Once gravity modification has been demonstrated as a plausible future technology, stakeholders from the academic, governmental and private sectors should be included as gMOD Institute collaborators.
Public policy planning can not afford to lag far behind since the technology would have the potential to make obsolete some established industries while allowing others to flourish. Threatened industries might initiate lobbying efforts for both state and federal legislation to restrict deployment and protect existing commercial interests. The same happened in recent years as citywide wireless broadband technologies were blocked by protectionist legislation backed by incumbent interests.
Federal and international regulations should be established to develop standards for usage without impeding its reasonable growth. International bodies overseeing standards in transportation, health, safety and other arenas should seek coordination of oversight. Each nation, province, state, even local municipality should develop long range plans for embracing a technology that could both disrupt their existing economic base and spur new economic development. Just navigating those waters will likely become a growth industry. However it is also an opportunity for institutes and schools of public policy, technology management, transportation, engineering and design to anticipate, forecast, and get ahead of a pending wave.
At the University of Minnesota, the disciplines organized by a Gravity Modification (gMOD) Institute should be interdisciplinary and wide ranging. The University provides a wide range of resources, both academic and those in support of local communities, appropriate to discussing the opportunities and challenges inherent in new technology applications such as gravity modification.
Below are some resources at the University that may be interested in playing a role as this technology develops:
- The Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs’ Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy – The center provides a forum for examining the effects of science and technology on society and on the political and economic relationships among nations. It also suggests to policy makers and the public designs for government policies and institutions that would promote and support appropriate research and development regionally, nationally, and internationally in order to maximize the social rate of return on our investments.
- University Metropolitan Consortium – The new University Metropolitan Consortium links resources concerned with understanding metropolitan change and development, metropolitan studies and urban and regional planning. Areas include housing, urban development, city planning and transportation to name a few.
- College of Design – Housed in this college are architecture, urban design and product design… areas of critical importance in developing new products and architecture for the urban landscapes that gMOD would greatly change. The college seeks to advance the quality and value of the natural, designed, and social environments, with a focus on the interaction of people and their world.
- Institute of Technology’s School of Mechanical Engineering – For many years, Mechanical Engineering has been ranked among the top ten ME departments nationally. Research areas include Design and New Product Realization, Intelligent Transportation Systems and Manufacturing,
- Center for Transportation Studies’ Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Institute – Multidisciplinary research and educational organization, focusing on the application of advanced information-processing, communications, and control technologies to current transportation issues. Included in this arena is connection to Minnesota Guidestar – Minnesota’s intelligent transportation systems program; working to research, test, and deploy advanced transportation technology to save lives, time, and money.
- School of Physics and Astronomy – Physics programs include Condensed matter Physics and Elementary Particle Physics
- College of Design Metropolitan Design Center – The Metropolitan Design Center (MDC) is an endowed center that investigates how design can be used to make the metropolitan landscape more livable and sustainable. It examines urban design across metropolitan areas through projects, research, and education.
- Leapfrog University – Leapfrog University proposes a creative, edgy University that leads in this paradigm will create a vibrant, visionary, hard-charging, front-running and value-creating institution that everybody will be proud to variously support, work for, teach at, matriculate to, collaborate with, and donate toward.
Governmental participants should be both national and local.
Outreach efforts to government agencies should include those involved with state and national economic development, transportation, urban development, economic development and technology transfer. Some of these resources might include:
- Office of Policy Development and Research – PD&R is responsible for maintaining current information on housing needs, market conditions, and existing programs, as well as conducting research on priority housing and community development issues. The Office provides reliable and objective data and analysis to help inform policy decisions.
- Transportation Research Board – The Transportation Research Board (TRB) is a division of the National Research Council, which serves as an independent adviser to the federal government and others on scientific and technical questions of national importance. The National Research Council is jointly administered by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The mission of the Transportation Research Board—one of six major divisions of the National Research Council—is to promote innovation and progress in transportation through research.
- NASA GRC Technology Transfer and Partnership Office – Glenn Research Center (GRC) fuels the economy while developing cutting edge technology that advances aviation and space exploration. Glenn’s researchers specialize in power propulsion, communications and microgravity science.
- Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is the state’s principal economic development agency, with programs promoting business recruitment, expansion, and retention; workforce development; international trade; and community development. The agency’s mission is to support the economic success of individuals, businesses, and communities by improving opportunities for growth.
- Small Business Innovation Research Program – The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program awards federal research and development funding to small businesses, encouraging the entrepreneurial sector to compete on the same level as larger businesses in exploring their technological potential and profiting from its commercialization.
- Minnesota Department of Transportation – Mn/DOT’s mission is to improve access to markets, jobs, goods and services and improve mobility by focusing on priority transportation improvements and investments that help Minnesotans travel safer, smarter and more efficiently.
- Iron Range Resources – Iron Range Resources is a unique state agency designed to help strengthen and diversify the economy of northeastern Minnesota. Specifically, Iron Range Resources serves the interests of the Taconite Assistance Area (TAA), a geographical region encompassing approximately 13,000 square miles that stretches from Crosby, Minn., across the state’s Cuyuna, Mesabi and Vermilion iron ranges to the North Shore of Lake Superior. (See my Feb 17 comments on Spaceport Duluth)
Finally, business groups should reflect local business strengths. Identifying business associations open to potential partnerships for such burgeoning technology will be an important early step. The first step should be here:
- Minnesota High Technology Association (MHTA) – MHTA supports the growth, sustainability and global competitiveness of Minnesota’s technology- based economy through advocacy, education and collaboration.