WASHINGTON — Senator Todd Young believes the United States is in a space race, except this new race has to do with technology and making sure the U.S. stays ahead of China in that regard.
Young is pushing his Endless Frontier Act before lawmakers on Capitol Hill. It would bolster U.S. leadership in critical technologies through fundamental research in artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, and advanced manufacturing.
“In response to Sputnik, the federal government spent, in today’s dollars, $140-billion to put a man on the moon and win the space race,” Young said in a Senate hearing on the bill. “The success of NASA would lead to spin-offs in hundreds of new industries, new products came online and American leadership in aerospace was realized.”
“I believe we are starting another Sputnik moment right here but this time it will be China’s investment in emerging technologies taking place alongside this,” Young added. “These funds would be used to crowd in the expertise of private industry but also of our global partners and allies.”
The bill would pump money into programs at major colleges and universities throughout the U.S. to invest in education surrounding these emerging technologies. However, Dr. Marie Miranda, provost of the University of Notre Dame, said the money would also bolster partnerships between schools like Notre Dame and smaller community colleges.
“You’re thinking about not just training Ph.D.’s but also training associate degrees who are not going to invent the cybersecurity systems but managing the cybersecurity systems on a daily basis,” Miranda said.
Miranda said these partnerships for the basis of “regional tech hubs” in which bigger and smaller schools alongside private companies work together to build up and learn about new technologies.
She said this has already been a successful model in Indianapolis and in places all throughout northern Indiana, and that the funding from the New Frontier Act would “light it all on fire.”