NIST logo
*
Bookmark and Share

Remarks by Dr. William Jeffrey
Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Access to STEM Talent PostDoc Conference
National Institute of Standards and Technology
June 27, 2007


Access to STEM Talent

On behalf of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, I would like to extend a warm welcome to our postdocs and cosponsors of this event. This event shows how collaboration between State and Local governments, Federal laboratories, academic institutions, industry, foundations, and professional organizations can benefit the entire community.

Today is a great opportunity for postdocs to quickly scan the research opportunities available in this region – and for potential employers to quickly scan the talent available.

To the postdocs – boy is your timing great! Not since Sputnik (well before you were born – go Google it!) has the nation become so focused on the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (known as STEM) to our future.

For instance -- the National Academies Report, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” highlighted the need for more STEM talent if the U.S. is to continue leading the world economically. Likewise, the Administration has acted to increase the STEM talent pool with the American Competitiveness Initiative – or ACI.

The ACI will, among other things, double over 10 years funding for innovation-enabling research at key Federal agencies in the physical sciences and engineering and aims to greatly increase the number of STEM graduates.

And this is in addition to the recent doubling of the investment in life sciences at the NIH. As President Bush said, “Science and technology have never been more essential to the defense of the nation and the health of our economy.”

So you are at the right place in your careers -- at the right time. The next decade will see enormous growth in research and development opportunities in government, industry, and academia. The competition and collaborations internationally will continue to grow. With advances in nanotechnology, biosciences, and information technologies – the world may literally be transformed.

This century will, in fact, be defined by new technologies that fundamentally change the products and services available, the way they are manufactured and provided, and the impact on our quality of life.

You are now riding the crest of that STEM wave. And there are few places in the country that can offer as many opportunities and as bright a future as this region. With world-class universities, industries at the cutting-edge of the physical and life sciences, and federal laboratories that are literally winning Nobel prizes – this region of the country is a global powerhouse in many of the emerging transformative technologies.

So look around – check out the opportunities – and know that you are embarking on an exciting career that will not only be personally fulfilling – but will, quite literally, impact the future health and vitality of the nation. Thank you.