Capitalizing on the G7 Research Compact

December 2021

Albert P. Pisano

Last week, I co-authored a Policy Forum in the journal Science entitled "Capitalizing on the G7 Research Compact." The topic is the dire need for international science and technology research agreements for robust collective action in research and development. At a high level, our argument is that there are a series of global challenges that can only be effectively addressed by multilateral, public-private applied research and development collaboration. These challenges include the design and deployment of 6G wireless networks, cross-border digital epidemiology, resilient AI-enabled global supply chain management, infrastructure resilience in the face of sea-level rise, and sustainable aviation and propulsion systems. 

While I'm not a tech policy person, I ended up in these circles through my efforts to make engineering and computer science research and education as relevant as possible. As an engineering dean, I understand the importance of engineering schools partnering with others to take on projects that no faculty-led lab, company, or industry can solve alone. The students, faculty, and staff of the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego are especially adept at this. Our ability to partner across campus and across industries helps us graduate students who are ready for the complexity of engineering and computer science in the real world. 

But what happens when the scope of the challenge makes it impossible to stop at the national border, and we must embrace an international solution? I ran into this first hand through discussions on how and why to set up new kinds of research infrastructure for the wireless technologies of the future. 

I'm well aware that conversations about international research agreements are fraught with controversy in different circles for different reasons. I firmly believe, however, that there are many win-win scenarios that can be developed.

In this coming year, I will be redoubling my efforts with the U.S. Federal government to reinforce the message. Second, I will also be reaching out to other universities to build national consensus. Third, I will be working in a number of international venues to convey the message that there are groups in the U.S. that are eager to engage. I hope you'll read the Policy Forum in Science, and if you support the premise, I hope you'll share it with people who can make a difference. (It looks like I've signed myself up for a busy 2022!)

As we near the end of this calendar year, I wish you peace, health, and the energy to pursue what matters most to you. I look forward to another year of advancing efforts here in San Diego and well beyond that to strengthen our collective ability to leverage engineering and computer science for the public good. 

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Albert ("Al") P. Pisano, Dean
UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering