Obama Advisor at CNS Conference: Tech Solutions to Global Crises

CNS-UCSB News
October 26, 2009

News from the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

MEDIA CONTACT:  Anna Davison, Center for Nanotechnology in Society, University of California, Santa Barbara, +1 (805) 893-5929, adavison@cns.ucsb.edu

Obama Advisor Aneesh Chopra—New US Tech Czar—on Innovative Solutions to Global Crises

Chopra will address conference Nov. 4 on using technology to solve environmental, energy, water, food security, and health problems in developing nations

(Santa Barbara, CA, and Washington, DC) -- As the world’s population swells, environmental problems, energy limitations, shortages of clean water and food, and health threats are becoming crises, particularly in less developed countries.

Innovations in nanotechnology, biotechnology and information technology could help, but only if they reach the places where they can offer the greatest benefits. Making the most of these emerging technologies demands unprecedented international collaboration, and committed leadership from the United States.

Next month, leaders from government, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, academia, and science and technology from around the world will come together in Washington, DC to look for ways to put new and existing technologies to work for the global good. The “Emerging Technologies/Emerging Economies: (Nano)technology for Equitable Development” conference, to be held November 4 to 6, will involve more than 60 participants from the United States, Europe, three of the largest emerging economies—China, India, and Brazil—and other developing nations.

Aneesh Chopra, who was named the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer by President Barack Obama in April, will give the conference’s keynote address at 1 p.m. Wednesday, November 4 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

The Emerging Technologies/Emerging Economies conference will connect researchers focused on new technologies with people working on the ground in places where those technologies could make a real difference, and with policymakers who can help make that happen.

“If the world doesn’t solve its problems of energy, water, food security, and health, we’ll all pay the price,” says conference co-organizer Richard Appelbaum, a professor of Sociology and Global & International Studies, and co-principal investigator at the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Nanotechnology in Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The conference is being hosted by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Emerging Technologies/Emerging Economies will include discussions on how clean water can be produced cheaply using nanotechnology, how energy from sugarcane has powered development in Brazil, and how strategic partnerships are being used to provide solid state lighting in developing countries—as well as other wide-ranging discussions on a range of promising technologies and how they can be applied around the globe.

Much of the work at the conference will be done in facilitated sessions that encourage dialogue, information sharing, and collaboration across borders. “Rather than coming to a conference, listening, and leaving, participants will be challenged to take part in real discussions, brainstorm, build networks, and think about new solutions to the world’s problems,” Appelbaum says.

For more information on the Emerging Technologies/Emerging Economies conference, visit http://nanoequity2009.cns.ucsb.edu.