MacArthur announced four grants totaling nearly $8 million to Carnegie Mellon, Cornell and Princeton universities and the Georgia Institute of Technology to increase the number of faculty positions and researchers working on projects at the intersection of science and security policy. The grants are made as part of the Foundation’s $50 million Science, Technology and Security Initiative.
Five other U.S. universities and 25 other research institutions in Europe, Russia, and China have received funding through the Initiative since it was launched in 2003 in an effort to help expand the pool of independent experts in the U.S. and internationally who can provide objective technical analysis of international security issues. The Initiative is designed to nurture a new generation of experts working on issues at the intersection of science, technology and policy and to close gaps in knowledge about the technical aspects of national and international security.
“The number of specialists providing independent analysis of nuclear and biological weapons dangers falls far short of the international community’s needs, especially as the threat of terrorism has grown,” said Jonathan F. Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation. “The diffusion of nuclear weapons material and expertise, and the emerging dangers from biotechnology and cyberspace pose new and profound threats to international peace and security. There should be more substantial engagement between policymakers responsible for decisions regarding security and technical specialists with the expertise on these new and emerging threats.”
Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security received a grant of $2.25 million over five years for efforts to reduce dangers from Russian and U.S. nuclear weapons, help contain the threats of nuclear terrorism and proliferation, and encourage cooperation between India and Pakistan to reduce threats from their nuclear arsenals. The Program will also pursue research and outreach to strengthen the capability of U.S. and regional public health systems to cope with bioterrorism and emerging diseases, help minimize the risks from biological research, and develop a new model for multilateral biological weapons control.
A grant of $2 million over five years was awarded to Carnegie Mellon’s Department of Engineering and Public Policy to support nine faculty research projects (including 26 doctoral researchers) on domestic and international security issues, including decontamination after a dirty bomb or chemical attack, critical infrastructure vulnerabilities to cyber attacks, and estimating the potential damage from, and response to, an incident of nuclear terrorism.
Cornell University received a grant of $1.86 million over five years to provide support to a new tenured position in science and security and potentially for a second permanent research position devoted to technical security studies. The grant will sponsor research to explore the development and spread of knowledge in the biotechnology and nano-technology areas and for research related to ballistic missile defenses and space security. In addition, funding will support post-doctoral visitors, doctoral students, and visiting scientists from institutions abroad.
The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs received a grant of $1.84 million over five years to fund two new tenured faculty positions and provide support to dozens of mid-career and graduate research fellowships in science and security. The grant will also fund three research initiatives on security in cyberspace, efforts to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the development of a public-private partnership among federal, state and local agencies to prevent bioterrorism.