The National Imperative
The United States has enjoyed a preeminent position with respect to technology and its deployment for the betterment of our economy and security of our nation. The global economy will continue to evolve as emerging nations develop, but it is imperative that the US maintain its leadership role in advancing technology to address society’s greatest challenges and to ensure a safer world.
The most critical resource is talent. As a nation, we must dramatically expand the domestic populations historically underrepresented in the tech disciplines by removing educational and other access barriers in primary, secondary and higher education systems, while continuing to attract the world’s brightest minds to the US through the open campuses and freedom of inquiry that are hallmarks of the US higher education system.
Technology districts across the nation can and must rise to the challenge. Arguably the most important of these, in this context, is the one that exists in our nation’s capital. Proximity matters, as it amplifies collaboration and imbues a focus across the tech ecosystem. There is a strong base in this region consisting of leading corporations, enhanced by Amazon’s decision to locate its HQ2 here, and the federal agencies and policy makers that support technology development, regulate its use, and are the largest consumers of technology on the planet.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, in collaboration with Virginia Tech, established the Innovation Campus to unite the private and public sectors with brilliant faculty and students to catalyze and focus the tech ecosystem in the region on the challenges that matter most to sustaining the US technology edge. The campus offers a bold approach to research and education that fosters deep, durable collaborations across government, industry and academia. It will take all of us working together to achieve this national imperative.