If Virginia is to successfully address the significant challenges it faces, it must engage the insight and experience of its very best scientists, engineers, and physicians. The Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine is dedicated to making this expertise available to business and government throughout the Commonwealth.
The Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (VASEM) is designed to be a valuable resource for independent expertise to help with science and technology policy matters facing the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Virginia Academy brings together some of the most distinguished members of Virginia’s science, engineering, and medical communities, men and women who are recognized for solving the most complex real-world problems in their fields. Its membership consists of approximately 150 men and women, including those individuals elected to the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine who live and/or work in the Commonwealth. This nonpartisan network of experts is unique to the Commonwealth and provides rigorous analytical and scientific support to inform policy decisions critical to the future of the State.
Here are a few of the highlights of the 2019-20 year.
The COVID-19 events of this spring have underlined the importance of the scientific, engineering, and medical expertise the Virginia Academy brings to bear for the good of the Commonwealth. Many of our members are actively involved in responding to the crisis—and we are planning to play an active role in restarting our economy once the threat decreases. We previously raised awareness about the possibility of a pandemic, focusing our 2017 Annual Summit on the theme of Emerging Infections and Preparedness. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was our keynote speaker. Dr. Fauci made it clear that “federal administrations should expect to face future infectious disease crises.” Dr. Fauci’s example only highlights the value of scientific expertise in making public policy. You can find the 2017 Summit report on our website.
We are pleased to have completed the first year of the VASEM Commonwealth of Virginia Engineering and Science (COVES) Fellowship program. Starting this summer, six graduate student scientists and engineers from participating Virginia universities served for 12-weeks as science advisors at legislative offices, executive agencies, and prominent companies and nonprofits in Virginia. Funding for the initial offering has been provided by five of the Commonwealth’s universities and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, established by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla. You can find the details of this program on our website.
We will also be assisting the State with its new Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA), which was established during the 2020 Virginia legislative session. As part of the VIPA authorization, the Virginia Academy was designated to provide technical support for all VIPA activities. In addition, we are continuing our work on sea level rise. Thanks to the quality of the expertise the Virginia Academy assembled for our 2018 Annual Summit on Securing Prosperity in the Coastal Zone, the legislature passed a joint resolution that tasks the Joint Committee on Technology and Science with tapping the expertise of the Virginia Academy and others to conduct a study on the impacts of sea level rise and coastal flooding in Virginia. The Study is underway.
The Virginia Academy stands ready to do more to secure a healthier, safer, and more prosperous future. That’s why I encourage you to join forces with us to create a better Virginia for its businesses and citizens.