2017 Public Policy Symposium

44 Engineering Societies Represented at the Annual Engineering Public Policy Symposium Which Highlighted U.S. Innovation & Competitiveness

The 14th annual Engineering Public Policy Symposium (Symposium), entitled “Federal Investments for Engineering and Science to Spur Innovation and Competitiveness” was convened in Washington, DC on April 25. The lead sponsors were the United Engineering Foundation, ASME (Program Chair), AIChE, AIME, ASCE, and IEEE-USA.   

The Symposium forum encompasses 150 leaders — including presidents, presidents-elect and executive directors — from 44 engineering societies, representing more than two million engineers. Attendees heard from leading thought leaders, government officials, Congressional members, and staff from both sides of the aisle about policy priorities pertaining to federal investments in engineering and science to spur innovation and competitiveness which have a profound impact on the future of engineering and science.

ASME President-Elect Charla Wise provided opening remarks stating “One of the greatest challenges facing this nation is addressing the long-term deficit reduction. But it’s also imperative that the Administration and Congressional leaders strike the right balance between fiscal discipline and building a stronger nation by continuing to invest in research.”   

J. Robert (Bob) Sims, Treasurer of the United Engineering Foundation, then introduced Matt Hourihan, Director of the R&D Budget and Policy Program at American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Hourihan provided enlightening contrasts between recent Congressional appropriations on R&D and several of the recent proposals from the Trump Administration to reduce R&D funding at key science and engineering agencies.

Following Hourihan’s presentation, Stephen Moore, Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity, and Robert D. Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, took part in the discussion, “Divergent Views on Federal Investments for Engineering and Science to Spur Innovation, Productivity and Competitiveness.” The program also included a panel session, “Federal Agencies: Research and Technologies,” featuring Philp Singerman, Ph.D., Associate Director, Innovation and Industry Services, National Institute of Standards and Technology; Barry W. Johnson, Ph.D., Acting Assistant Director, Directorate for Engineering, National Science Foundation; and Timothy Unruh, Ph.D., Deputy Assistant Secretary for renewable power, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office, U.S. Department of Energy. The panel session was moderated by ASME Executive Director Thomas Loughlin.

Funding for this annual event is provided by the United Engineering Foundation.

Karen S. Pedersen (far left), President of IEEE-USA, introduces the “Federal Agencies: Research and Technologies” panel session during the Engineering Public Policy Symposium on April 25. Participating in the panel discussion were (foreground, left to right) moderator Thomas Loughlin, Executive Director of ASME, Philip Singerman of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Barry Johnson of the National Science Foundation, and Timothy Unruh of the U.S. Department of Energy. (Photo by Samantha Fijacko, ASME Government Relations).