Sam Nunn School Receives MacArthur Foundation Grant

MacArthur Foundation Renews Support of Sam Nunn School of International Affairs

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation recently announced four grants totaling nearly $8 million to Georgia Tech, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell and Princeton universities to increase the number of faculty positions and researchers working on projects at the intersection of science and security policy. The grants are made as part of the Foundation's $50 million Science, Technology and Security Initiative -- an effort to help expand the pool of independent experts in the U.S. and internationally who can provide objective technical analysis of international security issues.

"This is a sure sign of our growing maturity as a university, and I am pleased to have seen this happen while I am privileged to be here," says Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough.

"The continuing support of the MacArthur Foundation will allow us to create an enduring community of scholars at Georgia Tech dedicated to providing the best independent scientific and technological advice on the security policy challenges facing the United States and the world," says William Long, chair, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. "This program exemplifies the commitment of Georgia Tech and the Nunn School to bridging the worlds of technology and policy to find solutions to the problems of the 21st century."

The Sam Nunn School received a renewal grant of $1.84 million that extends the initial grant for five years. The new grant will fund four research initiatives on information security and cyber threats; the role of information and communications technology in societal reconciliation and reconstruction following conflict and examining cases such as Rwanda, Mozambique and Afghanistan; initiatives to reform the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in light of recent challenges posed by North Korea and Iran; and continue to develop a public-private partnership among federal, state and local agencies to prevent bioterrorism. This grant will also fund one new tenured faculty position and provide support to dozens of mid-career and graduate research fellowships in science and security through the Nunn Security Program. Assistant professor Mike Best holds one faculty position under the terms of the original grant, and the renewal award will fund a second faculty hire in the area of Science, Technology, and International Security. The School will begin a search for this faculty position shortly.

Co-principal investigators are John Endicott, professor of international affairs and director of the Center of International Strategy, Technology and Policy (CISTP), and Seymour Goodman, professor of international affairs and computing. Endicott is a leader in developing a Nuclear Free Zone in northeast Asia and for this work was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. Goodman is co-director of CISTP and co-director of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC).

The Foundation's Science, Technology and Security Initiative is designed to nurture a new generation of experts working on issues at the intersection of science, technology and policy and to close gaps in knowledge about the technical aspects of national and international security.

"The number of specialists providing independent analysis of nuclear and biological weapons dangers falls far short of the international community's needs, especially as the threat of terrorism has grown," said Jonathan F. Fanton, president of the MacArthur Foundation. "The diffusion of nuclear weapons material and expertise, and the emerging dangers from biotechnology and cyberspace pose new and profound threats to international peace and security. There should be more substantial engagement between policymakers responsible for decisions regarding security and technical specialists with the expertise on these new and emerging threats."

A major goal of MacArthur's grantmaking in international peace and security is to reduce the dangers posed by nuclear and biological weapons. To do this, the Foundation awards grants to strengthen independent scientific and technical advice on security policy, to develop new approaches in cooperative security, and to support policy research and engagement.

In addition to the Science, Technology and Security Initiative, grants are also made to develop new and effective policy approaches to arms control, non-proliferation, and disarmament. Funds are made available to organizations working to encourage transnational collaboration to reduce tensions, prevent accidents, and avert new arms races.

The Foundation also makes grants to bring information, analysis and conceptual frameworks to the attention of lawmakers and policy advisors. It supports projects that engage policymakers in discussions of national and international security issues, facilitates the flow of new ideas to policy leaders, and ensures that scientific and technical expertise is made available to decision makers.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is a private, independent grant making institution dedicated to helping groups and individuals foster lasting improvement in the human condition. With assets of $5 billion, the Foundation makes grants of approximately $200 million each year.