Securing America's Future: Realizing the Potential of the DOE National Laboratories

Dear Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Feinstein, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee,

Thank you for offering us the opportunity to submit testimony to the subcommittee. We would also like to thank Senator Coons for his continued leadership in the area of National Lab policy and for engaging our group.

It is an honor to be able to offer our perspective on a topic that is of great importance to the national interest; the topic of "realizing the potential of the Department of Energy National Laboratories" is of enormous professional and personal significance to me.

My name is Venkatesh Narayanamurti. I am currently the Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy and Research Professor of Physics at Harvard University. I was formerly the Dean of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Dean of Physical Sciences at Harvard.

Previously, I served as the head of the Semiconductor Electronics Research Department and then as Director of the Solid State Electronics Research Laboratory at AT&T’s Bell Laboratories. From 1987 to 1992, I was Vice President of Research at Sandia National Laboratories.

It was in these roles that I came to understand some of the key principles that underlie my testimony. Namely, that innovation is fostered when control over the research agenda resides as close as possible to the researchers in the lab. Management should support the judgment of scientists to the greatest extent possible. Additionally, it has become very clear to me that the traditional "linear model" of innovation that bifurcates research into "basic" and "applied" varieties hinders innovation....

The full written testimony may be downloaded below.

For more information on this publication: Please contact Energy Technology Innovation Policy
For Academic Citation: Narayanamurti, Venkatesh, Laura Diaz Anadon, Gabe Chan, and Amitai Y. Bin-Nun. “Securing America's Future: Realizing the Potential of the DOE National Laboratories.” Testimony to United States Senate, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water Development. Washington, D.C, October 28, 2015.

The Authors

Laura Diaz Anadon