, a seven-member peer review panel recently toured more than 40 labs abroad in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. Previously the panel visited and reported on France, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The report from the European phase is posted at http://www.wtec.org/aphelion/AphelionEuropeanReport09.23.12.pdf. The study was organized by the World Technology Evaluation Center, Inc. (WTEC).

The APHELION panel is chaired by Prof. Paul Janmey of the University of Pennsylvania. Also on the panel are Prof. Daniel Fletcher (UC Berkeley), Prof. Sharon Gerecht (Johns Hopkins University), Dr. Ross Levine (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center), Prof. Parag Mallick (Stanford University), Prof. Owen McCarty (Oregon Health & Science University), Prof. Lance Munn (Harvard University), and Prof. Cynthia Reinhart-King (Cornell University).

The November 21st workshop is free, but space is limited. For further information and to register please visit http://www.wtec.org/aphelion. It will also be webcast live. Viewers will have the ability to submit questions for the panelists during the event. To register for this free webcast, please visit www.tvworldwide.com/events/NIH/131121. The webcast will remain available online after the event.

About WTEC:
The World Technology Evaluation Center, Inc. is a non-profit research institute that leads the nation in conducting international technology assessments via peer review. WTEC has conducted more than 70 such studies since 1989 under grants from many Federal agencies. For more information, visit http://www.wtec.org.
###
-End-

INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON HOW TO SCALE UP RENEWABLE ENERGY

March 11th, 2013

ARLINGTON, VA, FEBRUARY 28, 2013 – A panel of some of the United States’ top experts on systems engineering and renewable energy will present their findings from a study tour of top European and Asian labs in a workshop and webcast to be held at the National Science Foundation on March 14th, 2014.

With sponsorship from the National Science Foundation, the seven-member WTEC panel recently toured more than 25 labs abroad, including academic and corporate sites in China, Korea, India, Singapore, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, and the U.K. The study was organized by the World Technology Evaluation Center, Inc. (WTEC) as one of a series of over 70 such assessments of international research.

A particularly important challenge of the 21st Century is the development of clean and renewable sources of energy. There are several candidate technologies, including wind, tidal, geothermal, nuclear, solar, biomass and direct conversion of sunlight, air and water to hydrocarbon fuels. Each of these alternatives has been demonstrated at scales ranging from laboratory to prototype. However, in order to have a significant impact on world energy supplies, they must undergo scale-up by orders of magnitude. This demands systems engineering at a level never before achieved. Thus, the underlying purpose of this study was to examine the current state-of-the-art of systems engineering and systems engineering education to determine what research and pedagogy are needed to prepare the nation to meet this challenge.

The panel will assess general progress in the field, and compare the relative positions of nations in such areas as solar photovoltaics, wind power, biomass, systems engineering modeling, and systems engineering education. The panel will also be issuing a written final report later this year.

The WTEC Systems Engineering for Clean & Renwable Energy Manufacturing (SEEM) panel is chaired by Dr. Matthew Realff of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Also on the panel are Dr. Jian Cao of Northwestern University, Dr. Paul Collopy of the National Science Foundation, Dr. Wayne Curtis of Penn State University, Dr. Abhijit Deshmukh of Purdue University, Dr. Delcie Durham of the University of South Florida, and Dr. Ryne Raffaelle of the Rochester Institute of Technology.

The March 14th workshop will be webcast live. Viewers will have the ability to submit questions for the panelists during the event. For more information and to register for this free webcast, please visit http://www.wtec.org/SEEM. The webcast will remain available online after the event.

About WTEC:
The World Technology Evaluation Center is the nation’s leading organization in conducting international technology assessments via peer review. WTEC has conducted over 70 such studies since 1989 under grants from a variety of Federal agencies. For more information, visit http://www.wtec.org.

###
-End-

How America Lost the Cold War

July 21st, 2012

History is better analyzed after all the witnesses are dead, but this can lead to a gap in more recent events.  Young people today don’t remember the late 20th Century, and they didn’t study this history in school, since it hadn’t yet found its way into their curricula.  They don’t have any interest in listening to old-timers either, but this blog medium allows anyone to vent, whether they have an audience or not.  For what is worth, here is an outline of the major events that shaped my life from 1938 to 2011.  This perspective does provide a rather contrarian take on the present, as the title indicates.

I vaguely recall some incidents from World War II that dominated my parents lives for so long.  When I was five, I could still get into our village’s movie free, and walked there alone in those more innocent times.  I do vividly remember the US propaganda films that portrayed the war in lurid color.  I took a personal interest, because, like most of my playmates, my dad was away from home, fighting in that war.  We even saw German POWs picking cotton in our remote Texas countryside; I remember hearing that they were very happy to be out of the war. We helped our cause by buying 25 cent stamps at the post office to stick into a booklet, which could eventually buy a $25 war bond.  Some kinds of food, like sugar, were rationed, and I still won’t drink cokes with artificial sweeteners.

When Dad came home, we had only a brief respite before the Cold War came to dominate our lives for decades.  Most people think we won that war when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, and the USSR collapsed.  Some even credit Ronald Reagan for almost single handedly winning the war, but I have a different recollection.  Our enemies in that war included not just the Soviet Union, but also almost equally, the People’s Republic of China.  We never actually fought the Soviets, but we fought the Chinese to a bloody draw in Korea.  I remember this quite well, because my dad left us again, to go fight the North Koreans and Chinese Communists.  And we never defeated them; quite the contrary.

After cooperating for years, the Soviets and ChiComs had a falling out in the 1960s, mainly because they shared a long and disputed border.  The Cold War then devolved largely into a three-way confrontation including the US and these two, who had no love for each other.  When the USSR disintegrated, the Chinese were able to turn their attention to us.  Of course, the main story here is that Deng Xaiopeng simply observed how his neighbors were getting rich by manufacturing for export, and said, “Me, too.”  By simply abandoning Mao’s stupid policies, he unleashed the vast energies of the Chinese people, who had prospered everywhere, except in China itself.

Well, from this witness’ perspective, the Chinese are now winning a Cold War that never really ended.  If I may say so, I think this is an important insight.  At the moment, this is being fought in the economic sector, but I believe the PRC is much more of a national security threat to the US than the USSR ever was.

U.S. SCIENTISTS TO REVEAL FINDINGS FROM STUDY OF PHYSICAL SCIENCE APPLIED TO BIOLOGY AND ONCOLOGY IN EUROPE

June 1st, 2012

ARLINGTON, VA, JUNE 1, 2012: A panel of the United States’ top experts on the applications of physical science and engineering tools to life sciences and oncology will present their findings from a study tour of top European labs in a workshop to be held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on June 12, 2012.

With sponsorship from the National Cancer Institute, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, the seven-member WTEC panel recently toured more than 25 labs in Europe, including sites in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The study was organized by the World Technology Evaluation Center, Inc. (WTEC) as one of a series of over 70 such assessments of international research.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. In 1971 President Nixon declared war on cancer and much effort has been invested in learning more about this complex system of diseases, and in developing treatments. However, despite considerable progress in the treatment of certain forms of cancer, progress in reducing mortality by conventional biomedical approaches has been disappointing. Thus, in addition to new biomedical approaches, such as those based on the human genome, some researchers are focusing on how the physical sciences can help.

While the field of cancer biology has historically been dominated by researchers with classical training in the basic and clinical life sciences, the field has more recently expanded to include physical and engineering scientists, whose background and expertise are complementary to those possessed by life scientists, leading to the recognition that significant advancements in the fundamental understanding of cancer diseases are possible through multidisciplinary research that involves experts in chemistry, physics, materials science, and several engineering disciplines.

In addition to gauging the relative positions of nations and assessing general progress in the field, the panel will discuss their findings in such particular areas as: cell and tissue mechanics, the microenvironment, dynamics, transport, devices utilizing new diagnostic principles, and information and complexity. The panel will also be issuing a written final report later this year.

The WTEC APHELION panel is chaired by Dr. Paul Janmey of the University of Pennsylvania. Also on the panel are Sharon Gerecht of Johns Hopkins University, Cynthia Reinhart-King of Cornell University, Parag Mallick of Stanford University, Owen McCarty of Oregon Health & Science University, Lance Munn of Harvard Medical School, and Daniel Fletcher of the University of California at Berkeley. Serving as consultants to the panel are Antonio Tito Fojo of the National Cancer Institute, and Denis Wirtz of Johns Hopkins University.

The June 12 workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Building 60 at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. The workshop is free, but space is limited so registration is required.

For more information and registration, please visit the study’s webpage at http://www.wtec.org/aphelion.

    About WTEC:

The World Technology Evaluation Center is the nation’s leading organization in conducting international technology assessments via peer review. WTEC has conducted over 70 such studies since 1989 under grants from a variety of Federal agencies. For more information, visit http://www.wtec.org.

###
-End-

U.S. STEM CELL EXPERTS TO REVEAL FINDINGS FROM INTERNATIONAL STUDY

April 17th, 2012

ARLINGTON, VA, APRIL 18, 2012: A panel of the United States’ top stem cell experts will present their findings from a study tour of top Asian and European labs in a workshop to be held at the National Science Foundation (NSF) on May 24, 2012.

With sponsorship from NSF, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institute of Standards & Technology, the six-member WTEC panel on stem cell engineering (SCE) recently toured more than 40 sites in Europe and Asia, including sites in Japan, China, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Tissue regeneration through stem cell engineering is a promising line of research with the potential to treat a variety of medical conditions, including illnesses for which there is currently no cure.

While certain kinds of stem cell research have generated political controversy in the United States, most other countries have not had these reservations. Thus their research in this hot field has proceeded rapidly. The purpose of this study was to discover what research is occurring abroad in order to better inform U.S. scientists and policymakers.

In addition to gauging the relative positions of nations and assessing general progress in the field, the panel will discuss their findings in such particular areas as: regulations, ethics, and public policy; engineering & physical science applications; high-throughput screening, microfluidics & real-time phenotyping, quantitative & computational approaches; and biomanufacturing & bioprocessing. The panel will also be issuing a written final report later this year.

The WTEC Stem Cell Engineering panel is chaired by Dr. Robert Nerem of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Also on the panel are Jeanne Loring of The Scripps Research Institute, Todd McDevitt of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Sean Palecek of the University of Wisconsin, David Schaffer of the University of California, and Peter Zandstra of the University of Toronto. Serving as consultants to the panel are Jon Rowley of Lonza Biosceinces, Joseph Gold of the Geron Corporation, and Ronald McKay of the Lieber Institute for Brain Development.

The May 24 workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 110 at the National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd. in Arlington, VA. The workshop is free, but space is limited, so registration is required. A video recording of the proceedings will also be available at a later date.

For more information and registration, please visit the SCE study’s webpage at http://www.wtec.org/SCE

About WTEC:

The World Technology Evaluation Center is the nation’s leading organization in conducting international technology assessments via peer review. WTEC has conducted over 70 such studies since 1989 under grants from a variety of Federal agencies. For more information, visit http://www.wtec.org.

###
-End-

U.S. ROBOTICS EXPERTS TO REVEAL FINDINGS FROM TOP LABS IN ASIA

October 5th, 2011


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
9 A.M. EDT, October 4, 2011
Contact: Matt Henderson
Phone: (717) 299-7130

ARLINGTON, VA, AUGUST 4, 2011: A panel of the United States’ top robotic experts will present their findings from a study tour of top Asian labs in a workshop to be held at the National Science Foundation (NSF) on Friday, December 2, 2011.

With sponsorship from NSF, the six-member WTEC Human-Robot Interaction study panel will tour more than a dozen labs in Japan, six in Korea, and will have a joint workshop in Beijing during the week of October 16, 2011.

The purpose is to guide and justify U.S. research & development in light of what is going on in other countries. “We want to see where the U.S. fits in the global perspective,” NSF’s Ted Conway explained at the study’s May 11 kickoff meeting.

It is not a merely academic exercise. “The emphasis… is on where exciting things are going on and where there should be investment,” noted Ephraim Glinert, also of NSF.

New breakthroughs appear likely to revolutionize human-machine interactions in a variety of settings, including healthcare, rehabilitation, education, entertainment, business, manufacturing – even military. The panel will discuss the latest developments in many of these areas and their implications for U.S. policymakers when they issue their report on December 2.

“How will robotics help with economic competitiveness and job creation?” asked Dr. Frank Huband, Director of WTEC’s International division.

That very issue is receiving attention from the highest levels of government. President Barack Obama recently visited Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center to announce a $70 million U.S. Robotics Initiative.

Obama stressed the importance of American manufacturing and business leadership in order to create and retain jobs, stimulate economic growth, and compete on the world stage.

The WTEC Human-Robot Interaction panel is chaired by Dr. Manuela Veloso of Carnegie Mellon University. Also on the panel are Mindy Aisen of the University of Southern California, Ayanna Howard of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Chad Jenkins of Brown University, Bilge Mutlu of the University of Wisconsin, and Brian Scassellati of Yale University.

The December 2 workshop will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Room 555 of the National Science Foundation’s Stafford II building at 4201 Wilson Blvd. in Arlington, VA. The workshop is free, but space is limited, so registration at wtec.org is required. The workshop will also be webcast by TV Worldwide (http://www.tvworldwide.com).

For more information, please visit the HRI study’s webpage at http://www.wtec.org/HRI

About WTEC:

The World Technology Evaluation Center is the nation’s leading organization in conducting international technology assessments via peer review. WTEC has conducted over 60 such studies since 1989 under grants from a variety of federal agencies. For more information, visit http://www.wtec.org.

###
-End-

R&D + M = R&D&M

August 7th, 2011

For decades the US has been investing in research and development, but neglecting manufacturing.  Since it is only the manufacturing of products that can repay investments in R&D, this strategy is really a loser–except for multinationals.  They can make money manufacturing abroad–no American workers are needed, except few sales clerks at $8 per hour.   

This is hardly rocket science, but many efforts to reap the benefits of American R&D in America have been ineffective.  But we have to keep trying.  The latest effort was announced by the Obama Administration on June 24–the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership.  This old EE might call it AMP, or R&D&M, adding manufacturing as an essential follow-on to R&D.

WTEC analyzes alternate universes abroad to seek policies that work.  Some countries (you know who you are) have made a spectacular success from the M part, sometimes without much of the R&D part, at least to start.  Learning from abroad is essential in finding strategies for zero-sum games–like seeking world market share of high-tech sales.  It’s silly to contemplate your own navel to see what has to be done; you have to learn from your successful competitors.  Let’s start by banishing the term, R&D alone, and always adding the manufacturing part: R&D&M.

I’ll discuss the Administration’s new AMP program in the next post in this context.

 R. D. Shelton

Patently Absurd

May 4th, 2011

An important science and technology policy development was drowned out last week in the cacophony of carnival barkers questioning the president’s birthplace.  The United States Patent and Trademark Office announced that it would be postponing the implementation of reforms aimed at improving the efficiency of the patent application approval process.  This unfortunate decision resulted from Congress’s decision to raid some 100 million of the USPTO’s self supported dollars.  It is all the more ironic that the announcement came just days before World Intellectual Property Day, a day meant to celebrate the protection of intellectual property worldwide.

      As pointed out in an article by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the reforms would have included a pilot program for fast-tracking patent approval for an extra fee, opening a satellite office in Detroit, much needed upgrades to the USPTO’s computer, and hiring of personnel–necessary to simply keep up with the increasing pace of applications.  In a recent White House video blog, Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, explains how the average patent takes three years to be approved because of a patent office straining with insufficient resources.  The recently delayed reforms were designed to address these problems.         Patent protection is critical for businesses competing in industries of the future which are dependent upon technological innovation including biotechnology, nanotechnology, clean energy, and computing.  China is undertaking a concerted effort to compete with the US in these areas of innovation as indicated by a recent Thomson Reuters report on the state of innovation in China.  The report concluded that “if current trends continue, China is set to dominate the patent information landscape in the not-too-distant future.”

     China’s increasing efforts at securing patents should be kept in perspective, and may be a “case of the world’s second-largest economy playing catch up,”  However, it is clear that the US needs to implement reforms to our patent process in order to remain competitive and maintain leadership in science and technology related industries.

Lance Miller

Legacy IT for Kiddies

April 30th, 2011

Mackie, put down Angry Birds!  Vickie, take out those ear buds!  Daddy wants to tell you about old fashioned information technology.  I’ll make this short.

Book.  These were handheld devices that told a story written by a Published Author, which meant that a publisher thought it was good enough to gamble some money to print it.  Thus they were usually pretty good, compared to the blog drivel that anyone can post. [Recursive reference: like this]

Encyclopedia. A shelf full of books, similar to Wikipedia, but with alphabetical topics.  It had links, but you often had to get off your duff to get another volume.

Book Store.  Similar to Amazon.com, except you had to drive there.  You could drink their coffee while you read.  Coffee sales did not pay the rent, and replacing the coffee stained books, so these have disappeared.

Library.  Similar to bookstores, but free.  That is, they were paid for by the taxpayers.  The Tea Party decided that they were not worth it.

Telephone.  A early cell phone, amazingly connected to the wall by a short cord.  No one could call you while you were trying to trying to drive onto an expressway.  Nice, but the down side was that there was no way to turn them off.  Your daddy once stuffed a phone’s bell with Kleenex, when being repeatedly called by a drunk wanting a cab home.

Typewriter.  Similar to Word, but incredibly primitive.  You retyped a whole page if you made one mistake.

Computer. By just plugging wires into sockets, you could make a little spot of light bob up and down, if you also knew differential equations.

Movie.  A dark place for teenagers to make out.  [No change]

You get the idea.  Readers, if any, are invited to add to this list in the comments.

R. D. Shelton


Switch to our mobile site