The Fiscal Cliff: How it Affects MIT

Event Description - The Fiscal Cliff: How it Affects MIT

Friday, December 7, 2012
Watch a recording of the Webinar (webpage)
View the slides from the Webinar (PDF)

Will R&D fall off the fiscal cliff? Policymakers still haven't taken action to avoid sequestration. The sequester was a huge set of budget cuts put in place by Congress as a carrot to make sure the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (known as the "Super Committee") acted to develop a balanced deficit reduction strategy. As a result of the Super Committee's failure to come up with a balanced strategy, the discretionary budget -- which includes the funding budget for all the major science research agencies -- will see a huge across-the-board cut of about 8.7% take effect on January 2, 2013.

In this webinar, Claude Canizares, Vice President for Research at MIT, will talk about how MIT is preparing for severe cut backs due to these impending threats to federal science research funding. Bill Bonvillian, Director of the MIT Washington Office, will offer further overview about the impact sequester will make to America's innovation economy. John Gavenonis of the Alumni Association Board of Director will direct the conversation and time will be made available for questions.  

As part of the effort to enhance opportunities for alumni to participate in messaging to Congress and your community on issues of importance of MIT, two suggestions will be sent as part of a larger "Call to Advocacy" following the presentations and discussion. These "Calls to Advocacy" will include a targeted draft letter ready for your edits and to send to your Congressman. A similar letter will also be included that you can edit or send as is to the Letter to the Editor section of your local paper. We urge you to use these tools to ask Congress to act to stop sequestration and also to raise awareness in your community about the disastrous impacts of sequestration.


William B. Bonvillian

William B. Bonvillian, since January 2006, has been Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Washington, D.C. Office. At MIT, he works to support the Institute’s strong and historic relations with federal R&D agencies, and its role on national science policy. Prior to that position, he served for seventeen years as a senior policy advisor in the U.S. Senate. His legislative efforts included science and technology policies and innovation issues. He worked extensively on legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security, on Intelligence Reform, on defense and life science R&D, and on national competitiveness and innovation legislation.
He has lectured and given speeches before numerous organizations on science, technology and innovation questions, is on the adjunct faculty at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins, and has taught courses in this area at Georgetown, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, MIT and George Washington. He serves on the Board on Science Education of the National Academies of Sciences, and has served on the Academies’ Committees on “Learning Science: Computer Games, Simulations and Education,” on “Modernizing the Infrastructure of the NSF’s Federal Funds (R&D) Survey” and on “Exploring the Intersection of Science Education and the Development off 21st Century Skills.” He also serves on the Board of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and on the Advisory Council of the Mystic Seaport Museum. He was the recipient of the IEEE Distinguished Public Service Award in 2007 and was elected a Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011 for “socially distinguished” efforts “on behalf of the advancement of science and its applications.”

Prior to his work on the Senate, he was a partner at a large national law firm. Early in his career, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director of Congressional Affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation, working on major transportation deregulation legislation. He received a B.A. from Columbia University with honors, an M.A.R. from Yale Divinity School in religion; and a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he also served on the Board of Editors of the Columbia Law Review. Following law school, he served as a law clerk to Hon. Jack Weinstein, a Federal Judge in New York. He has been a member of the Connecticut Bar, the District of Columbia Bar and the U.S. Supreme Court Bar.

CanizaresClaude Canizares

Professor Canizares is the Vice President for Research and Associate Provost and the Bruno Rossi Professor of Physics at MIT. He has overall responsibility for research policy and administration at the Institute. He oversees more than a dozen interdisciplinary research laboratories and centers, including the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the Koch Institute for Intergrative Cancer Research, the Plasma Science and Fusion Center, and the Research Laboratory of Electronics.

Professor Canizares earned his BA, MA and Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University. He came to MIT as a postdoctoral fellow in 1971 and joined the faculty in 1974. Professor Canizares is currently the Associate Director of the Chandra X-ray Observatory Center and a principal investigator on NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. He has also worked on several other space astronomy missions and is author or co-author of more than 230 scientific papers.

Professor Canizares’ service outside MIT includes the Department of Commerce’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Emerging Technology and Research Advisory Committee, the National Research Council’s (NRC) Committee on Science, Technology and the Law, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Alliance for Sustainable Energy Board of Directors.  He served as chair of the NRC’s Space Studies Board and was a member of the NASA Advisory Council and the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, among others. He is also a member of the L-3 Communications, Inc. Board of Directors.  Professor Canizares is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the International Academy of Astronautics and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the American Physical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  He has also received several awards including decoration for Meritorious Civilian Service to the United States Air Force, and two NASA Public Service Medals.

John Gavenonis '98

John Gavenonis is the leader of the Legislative Advocacy Network of the MIT Alumni Association. John is serving as a term director on the Association board, and has volunteered for MIT since graduation, in roles for young alumni and MIT10, and the MIT Club of the Delaware Valley. John is the Government Affairs Committee (GAC) Chair for the Delaware Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS), where he is responsible for ACS policy advocacy with Delaware’s federal legislators. In the past several years, John has organized regular meetings with Senator Thomas R. Carper (D-DE), Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), Senator Ted Kaufman (D-DE), Congressman Michael N. Castle (R-DE), and their staff, both in Delaware and Washington. In addition, John assists ACS with federal science policy recommendations and training of new GAC Chairs and policy advocates as a member of the ACS Committee on Chemistry and Public Affairs (CCPA). Outside of MIT and ACS, John Gavenonis is the Global Technology Manager for Renewable / Sustainable Materials for DuPont Performance Polymers in Wilmington, Delaware. In this position, he leads DPP's global R&D program to develop new engineering thermoplastic resins derived from renewable feedstocks. John earned his Ph.D. in inorganic / organometallic chemistry under the direction of Professor T. Don Tilley at University of California, Berkeley. He received his S.B. degree in chemistry where he conducted undergraduate research with 2005 Nobel Laureate Professor Richard R. Schrock..

Amanda Arnold

Amanda Arnold, Senior Policy Advisor, previously worked for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where she served as Legislative Affairs & Health Policy Analyst at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NGHRI). While at NHGRI, Amanda offered technical assistance to Congressional staff, and functioned as the public liaison on genome policy issues, including gene patents and personalized medicine.Prior to joining NIH, Amanda served as Legislative Aide to U.S. Senator Jon Tester of Montana with expertise in Transportation, American Indian health care, and Science and Technology Policy issues, including NASA. Amanda worked in both the Montana and Arizona state legislatures on issues including children's healthcare and immigration. Amanda also served as professional staff on numerous local, state, and national campaigns, including the 2008 Presidential race.Originally from Montana, Amanda earned a Masters degree (MSc) in Science and Technology Policy with a focus on vaccine development funding mechanisms from the University of Sussex (UK), while also working in London for a university-based think tank, the Campaign for Science and Engineering in the UK (CaSE). While an undergraduate at Arizona State University, Amanda completed a year at the University of Edinburgh where she worked with the Scottish Parliament drafting legislation, (subsequently passed), to provide public funding of assistive technologies for people with severe speech disabilities.

Contact Information
Primary Contact
Christine Tempesta
Date & Location
Date: 12/7/2012
Time: 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM