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Important discussions unite leading US policymakers at Babbage meetings

Published on July 17th 2023

The Babbage Forum organised two meetings in the United States, where top policymakers gathered for focussed discussions on the recent rapid developments in US industrial policy.

At this time of significant global change, the first meeting in Washington focused on federal-level policymaking for industrial innovation. Key policymakers provided perspectives from a range of sectors, including manufacturing, energy, health, semiconductors, defence and space. Identifying current challenges for policymakers, the group also discussed recent policies such as CHIPS and IRA, the effectiveness of their implementation, how they affect their sectors and the potential looking forward.

During the second meeting in Atlanta, policymakers examined how innovation and growth are developed at the regional level. The meeting discussed the response to federal policies as well as looking at how regions can effectively develop independent policies, as demonstrated in Atlanta and Georgia as a whole.

The meetings form part of a series of national roundtables concentrating on major global challenges for policymakers, with meetings already taking place in France and South Korea.

Representatives from over twenty Government departments and external organisations attended including: The White House Office of Management and Budget, The Office of Science and Technology Policy and The National Science Foundation.

Meaningful connections for positive change

The Babbage Forum plays an increasing role in creating connections, strengthening relationships, and building networks between policymakers:

“Facilitating spaces that promote engagement amongst policy audiences and creating opportunities to discuss and interact around evidence and learning lies at the core approach of the Babbage Fourm. Founded upon a multidisciplinary approach to industrial innovation policymaking, The Forum is working with senior practitioners from around the world and establishing an environment for international policymakers to jointly identify and explore key challenges and opportunities.”

Gordon Attenborough, Policy Lead at the Babbage Forum

A Babbage conference in September will help build on these national engagements by convening international policymakers and fostering a deeper understanding of current challenges and opportunities in industrial policy. The conference will specifically look at industrial innovation policymaking in Energy, Semiconductors and Health, including current concerns over supply chain resilience and global shifts towards greater technology sovereignty.

The aim is that the national events – together with the September conference – will foster opportunities for sustained dialogue and cooperation among leaders driving industrial policy transformation.

The Babbage Forum gratefully acknowledges the particular support of William Boone Bonvillian and Professor Thomas Kurfess, who arranged the meetings in Washington and Atlanta, respectively. 

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We bring together a global network of experts from economics, engineering and operations management with a shared interest in industrial innovation policy.