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Science and Technology

Enhancing Resilience and Innovation Equity

Kathryn Coulter Mitchell, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology

Today, we move into Series 2 of our four-part Whole-of-Government R&D Showcase, focusing on “Building Resilience and Innovation Equity.” For S&T and our federal, state, local, and tribal partners, resilience is one of the most demanding responsibilities of our lifetime, and the President’s recent Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework calls upon the U.S. governmental research community to reimagine how we protect and secure our infrastructure and build resilience capacity for the nation.

Just last week, hurricane Elsa became the fifth named storm and the first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, reminding us of the ever-present need to operate smarter, faster, and with a security-focused mindset to save lives. Furthermore, this past year has underscored the digitization of work, school, commerce, and healthcare, as well as the acceleration of research for critical events like the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Series 2, we are calling attention to S&T’s whole-of-government research and development impacts, which are enhancing preparedness, mitigating risks, and building more equitable capabilities to improve the nation’s economy, health, and security. I think I can speak for all our partners when I say that communities are the lifeblood of our nation—and we know resilience is not a one size fits all approach. That is why the solutions of the future are tailored for and by individual communities. And at DHS, resilience is about more than just withstanding disasters and disruptions, it is also about adapting, evolving, and moving forward as individuals, civic organizations, and communities.

Across our panels, you will hear about a host of solutions that are helping communities build resilience and thrive in the face of everyday and catastrophic challenges. Tune in to hear us discuss how data science, technology, and standards are empowering researchers to leverage and deploy new materials and advanced technologies, such as smart sensors and predictive modeling analytics to get ahead of threats.

For example, we’ll discuss S&T’s collaborative effort with the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy on the Civic Innovation Challenge (CIVIC), a partnership that exemplifies how we are investing in novel and cross-disciplinary research approaches to produce community-driven solutions that strengthen our electric grid, water systems, emergency support functions, transportation networks, and supply chains.

Series 2 also features experts from the DHS Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and S&T’s Arctic Domain Awareness Center. These leaders in their respective fields will share their perspectives on preparing for and responding to chemical and biological threats, the interconnected systems required for community resilience, and efforts that are enhancing climate resilience in the Arctic.

The showcase is a reminder of how important research, science, and innovation are to Building Back Better, and ensuring our future is resilient, secure, and economically competitive. You’ve heard us say it many times in our promotions and it bears repeating—we do the science. We do the science for our communities, and in the case of resilience, with communities to find the best solutions.

We have a great selection of content in store for you and I encourage you to visit our showcase page to view our expert panel videos and take a deeper dive into the work we are doing for the resilience mission (remember to bookmark the page for series 3 and 4, coming later this summer!). Follow and engage with us on social media to stay up to date on the showcase and much more at @dhsscitech!

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