America puts itself into economic and strategic danger
if it does not address key challenges to its global
competitiveness, experts from Johns Hopkins and elsewhere
told a Capitol Hill audience last week.
The panel, convened for a session called "Rekindling
the Passion for Innovation," addressed about 200 university
alumni and friends, congressional staffers, policy
advocates and others during the first Johns Hopkins
Gathered in a Senate office building, the group
discussed shortcomings in K-12 education, lack of student
interest in advanced science and technology education,
regulatory and legal obstacles to innovation, restrictions
on foreign students and other problems facing America
"The government has fallen short in this country in
providing a framework in which the for-profit and nonprofit
sectors can function," panelist Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md.,
Sarbanes called for long-term, consistent and
dependable government investments in education and in
research and development. "I find it very frustrating that
we can't get the system structured properly," he said.
University President William R.
Brody moderated the discussion, describing what he
called an "increasing unwillingness on the part of American
society to accept or tolerate risk, especially the kind of
daring entrepreneurial risk that is capable of creating
entirely new industries."
Others on the panel were Nicholas Jones, dean of the
Whiting School of Engineering; Chi Dang, vice dean for
research in the School of Medicine; Aris Melissaratos,
secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and
Economic Development; and Deborah Wince-Smith, president of
the Council on Competitiveness.
Panelists also described opportunities for increased
competitiveness that are opened up by new research
directions in the life sciences and information
The Johns Hopkins Government Forum was sponsored by
the offices of Government, Community and Public Affairs and
Alumni Relations. The next event in the new public policy
series, "The Science, Ethics and Politics of Stem Cell
Research," will be held in Washington on Nov. 15.
Additional sponsors are the Phoebe R. Berman Bioethics
Institute and Johns Hopkins Medicine.