The letter below is from IFP co-founders Alec Stapp and Caleb Watney
The Institute for Progress (IFP) is celebrating our one-year anniversary!
When we launched IFP, we said that “progress is a policy choice.” We wanted to accelerate the pace of scientific, technological, and industrial progress by identifying key policy areas that are important, tractable, and neglected.
Our mission led us to focus on three initial policy verticals: metascience, high-skilled immigration, and biosecurity. These issues are each tremendously important for the long-term future, and vastly underrated as a share of the policy discourse in DC. We’ve made significant progress in each of these areas over the last year (more details in the highlights section below!).
IFP’s accomplishments over the last year are thanks to an amazing group of team members and affiliated scholars. We are grateful and humbled that they chose to take a chance on a new organization by sharing their time, talent, and ideas with us:
Juan Cambeiro, Biosecurity Fellow
Arielle D'Souza, Endless Frontier Fellow
Aidan Mackenzie, Endless Frontier Fellow
Lindsay Milliken, Immigration Fellow
Jeremy Neufeld, Senior Immigration Fellow
Adin Richards, Biosecurity Fellow
Santi Ruiz, Senior Editor
Kristen Treanor, Executive Assistant
Heidi Williams, Director of Science Policy
Pierre Azoulay, MIT
Matt Clancy, Open Philanthropy
Ina Ganguli, UMass Amherst
Ben Jones, Northwestern University
Todd Moss, Energy for Growth Hub
Kyle Myers, Harvard Business School
Paul Niehaus, UC San Diego
Nikki Teran, Open Philanthropy
Dan Correa, Federation of American Scientists
Zach Graves, Lincoln Network
Tamara Winter, Stripe Press
For 2023, we’re excited to announce a fourth policy vertical: infrastructure. With the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the CHIPS and Science Act, more than $1.5 trillion of public investment will be spent on climate, energy, transportation, manufacturing, and other critical areas of American infrastructure. The purpose of our research and advocacy will be to unblock bottlenecks to building in the world of atoms, ensuring that public money translates into real physical infrastructure that benefits Americans.
As part of this work, we’re bringing Brian Potter on board in a full-time capacity as a Senior Infrastructure Fellow. Brian will work on policy research projects, provide his expertise to policymakers in DC, and continue delighting readers with his Construction Physics newsletter.
In each of our policy verticals, we’re focused on nonpartisan opportunities to unblock American progress. Our work on metascience has shown how the federal government can help jumpstart the pace of progress by iteratively improving the way it funds and structures science. On immigration, we’ve pushed for streamlining high-skilled immigration pathways through both the legislative and executive branches, which is essential for maintaining American technological leadership. And our biosecurity team has pushed policymakers and public health officials to invest in innovative technologies that could prevent future pandemics and protect our country from bioweapons.
This year, we’re excited to ramp up our work. We’re deeply grateful for your continued support.
Caleb and Alec
✍️ Research Highlights
Caleb and Heidi wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post on how policymakers can improve the incentives for biomedical innovation following reforms to prescription drug pricing
Alec wrote an article for The Atlantic on the implications for policymakers of taking seriously the idea that climate change is an emergency
Alec, Brian, and Arnab Datta wrote a related permitting reform research report
As part of this report, we also drafted legislative text to aid policymakers
Jeremy advocated in The Wall Street Journal for changes to the H1-B visa allocation method
In American Affairs, Caleb outlined the tools on hand to make the federal government more entrepreneurial and dynamic: “But Seriously, How Do We Make an Entrepreneurial State?”
Jeremy and Alec wrote a piece for Noah Smith’s newsletter outlining the case for high-skilled immigration reform
Nikki wrote an article explaining the vital role BARDA has played in accelerating next-gen technologies to fight pandemics, and why the agency deserves more funding
Jeremy produced several reports highlighting the importance of STEM immigration for our defense industrial base and for critical technologies like semiconductor manufacturing
We also made a splash in media outlets — IFP’s work was featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Vox, Bloomberg, The Economist, Foreign Policy, and many other publications
📈 Project Highlights
With 1Day Sooner and the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), we co-hosted a conference on lessons from Operation Warp Speed featuring many key leaders that helped make OWS a success, including Alex Azar, Moncef Slaoui, Paul A. Ostrowski, Peter Marks, Paul Mango, and Robert Kadlec
Arielle also wrote a piece following the event breaking down the OWS model and how it could be applied to future policy efforts
We launched our Visa Limbo project, a website dedicated to continuously tracking the U.S. visa delays around the world and spotlighting potential solutions
We launched the Metascience Working Group with FAS and the J-PAL Science for Progress Initiative. This group will provide a new forum for surfacing ideas and insights that could inform the design of science funding programs
Heidi and Paul wrote a related piece in Works in Progress about the ways that science can improve as a field by embracing experimentation
We hosted an online PhD-level course with more than 80 participants on the Economics of Ideas, Science, and Innovation, which was led by our senior fellows: Pierre Azoulay, Matt Clancy, Ina Ganguli, Ben Jones, Kyle Myers, and Heidi Williams
PS: Special shoutout to our friends at the web design firm And—Now who have helped us craft the IFP aesthetic by designing our primary website and the microsites seen above
so amped for this year!