The 21st Century Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan program of research and activism designed to explore and promote new directions in government science and technology policy in the post-Cold War era. The 21st Century Project advocates disarmament, defense conversion, and a reorientation of scientific and technological investments toward solutions to significant national and international problems such as environmental deterioration, job scarcity and the quality of work, and community stability. The 21st Century Project also stresses the need for democratizing decision-making about new scientific and technological priorities.
In July 1993 The 21st Century Project published a 200-page book -- entitled The 21st Century Project: Setting a New Course for Science and Technology Policy -- which described new trends in science and technology policy and alternatives to the Clinton administration's approach. An executive summary of this report was mailed to over 7,500 people, including every major newspaper in the United States, most senior federal agency officials, every member of Congress, and about 2,000 public interest organizations across the country.
The 21st Century Project is currently exploring the development of a new vehicle for democratizing science and technology policy, a new National Forum on Science and Technology. The Project has received two grants from the National Science Foundation to help develop the idea for a new National Forum, an idea first proposed by a task force of the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government. The 21st Century Project has hosted two meetings on the National Forum, and has convened an "interim governing council" of twenty national leaders. The National Forum project is now affiliated with the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, in Austin, Texas.
The 21st Century Project works in cooperation with other organizations pursuing complementary goals. From 1991 to 1994, the Project has worked with a coalition seeking to reform the mission of SEMATECH, a major government-industry collaboration, based in Austin, Texas, supporting research and development in the semiconductor industry. In 1992 this coalition was successful in changing SEMATECH's mission statement and funding to include environmental and workplace safety R&D. In 1993, The 21st Century Project co-sponsored, with the National Commission for Economic Conversion and Disarmament, the first National Technology Conversion Conference, held in Washington, D.C., a meeting which attracted over 250 participants.
The Project's coordinator, Gary Chapman, speaks about The 21st Century Project and its program all over the United States and in Europe. He has given invited presentations recently to the executive committee of the National Institute of Standards and Technology; to the staff of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; and to the Working Group on Science and Technology Policy of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In 1994, Chapman will be a Wingspread Center national lecturer, in a series sponsored by the Johnson Foundation and broadcast on National Public Radio. He has also appeared as an invited guest on NPR's national call-in show, "Talk of the Nation" with Senator John D. Rockefeller and Deputy Secretary of Commerce for Technology Mary Good.
The 21st Century Project offers written material promoting its vision of a new and sustainable future. Articles written by leaders of The 21st Century Project have appeared in The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, The Communications of the ACM, South Atlantic Quarterly,and other publications. The 21st Century Project has been mentioned in similar national publications. In 1995, The MIT Press will publish a collection of essays assembled and edited by The 21st Century Project in observance of the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Vannevar Bush's book, Science: The Endless Frontier, one of the most influential books in U.S. history.
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