Innovation in critical and emerging technologies presents opportunities for governments seeking to maximize economic and military benefits. As a result, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (The Quad), an informal security forum comprised of the United States, Australia, India and Japan has opted to cooperate on innovation in this area. But how best to accomplish this remains unclear. With their winning proposal, Dr. Naoko Aoki and Dr. Amy Nelson will examine ways to maximize innovation and cooperation while minimizing negative competition among the Quad countries in the development of dual-use technologies. Additionally, the work will identify areas for arms control.
Their research will analyze prospects for competition by examining areas of innovation overlap between the four countries of interest. Additionally, Aoki and Nelson will suggest the most promising areas for cooperation. In doing so, the award recipients will focus on better understanding Quad countries’ national models of innovation and will look at each individual country’s existing capacity for innovation generally and in relation to the emerging technologies of interest. Aoki and Nelson also plan to evaluate investment patterns and degree of military integration of critical and emerging technologies to assess each government’s approach to dual-use technology development.
“This proposal was an obvious choice for us,” said CISSM Director Nancy Gallagher, “because it brings together three strengths of the School of Public Policy: technology innovation, security cooperation, and multi-stakeholder governance.” Gallagher, Dean Robert Orr, and Assistant Dean Chandrika Rallapalli constituted the competition’s review committee.
The two recipients will draw on their respective areas of expertise to complete the project. “This grant is a terrific way to incentivize scholars with different strengths to collaborate,” said Aoki, “Amy will be bringing her knowledge and experience regarding emerging technology issues, while I will be contributing my expertise on regional issues and dynamics. I am grateful for the opportunity, and am excited to be working on the project.”
Nelson added, “It’s an honor to have had our project chosen and the grant will allow us to continue this vein of research at a time when technology and innovation play an increasing role in foreign policy. The more we can learn about how and when national models align to facilitate tech-security cooperation and where they are likely to clash, the more we understand about pathways to effective innovation and foreign policy. I’m thrilled the committee saw value in this work.”
The 2021 CISSM Seed Grant competition was launched in 2017 and has supported over half a dozen SPP faculty and student research projects on a range of security and governance-related challenges. The competition is supported by the Yamamoto-Scheffelin Endowment for Policy Research.