America: A “Model” for Energy Security?

Borrowing an idea from reality television, the Department of Energy is injecting a bit of excitement into the world of energy innovation with its “America’s Next Top Energy Innovator” contest that kicks off on May 2.

Secretary Chu unveiled the competition this week as a challenge to entrepreneurs to “move technologies invented in our National Laboratories out of the lab and into the marketplace.”  Only about 10 percent of the 15,000 patents and patent applications from the 17 national labs have been utilized commercially, and the contest supports expanded technology transfer from outstanding inventions to successful business activity.  Winners will receive a discounted rate for licensing National Laboratories patents and a spot at the 2012 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit.

Although the contest won’t feature runway challenges or photo shoots,the contestants will have to create a business plan by the December 15th deadline.  Unlike its televised counterpart however, there are no losers in this competition, and the program is more of an effort to maximize innovation than a zero-sum contest.  To help participants along, DOE has provided examples of potential technologies that could be licensed- including an energy conversion system and semi-conductor materials.

President Obama expanded on the DOE’s announcement in a speech at Georgetown University Wednesday, offering the full picture of the administration’s push for a more “diverse energy portfolio” in the coming years.  Driven by a desire to see one million electric cars on the road by 2015 and have 80 percent of the nation’s electricity come from clean energy sources by 2035, the Obama plan combines short-term plans to diversify supply with far-reaching efforts to establish the U.S. energy market as the leader in clean energy research and development. Read more of this post


Can Trade Drive Development?

On March 15th Wilson Center on the Hill and the Program on America and the Global Economy (PAGE) hosted a discussion on the impact of trade and international markets on developing countries. With almost a third of the world’s population living on less than $2 per day, the need to reduce poverty is critical. The panel focused on the prospects for economic growth through the expansion of trade, and the related policy challenges facing United States lawmakers.  Kent Hughes, PAGE director, moderated the discussion.

Ambassador Peter Allgeier, President of C&M International and a veteran of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, opened the event by stressing the unique aspects of modern trade and placing the current policy challenges within that updated framework. Unlike in the 20th century, most products today are involved in a complex supply chain where goods travel to several different countries before they come to market.  The modern diversified modes of production make it easier for emerging nations to “plug in to small parts of a bigger supply chain,” and increase manufacturing capability more efficiently.

Developing countries must “play by the rules,” Allgeier pointed out, by maintaining low tariffs and working to create a favorable investment climate.  Many expanding markets lack the physical and institutional capacity to support large-scale trade, which can preclude international investment; proper sanitation, rule-of-law, and a stable trade policy are all important factors in economic development, and are lacking in many small markets. Read more of this post

Watch Live – Women and Entrepreneurship: Perspectives from the Middle East and the United States

The live webcast of this event has concluded.  To view a video archive please check back here.

The Middle East Program, the Program on America and the Global Economy, and United States Studies of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars


Women and Entrepreneurship: Perspectives from the Middle East and the United States

March 29, 2011, 8:00 am

Speakers and moderators include:

Noora Al Mannai, Deputy Project Director, Enterprise Qatar; Mark Doms, Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Commerce; Haleh Esfandiari, Director, Middle East Program, Woodrow Wilson Center; Lina Hundaileh, Chairman and CEO, Printing for the Manufacturing of Chocolate; Lilla Hunter-Taylor, CEO, The Staff Hunter; Laila Iskandar, Chairperson, CID Consulting, Egypt; Tami Longaberger, CEO, The Longaberger Company; Sonya Michel, Director, United States Studies, Woodrow Wilson Center; Mary Moorhouse, President of M.J. Moorhouse Consulting; Hanan Saab, Founder and Managing Director, Pharmamed; Elizabeth Vazquez, CEO, WEConnect International; Amy Wilkinson, Public Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center and Senior Fellow, Center for Business and Government, Harvard University

Please rsvp acceptances to or fax 202-691-4001

Posted by: PAGE Staff

Space Flight, Innovation, and American Competitiveness

The space shuttle Discovery recently returned from its 39th and final mission, leaving America’s space program in a state of transition.  Only two more missions remain for the shuttle fleet, and it is unclear what will replace the shuttle as the means of sending humans into space.  The goal is that the end of this program can give way to another in which deep space exploration is the within reach.  The hope is that retiring the expensive shuttle fleet will free up federal money for developing new launch systems that can penetrate into deep space or smaller spacecraft capable of quickly ferrying people and provisions to and from the international space station.  Congress, however, has been hesitant to commit funding for the next phase of human space flight as it seeks ways to cut spending with the specter of increasingly large deficits looming ever-present.

The situation looms larger as it relates to overall American competitiveness and employmentThe US holds a comparative advantage in the highly skilled space industry, which may become a key global industry over the next century, according to former Rep. James Bacchus (D).  In effect, maintaining a robust space program is not just about saving ordinary American jobs, but those that utilize skills and knowledge that will be critical for American innovation in the 21st century.  Rep. Sandy Adams (R) recently stated that “human space exploration has contributed greatly to our nation’s economy, national security, and has fueled American ideas for innovation and technology.  NASA’s human space flight program has been an American flagship and a symbol of strength for our country and has inspired children to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”

Posted by: Jason Schall

Sources:,,, the space review,

Photo credit: Space shuttle liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center: Merritt Island,  Florida courtesy of flickr user State Library and Archives of Florida

You are Invited: Nuclear Power, Spent Fuel Management, and Nonproliferation

Invitation from the Woodrow Wilson Center’s International Security Studies

and the Los Alamos National Laboratory

Topic:               Nuclear Power, Spent Fuel Management, and Best Practice for Nonproliferation

Speaker:           Roger Cashmore, Professor of Experimental Physics, Oxford University; and Working Group Chair, Royal Society Science Policy Project on Nuclear Nonproliferation

Wednesday, March 30, 2011, noon to 1:30 p.m.

Location:          5th Floor Conference Room

Woodrow Wilson Center in the Ronald Reagan Building,

One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

For directions see the map on the Center’s website at Please bring a photo ID and allow additional time to pass through a security checkpoint.

This meeting is part of an ongoing series that provides a forum for policy specialists from Congress and the Executive, business, academia, and journalism to exchange information and share perspectives on current nonproliferation issues.  Lunch will be served.  Seating is limited. This meeting will be off-the-record.

rsvp (acceptances only) to

Posted by: PAGE Staff

Partnering with Business: The Changing Role of Business in Education

The following is an event summary from a program held by the  Program on America and the Global Economy at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

On March 2, a panel of Albert Einstein Distinguished Fellows focused on The Changing Role of Business in Education. Educators from across the nation, the Fellows serve in offices on Capitol Hill and in several federal departments.  They discussed ways that business partnerships are enabling new and innovative educational practices in their school districts.  Kent Hughes, director of the Program on America and the Global Economy, moderated the panel.

Hughes introduced the topic by referring to previous efforts at partnerships between business and education, such as the Business Roundtable’s assignment of two CEO’s to each governor in the wake of the education summit called by President George H.W. Bush.  Hughes commented that “being involved in education is one of the best forms of enlightened self-interest because today’s students are tomorrow’s engineers, the next generation of technical workers, and the next generation of informed citizens.”

The first panelist to speak was Brenda Gardunia, who has twenty years of experience teaching high school math in Idaho.  She described ways in which a partnership with a technical center in her area has allowed students to focus more on transitioning to a career, including through competitive paid internships.  “We must realize that not all students are going to go to an academic college,” she said.  According to Gardunia, partnerships between schools and businesses have advantages for both sides, with students gaining real world experience and businesses gaining a deeper pool of potential employees.  Gardunia also argued that these partnerships have strengthened community ties and have inherent public relations advantages.  Most importantly, through the teaching of these “21st Century Skills,” Gardunia argued that students emerge from school better prepared to be a productive member of our global knowledge economy. Read more of this post

You are Invited – Europe’s Energy Security in the Balance

The European Energy Security Initiative, the Program on America and the Global Economy,

and the Global Energy Initiative

invite you to a

Panel discussion

Europe’s Energy Security in the Balance:

What Future for the Southern Energy Corridor?


Peter Doran, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA)

Andrea Lockwood, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Eurasia, Africa and the Middle East, U.S. Department of Energy

Adnan Vatensever, Senior Associate, Energy and Climate Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Moderater: Alexandros Petersen, Advisor, European Energy Security Initiative, Woodrow Wilson Center

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

6th Floor Flom Auditorium

RSVP acceptances only

For directions visit

Posted by: PAGE Staff