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PCAST recommends bold actions to ensure American leadership in industries of the future

July 09, 2020

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is recommending a set of bold actions to help ensure continued American leadership in Industries of the Future (IotF), comprising artificial intelligence (AI), quantum information science (QIS), advanced manufacturing, advanced communications, and biotechnology. The three pillars underpinning these actions are: enhancing multi-sector engagement in research and innovation; creating a new institute structure that integrates one or more of the IotF areas and spans discovery research to product development; and ensuring the availability of a qualified, diverse IotF workforce.

PCAST recommends that federal agencies take full advantage of their administrative authorities to partner with industry and academia in new and innovative ways, particularly to ensure the effective transition and translation of early-stage research outcomes into applications at scale. In the area of AI, this includes establishing a joint AI Fellow-in-Residence program, AI Research Institutes in all 50 states, national AI testbeds, partnerships for curating and sharing large datasets, joint international programs for attracting and retaining the best global talent, and research and development (R&D) and training for trustworthy AI.

The second pillar of PCAST’s report homes in on a new model for leveraging the strength of America’s National Laboratories to enhance and accelerate substantial front-to-back progress in IotF. The cornerstone recommendation involves establishing a new type of world-class, multi-sector R&D institute that catalyzes innovation at all stages of R&D — from discovery research to development, deployment, and commercialization of new technologies. Two areas are identified as candidates for initial flagship institutes. The first would focus on the integration of AI and advanced manufacturing, while the second would combine AI and biotechnology to enhance biosecurity, biosafety, and biosphere sustainability.

Success in those areas depends on the nation’s ability to strengthen, grow, and diversify the STEM workforce at all levels. In order to do so, America must create STEM training and education opportunities for individuals from all backgrounds, STEM and non-STEM, including underrepresented and underserved populations, the report notes.

The June report is the culmination of a process begun in November 2019 to develop a set of recommendations to help ensure American leadership in artificial intelligence, quantum information science, advanced manufacturing, advanced communications networks, and biotechnology. Created by Executive Order in 2019, PCAST advises the president on matters involving science, technology, education, and innovation policy.

science, technology, artificial intelligence, stem, workforce