September 28, 2017
(As prepared for delivery)
I’d like to thank Minister Fedeli and the government of Italy for their warm welcome and exceptional work hosting the G7 Science Ministerial here in Turin. It has been my pleasure to represent the US science and engineering research community in this international venue.
The United States recognizes that science and technology are critical to achieving our highest priorities: national security, economic growth, and job creation. The ingenuity of our research community, in partnership with the government and the private sector, has built an innovation ecosystem whose successes originate with investments in basic research. The history of science is replete with examples of basic research leading to real world applications and commercializations.
I think it was particularly fitting that we started with a discussion of the need for a commitment to improving technical training through Science, Technology, and Math (STEM) education and apprenticeships. This is critical to increasing the number of people who can contribute to and benefit from the new knowledge economies. Last Monday, President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum directing the US Department of Education to invest a minimum of 200 million dollars in grant funding each year to expand STEM and computer science education in schools. The US private sector then joined this initiative by pledging over 300 million dollars for computer science programs.
We also had the opportunity to talk about many of the other big topics facing the research community today such as:
- Interdisciplinarity and the move to convergence research
- Partnerships for innovation
- The research and workforce demands of the new digital technologies
- Responsible conduct of science and research integrity
- And the importance of effective public communication of science
The United States also recognizes that long term, sustained investments in state-of- the-art research infrastructure, such as gravitational wave observatories, provides the capabilities needed to conduct world-leading research. Maintaining and modernizing this infrastructure is critical to getting the best value out of R&D investments. We also recognize the advantages of a merit-based peer review system for guiding investments in research and infrastructure.
It is essential that nations can come together to discuss these important issues, and we look forward to continuing work on these objectives. Thank you.