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Thought Leadership Forum: ‘The Future of Science’

By Tamara Cissna

The College of Science is pleased to announce “The Future of Science – Thought Leadership Forum” on Monday, March 7, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., in the Horizon Room (hybrid format).

This forum provides an exciting opportunity for the College of Science community to engage together in vigorous analysis and deliberative dialogue as we contemplate our future. The gathering is a part of the College’s strategic planning process as, in a community-wide effort, we develop a plan for the next five years.

The event is open to all members in the College, and attendees are welcome to join all or some of the sessions. Register now.

“The purpose of this forum is to engage faculty, staff and students in envisioning a bold future for the College,” said Roy Haggerty, dean of the College of Science. "As a community, we will deliberate, identify opportunities, cast a vision for the future, and plan concrete actions to realize our shared goals. I look forward to stimulating dialogue and insights shared by speakers who have led science at the highest levels.”

The College of Science launched its strategic planning process in Fall 2021. Chaired by Associate Dean Vrushali Bokil, the Strategic Planning Committee, composed of faculty, staff and students from across the college, is conducting community engagement, visioning and assessment to develop the next strategic plan.

The forum’s keynote speakers will share their visions for the future of science and will challenge the College of Science to engage in this new future. Moderated breakout sessions, led by strategic planning committee members, will provide an opportunity for dialogue among smaller groups of faculty, staff and students to discuss priorities and emerging ideas. Strategic Planning Committee facilitators will record key ideas presented and the range of dialogue heard across the course of the day. This input will help inform the development of the strategic plan.

Invited guest speakers

Kelvin Droegemeier, Regents Professor of Meteorology, Weather news Chair Emeritus, and Teigen Presidential Professor at the University of Oklahoma

Laura Greene, Chief Scientist, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (Florida State University, University of Florida, and Los Alamos National Laboratory), Marie Krafft Professor of Physics at Florida State University.

Rosalyn (Roz) Hobson Hargraves, Division Director of the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Holden Thorp, Editor-in-Chief, Science Family of Journals.


Morning session

8:00 a.m. – Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – Dean Haggerty introductions of speakers and provost

8:45 a.m. – Provost Edward Feser welcome

9:00 a.m. – Laura Greene

9:30 a.m. – Q&A with Laura Greene

9:45 a.m. – Break and mingle

10:00 a.m. – Breakout sessions for COS community

11:00 a.m. – Rosalyn Hargraves (virtual)

11:30 a.m. – Q&A with Rosalyn Hargraves

11:45 a.m. – Break and mingle

Lunch: Noon - 1:30 p.m.

Afternoon session

1:30 p.m. – Holden Thorp (virtual)

2:00 p.m. – Kelvin Droegemeier (virtual)

2:30 p.m. – Break and mingle

2:45 p.m. – Open Q&A

3:15 p.m. – Break and mingle

3:30 p.m. – Breakout Sessions for COS community

4:30 p.m. – Strategic planning report out from both sessions

5:00 p.m. – Happy Hour

Evening session for students

6:00 p.m. – Breakout Session for COS students

7:00 p.m. – Event ends

Keynote speakers

Laura Greene is Chief Scientist at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (Florida State University, University of Florida and Los Alamos National Laboratory) and the Marie Krafft Professor of Physics at Florida State University. Greene is an expert in quantum mechanics known for her discoveries and research in unconventional superconducting materials and high magnetic fields. She also is a leading advocate for diversity in science and a champion for women in scientific and engineering fields. Greene is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology (PCAST).

Laura Greene, a woman with short curly hair.

Laura H. Greene is chief scientist of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

Forum talk: Future of Materials Research in the U.S. – Domestic and International

I was a co-chair of the National Academy’s “Frontiers of Materials Research, a Decadal Survey,” which was designed to enable us to understand, control, and expand the material world. On the President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology (PCAST), I co-chair an exploratory group entitled “Innovation and Competitiveness,” which is no less daunting. There are important overlaps in these two projects that go well beyond specific research directions to be taken. After a short discussion of the Decadal Survey, I will present ideas that might innovate our national labs and research universities. I will then discuss the importance of regional innovation hubs – all of which would complement each other. In the U.S., it is not just that the funding of basic research as a percentage of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) has fallen dramatically, but how we use our federal research dollars will make a big difference. International collaboration must also play a crucial role.

Rosalyn Hargraves

Rosalyn (Roz) Hobson Hargraves is Division Director for the Division of Undergraduate Education in the NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources, which works to strengthen STEM education at two- and four-year colleges and universities.

Hargraves is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). In addition to STEM education, Dr. Hargraves’ research interests also include diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education, machine learning, biomedical signal and image processing, and the role of science and technology in international development.

Hargraves has consulted with private industry in the area of machine learning and co-founded a start-up, SPT (Signal Processing Technologies), based upon her research in biomedical image processing.  She has been awarded sponsored research grants totaling over $25M from federal, state, foundation, and industrial sources primarily in the area of STEM education and training. Her professional service has included membership on two National Academies Committees, and she currently is elected to serve on the American Council on Education Council of Fellows board, the Bon Secours Richmond Health System Board, and as a Richmond Memorial Health Foundation Trustee. She received her Bachelor's, Master's and Doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia.

Woman smiling in front of a green background

Dr. Rosalyn (Roz) Hobson Hargraves is Division Director for the Division of Undergraduate Education in the NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources.

Forum talk: Advancing Access, Equity, Innovation and Excellence in Undergraduate STEM Education: Programs in the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education

The National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education’s mission is to promote excellence in undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for all students. DUE’s current programs constitute a comprehensive approach to strengthening STEM education at two-and four-year colleges and universities by improving curricula, instruction, laboratories, infrastructure, assessment, diversity of students and faculty, and collaborations. An overview of the National Science Foundation’s priorities, the proposed new NSF directorate, and all of DUE’s programs will be discussed.

Holden Thorp became Editor-in-Chief of the Science family of journals on 28 October 2019. He came to Science from Washington University, where he was provost from 2013 to 2019 and where he is Rita Levi-Montalcini Distinguished University Professor and holds appointments in both chemistry and medicine.

Holden Thorp, Editor-in-Chief of the Science family of journals.

Holden Thorp, Editor-in-Chief of the Science family of journals.

Forum talk: The Future of Science is Both Exciting and Uncertain

It’s the best of times and the worst of times in science. The best of times because exciting problems like protein folding, pan-coronavirus vaccines, quantum computing, and more precise climate modeling are solved or in reach. The worst of times because public skepticism of science continues to increase, and governments are moving to restrict access to higher education and impede the ability of scholars to seek the truth. Balancing all of this will require a savvier approach to communication and more focus on the sociology of science in addition to research.

Kelvin K. Droegemeier is an American research meteorologist, most recently having served as director of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Droegemeier is known for his research in predicting the development of extreme weather events, and previously served as Oklahoma Secretary of Science and Technology and the Vice President for Research at the University of Oklahoma. He currently is serving as Regents Professor of Meteorology, Roger and Sherry Teigen Presidential Professor, and Weather news Chair Emeritus at the University of Oklahoma.

Kelvin K. Droegemeier, a man in glasses wearing a suit.

American research meteorologist Kelvin K. Droegemeier.

Peering into the Crystal Ball of America’s Research Enterprise: Time to Shake the Etch-a-Sketch

America is blessed with an exceptional and, in many cases, world-leading innovation ecosystem that arose principally following World War II. It consists of a wide array of post-secondary colleges and research universities, career technical schools, Federal agencies, which both fund and perform research, Federal and national laboratories, non-profit foundations, independent research institutes, research and teaching hospitals, and for-profit corporations. Countless statistics unequivocally demonstrate the highly productive nature of this enterprise, ranging from the number of Nobel Laureates produced to trillion-dollar companies placing humans in space. Yet these successes come almost in spite of an increasingly self-imposed and stifling regulatory environment, decades-old unresolved challenges involving partnerships among ecosystem sectors, a funding environment increasingly averse to intellectual risk-taking, and models of education and training which, though making progress, are far from achieving the diversification and scale-up required to redress embarrassing underperformance on a global scale and engage all quarters of the Nation. The time therefore has come to “shake the Etch-a-Sketch” and be as bold and transformative in our research frameworks and policies as we have been in our ideas to understand the natural world and innovate for the benefit of society. The COVID pandemic is a global use case from which we can draw wisdom, and this presentation highlights some possibilities to consider in moving America to an entirely new level of capability across the entire innovation ecosystem.