Reports & Papers

21 Items

Report - Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Belfer Center

Inventing the Future to Address Societal Challenges: Venky Narayanamurti's 75th Birthday

| September 19-20, 2014

Some of America's most distinguished leaders in academia, science, and technology gathered at Harvard on September 19 and 20, 2014, to celebrate the 75th birthday of renowned Harvard scientist Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti — and to discuss the future of innovation in America.

Discussion Paper - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

Energy Technology Expert Elicitations for Policy: Workshops, Modeling, and Meta-analysis

| October 2014

Characterizing the future performance of energy technologies can improve the development of energy policies that have net benefits under a broad set of future conditions. In particular, decisions about public investments in research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) that promote technological change can benefit from (1) an explicit consideration of the uncertainty inherent in the innovation process and (2) a systematic evaluation of the tradeoffs in investment allocations across different technologies. To shed light on these questions, over the past five years several groups in the United States and Europe have conducted expert elicitations and modeled the resulting societal benefits. In this paper, the authors discuss the lessons learned from the design and implementation of these initiatives.

Paper - American Academy of Arts & Sciences

A Worst Practices Guide to Insider Threats: Lessons from Past Mistakes

| April 2014

Insider threats are perhaps the most serious challenges that nuclear security systems face. Insiders perpetrate a large fraction of thefts from heavily guarded non-nuclear facilities as well, yet organizations often find it difficult to understand and protect against insider threats. Why is this the case? Part of the answer is that there are deep organizational and cognitive biases that lead managers to downplay the threats insiders pose to their nuclear facilities and operations. But another part of the answer is that those managing nuclear security often have limited information about incidents that have happened in other countries or in other industries, and the lessons that might be learned from them.

Paper

Strengthening Global Approaches To Nuclear Security

| July 1, 2013

Despite substantial progress in improving nuclear security in recent years, there is more to be done.  The threats of nuclear theft and terrorism remain very real.  This paper recommends learning from the much stronger national and international efforts in nuclear safety, and in particular taking steps to build international understanding of the threat; establish effective performance objectives; assure performance; train and certify needed personnel; build security culture and exchange best practices; reduce the number of sites that need to be protected; and strengthen the international framework and continue the dialogue once leaders are no longer meeting regularly at the summit level.

Discussion Paper - Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Belfer Center

The Discovery-Invention Cycle: Bridging the Basic/Applied Dichotomy

| February 2013

In this paper we hope to provide an alternative point of view. By examining both the evolution of the famous "linear model of innovation" — which holds that scientific research precedes technological innovation — and the problematic description of engineering being "applied science" we seek to challenge the existing dichotomies between basic / applied research, science and engineering, tracing how knowledge travels between different knowledge domains through a case study of a selected group of Nobel Prizes in physics.

Report Chapter - Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

Impacts of Climate-Related Geoengineering on Biological Diversity

    Authors:
  • Phillip Williamson
  • Robert Watson
  • Georgina Mace
  • Paulo Artaxo
  • Ralph Bodle
  • Victor Galaz
  • David Santillo
  • Chris Vivian
  • David Cooper
  • Jaime Webbe
  • Annie Cung
  • Emma Woods
| September 2012

Working from a mandate from the 2010 Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), this report compiles and synthesizes available scientific information on the possible impacts of geoengineering techniques on biodiversity, including preliminary information on associated social, economic, and cultural considerations.

This undated handout photo provided by the National Nuclear Security Administration shows the United States' last B53 nuclear bomb. The 10,000-pound bomb was scheduled to be dismantled Oct. 25, 2011 at the Pantex Plant just outside Amarillo, Texas.

AP Photo

Paper

Safe, Secure and Effective Nuclear Operations in the Nuclear Zero Era

| April 2012

Without significant change in the geopolitical landscape, nuclear weapons will remain a relevant portion of America's long-term national security strategy. Therefore, the burdens and responsibilities of maintaining an effective nuclear deterrent force are paramount to ensure credibility for America and her allies. Bottom line: nuclear weapons and nuclear deterrence are still relevant today and for the foreseeable future. Therefore, to maintian international strategic stability we must embrace the necessity of nuclear deterrence, develop strategic policy that supports deterrence as an essential element and adequately resource the enterprise.

Paper

The Need for the Next Special Operations Forces' Mobility Aircraft

| June 2012

The proliferation of threat systems and Anti-Access, Area Denial (A2/AD) strategies make performing special operations forces' (SOF) air mobility missions increasingly complicated and limit the capability to defeat air defenses and penetrate into denied airspace. Combined with an aging inventory, ill suited to evading these threats, Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) must look to technology to defeat the more modern threat systems and anti-access strategies. The best answer to penetrate future, denied regions is in stealth or low observable (LO) technology.

Report - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

Transforming U.S. Energy Innovation

The United States and the world need a revolution in energy technology—a revolution that would improve the performance of our energy systems to face the challenges ahead. In an intensely competitive and interdependent global landscape, and in the face of large climate risks from ongoing U.S. reliance on a fossil-fuel based energy system, it is important to maintain and expand long-term investments in the energy future of the U.S. even at a time of budget stringency. It is equally necessary to think about how to improve the efficiency of those investments, through strengthening U.S. energy innovation institutions, providing expanded incentives for private-sector innovation, and seizing opportunities where international cooperation can accelerate innovation. The private sector role is key: in the United States the vast majority of the energy system is owned by private enterprises, whose innovation and technology deployment decisions drive much of the country's overall energy systems.

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Governing Climate Engineering: Scenarios for Analysis

    Author:
  • Daniel Bodansky
| November 2011

 

Geoengineering grows in salience, the more time that passes without an effective international regime for mitigating climate change. It will be in the background of negotiations at COP 17 in Durban—and, perhaps, in the foreground of some important discussions. This discussion paper by Daniel Bodansky explores the opportunities and risks presented by geoengineering, as well as the particular challenges to crafting an effective system of governance for this set of approaches to addressing climate change