January 18, 2023
The New York Times recently published an article where Rena Conti, Associate Professor of Markets, Public Policy, & Law, discussed the one-year pilot project, led by Erica R.H. Fuchs, of a proposed National Network for Critical Technology Assessment.
In September, Conti and 22 other professors from 13 research universities were awarded a $4 million grant for the one-year pilot project. If the pilot is successful, the National Science Foundation’s new Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships will fund a larger, ongoing operation. In accordance with the CHIPS and Science Act passed last year, the agency is responsible for studying national challenges and the technologies that might help solve them. Conti’s focus for the project is on health care supply chains. To improve the reliability of ingredients that continue to be imported from abroad, her group is investigating technologies such as synthetic biology and advanced manufacturing that would enable more reshoring of production, as well as additional inspections and technical assistance with quality control.
Conti said Fuchs excels at working across the boundaries of disciplines, and despite not being an economist, Fuchs is an associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. “Economists might not necessarily be understood by engineers and vice versa. She’s helping us find a common language to resolve commonly perceived challenges,” Conti said.