Science & Technology

180 Items

Saudi Arabia’s Moment in the Sun

AP/Donna Fenn Heintzen

Analysis & Opinions - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Saudi Arabia’s Moment in the Sun

| May 07, 2019

As part of a high profile tour of China in February, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) has overseen a range of multi-billion dollar pledges and MOUs with Beijing. This partly reflects Riyadh’s desire to diversify sources for investments and technology following the mass withdrawal of major Western business leaders from the Future Investment Initiative in October 2018, after the murder of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul. Yet cooperation with China on renewable energy, if successful, would realize a significant first step towards Saudi Arabia’s lofty ambitions for solar and wind power.

an operator inspects a photolithography tool used to manufacture these solar cells.

Daniel Derkacs/SolarJunction

Journal Article - Research Policy

Governments as Partners: The Role of Alliances in U.S. Cleantech Startup Innovation

Accelerating innovation in clean energy technologies is a policy priority for governments around the world aiming to mitigate climate change and to provide affordable energy. Most research has focused on the role of governments financing R&D and steering market demand, but there is a more limited understanding of the role of direct government interactions with startups across all sectors. The authors  propose and evaluate the value-creation mechanisms of network resources from different types of partners for startups, highlighting the unique resources of government partners for cleantech startups. 

Sovereign Venture Capitalism: At a Crossroad

StockSnap/Pixabay

Analysis & Opinions - The Economist

Sovereign Venture Capitalism: At a Crossroad

| Oct. 03, 2018

What the Iron Man-like character is claiming for his futuristic automotive company is not unheard of. On a systemic basis, mammoth institutional investment—especially from sovereign wealth funds (SWFs)—is flowing into start-ups and technology-oriented publicly traded companies. In this case, Saudi billions would help Mr Musk escape the pressures of being publicly listed. SWFs have invested large sums into high-growth start-ups promising innovation and financial returns. In fact, just this month, Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced a US$1bn investment in Tesla’s rival, Lucid, and a US$2bn stake in Tesla. The rise in SWF balance sheets and activity is having ramifications on global efforts to be more Silicon Valley-like, and on Silicon Valley itself.

Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti

Eliza Grinnell/Harvard SEAS

News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

"Venky" Narayanamurti Honored with Bueche Award

    Author:
  • Leah Burrows
| Oct. 03, 2018

Professor Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti is the Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy at Harvard University, former dean of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and former director of the Belfer Center's Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program. The award is one of the highest honors given by the National Academy of Engineering, and recognizes an engineer who has shown dedication in science and technology as well as active involvement in determining U.S. science and technology policy.

Solar panels at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory gather sunlight at the test facility

AP/Jack Dempsey

Journal Article - MRS Energy & Sustainability

Nurturing Transformative U.S. Energy Research: Two Guiding Principles

The authors raise for debate and discussion what in their opinion is a growing mis-control and mis-protection of U.S. energy research. They outline the origin of this mis-control and mis-protection, and propose two guiding principles to mitigate them and instead nurture research: (1) focus on people, not projects; and (2) culturally insulate research from development, but not science from technology.

How sovereign wealth funds are inflating the Silicon Valley bubble

Flickr/Steve Jurvetson

Analysis & Opinions - The Conversation

How Sovereign Wealth Funds Are Inflating the Silicon Valley Bubble

| Aug. 21, 2018

Elon Musk jolted markets and shareholders when he tweeted his intention to take his electric car company, Tesla, private. Saudi billions, he proposed, could help the company escape the pressures of being publicly listed. In a blog post, Musk said that “the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund [had] approached [him] multiple times about taking Tesla private”.

newer design of a nuclear reactor

DOE/Advanced Reactor Technology

Journal Article - Nature Energy

A Tortoise Approach for US Nuclear Research and Development

| July 30, 2018

In Aesop's fable, a swift hare races with a deliberate tortoise. In the end, the tortoise wins by taking a slow and steady approach. The authors argue that, given the economic constraints on US deployment of nuclear power, a "tortoise strategy" is more prudent for US government nuclear R&D efforts.

A History of the Energy We Have Consumed

Rahm Emanuael/Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - The New York Times

A History of the Energy We Have Consumed

| June 18, 2018

Early in Richard Rhodes’s new book, “Energy: A Human History,” we hear of a prominent citizen using colorful language to lament the state of his polluted city and urge his government to shut down industry or move it elsewhere: “If there be a resemblance of hell upon earth, it is in this volcano [on] a foggy day.” Though this could easily apply to modern-day Beijing, the speaker here is John Evelyn, a wealthy horticulturalist and one of the founders of the scientific Royal Society of London — and he’s complaining about London in 1659.

Dr. Arun Majumdar

DOE/Ken Shipp

Journal Article - Research Policy

Simultaneous Pursuit of Discovery and Invention in the US Department of Energy

There is a sharp boundary between basic and applied research in the organizational structure of the US Department of Energy (DOE). In this work, the authors consider a branch of DOE that was designed to operate across this boundary: the Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy (ARPA-E). They hypothesize that much of energy research cannot be neatly categorized as basic or applied and is more productive outside of the confines of the basic/applied dichotomy; ARPA-E provides an opportunity to test that hypothesis.

teaser image

Journal Article - Middle East Institute

Sovereign Wealth Funds in Small Open Economies

| Apr. 24, 2018

The small open economies of the Gulf and Southeast Asia are pioneers in the establishment of

Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs). The SWFs of countries like Qatar and Singapore are among the

world’s largest in terms of total asset size relative to Gross Domestic Product. This article looks

at the different compulsions behind the setting up of SWFs by small open economies.