Skip to main content

Frontiers in Science and Innovation Policy

The Frontiers in Science and Innovation Policy (FSIP) program was launched in 2021 to take on the challenge of analyzing how best to reinvigorate the U.S. system of basic research and innovation in a world that is markedly different than even 30 years ago.  

Scientific discovery and innovation are becoming much more dispersed and interdependent globally. China is a rival for leadership in science and economic strength in a way that the Soviet Union never achieved. The financial instruments propelling discovery and its translation are very different. FSIP will examine the global reality of interdependence with clear-eyed attention to U.S. economic and security interests, bringing together a practical program for progress.  

FSIP approaches its research with the guiding premise that there are three primary strategic U.S. approaches to science and technology policy.

  • Maintain and benefit from the global system of research and innovation
  • Identify frontiers in which the U.S. and its allies must lead
  • Identify areas where broader global collaboration is desirable

About the Program

An expert advisory group will convene to inform and shape FSIP research and policy dialogue, including two top science and technology policy leaders: Robert Conn and Peter Cowhey

FSIP will produce reports that will inform and evaluate U.S. science and innovation policy under the current administration and its successors. Robust, data-driven analysis will be a valuable resource for policymakers as they consider options for investing resources and the potential outcomes of specific policies. The findings of the reports will also be valuable to industry stakeholders in science and innovation as they assess their choices for business development and acquisition.

In parallel to this effort, FSIP will convene a team of experts to assess the unique role of scientific philanthropy in the U.S. innovation system. Understanding the role of philanthropy is critical because it is a key differentiator between the discovery and innovation ecosystems of the U.S. and China, and most of the rest of the world.  


Rigorous research is the hallmark of all GPS initiatives – faculty publications and participation in innovation policy convenings will offer the intellectual leadership shaping the agenda. FSIP will communicate its effort through a range of activities, such as: 

  • San Diego Forum – FSIP will launch an annual forum designed to engage scholars and the world’s most notable thinkers in science and innovation policy, and to complement work being done at the school’s 21st Century China Center’s West Coast Forum on Science & Technology. 
  • Science and Innovation Fellows – The center will appoint postdoctoral fellows to FSIP and connect these emerging researchers in science and innovation policy with some of the most important leaders in the space.
  • Innovative Research – The center will provide flexible funds for general research and outreach expenses, such as field expenses, dataset subscriptions and travel reimbursement to influential events.
Innovation Research concept, 3D rendering

Exploring new frontiers in science, innovation

New initiative in the Peter F. Cowhey Center on Global Transformation (CCGT) seeks to understand the ecosystem of philanthropic giving in the U.S. – and how philanthropic giving can help the U.S. maintain its edge as a country of innovation

Read More