Institute for Progress — May 2022 Update
We’re happy to announce that the IFP team continues to grow!
Matt Clancy has joined us full-time as our Senior Innovation Economist, which will allow him to focus on building his living literature review of the economics of innovation (New Things Under the Sun) as well as work on special policy projects.
We are in the final stages of the selection process for the Endless Frontier Fellowship which we are running with our partners at the Federation of American Scientists and Lincoln Network. Thank you to all those who applied — we were blown away with the quality of the applicant pool for our first year. If you didn’t make the application deadline this year, please do consider applying next year!
✍️ Published Work
IFP Senior Immigration Fellow Jeremy Neufeld published an article in Lawfare explaining why subsidies for onshoring semiconductor manufacturing need to be paired with green card cap exemption for immigrants with advanced STEM degrees
Key stat: “In 1990, the United States manufactured about 40 percent of the world’s semiconductors. Today, the country produces about 10 percent… The electronic component manufacturing industry is heavily reliant on international talent. ACS data show that from 2015 through 2019, 75 percent of STEM Ph.D.s employed by the industry in the United States were born abroad.”
IFP Senior Biosecurity Fellow Nikki Teran wrote a piece explaining the Biden administration’s pandemic preparedness budget request
Key stat: “If the government invested at [a rate of $16 billion] every year for 100 years and were able to stop one COVID-19 sized pandemic at the current cost to the U.S. economy of between $10 and $22 trillion, that would be a 10x return on investment.”
Nikki’s research on BARDA was cited by Matt Yglesias in a recent post on Slow Boring about pandemic preparedness funding
“Nikki Teran, in her pro-BARDA writeup for the Institute for Progress, offers the even sharper example of smallpox. There is basically no market for smallpox countermeasures because nobody gets smallpox. But the virus is sitting around in a Russian freezer, and if it gets out, we’ll be glad BARDA has helped shepherd two smallpox antivirals and a next-generation smallpox vaccine through development.”
Caleb spoke with Ian Ward at Politico about why U.S. public policy is a high leverage opportunity for improving the world
The Institute for Progress’s leaders, Caleb Watney and Alec Stapp, are both EAs who share Bankman-Fried’s conviction that EAs should be doing more to leverage the power of public policy to mitigate long-term threats. ‘Public policy is still extremely important and still underrated’ by most EAs, wrote Watney in an email. ‘A lot of these U.S. policy interventions or policy advocacy movements have much fuzzier payoffs and probabilities of success — but they’re just as important for shaping the future and doing good in the world.’”
Jeremy spoke with The Economist magazine about STEM immigration to the U.S. from Russia
Policymakers in Washington are looking for ways to capitalise on their disenchantment. America has often benefited from troubles abroad… ‘These kinds of immigrants increase entrepreneurship, invention and growth,’ says Jeremy Neufeld of the Institute for Progress, a think-tank. About 23% of America’s patents are produced by immigrants. Mr Neufeld estimates that nearly half of all advanced-degree holders in its defence industry were born abroad.”
Axios cited Jeremy’s work on STEM workforce needs in our defense industrial base:
“Two critical sectors currently hinge on foreign-born STEM talent in the U.S.: In the defense industrial-base sector, which includes aerospace and weapons development for the U.S. military, half of the advanced STEM degree holders are foreign-born, according to the Institute for Progress.”
🎤 Interviews & Events
Caleb will be speaking on a panel at Breakthrough Dialogue 2022: Progress Problems in Sausalito, CA
Nikki spoke with Brink Lindsey from the Niskanen Center about how we can better prepare for the next pandemic
Matt will be speaking on a panel at a Stanford University conference answering the question: “How Should We Fund Science?”
Caleb is on the award committee for the inaugural Science of Science Policy Leadership Award which will be awarded at the upcoming International Conference on the Science of Science and Innovation.
☀️ New Things Under the Sun by IFP Senior Innovation Economist Matt Clancy
🏗️ Construction Physics by IFP Senior Fellow Brian Potter
👀 Progress Is Possible in DC (what we’re watching)
49 former national security leaders sent a letter to Congress citing IFP research which called for exempting international advanced technical degree holders from green card caps in a bid to maintain U.S. science and technology leadership, especially over China
👋 Tweet for the Road