Ecological Implications of Synthetic Biology
Environmental scientists and synthetic biologists have for the first time developed a set of key research areas to study the potential ecological impacts of synthetic biology, a field that could push beyond incremental changes to create organisms that transcend common evolutionary pathways. The Synthetic Biology Project at the Wilson Center and the Program on Emerging Technologies at CIS convened the interdisciplinary group of scientists and are releasing the report, Creating a Research Agenda for the Ecological Implications of Synthetic Biology. The work was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Press Release.
précis Spring Issue Now Online
The latest issue of précis is now available. The main features include an interview with Regina Bateson, assistant professor of political science at MIT; an excerpt from the book Making in America: From Innovation to Market by Suzanne Berger, Raphael Dorman-Helen Starbuck Professor of Political Science; and an essay Selective Leviathans: Explaining State Strategies of Counterinsurgency and Consolidation by Sameer Lalwani, a Ph.D. candidate in political science at MIT.
Former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Joins MIT
Ranil Wickremesinghe has been named a Robert E. Wilhelm fellow. The Sri Lankan politician and current leader of the Opposition in the Sri Lankan parliament will be at CIS for one month beginning April 8, 2014. Wickremesinghe was prime minister of Sri Lanka twice, from May 7, 1993 to August 19, 1994 and from December 9, 2001 to April 6, 2004. A member of the United National Party he was appointed party leader in November 1994. During his time at MIT, Wickremesinghe will study how to formulate a constitution sans an executive presidency. He will also work with faculty and students interested in Asian regional issues. Press release
MISTI's Perez Honored for Leadership
April Julich Perez, associate director of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) has been honored for her leadership with a 2014 MIT Excellence Award for Bringing Out the Best. "In her role at MISTI, April has distinguished herself in her ability to mentor, inspire, and empower each member of her staff—encouraging them to take on new responsibilities and supporting them every step of the way," said Institute Community and Equity Officer Edmund Bertschinger, who presented Perez with the award at a ceremony held February 25. Read more
U.S.-Iran Project Book Explores "Misperceptions"
The long-running U.S.-Iran Project, which has brought together policy makers from both countries to explore fraught periods in the relationship, has produced a second book, U.S.-Iran Misperceptions: A Dialogue, published in February by Bloombury Press. John Tirman, CIS executive director, is coeditor and coauthor with Abbas Maleki, a former Robert Wilhelm Fellow at the Center and associate professor of energy policy at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. Other contributors include Robert Jervis, Hossein Mousavian, Huss Banai, Robert Reardon, Kayhan Barzegar, Steven Miller and Matthew Bunn. It is an unique format in which Iranians and Americans write about each others' role in the Gulf, on nuclear matters, and other issues.
Gavin Begins Work as Stanton Chair
This year marks a major extension of MIT's engagement with nuclear studies with the appointment of Francis Gavin as the first Frank Stanton Chair in Nuclear Policy Studies, on the strength of a $5 million endowment from the Stanton Foundation. The Department of Political Science and its interdisciplinary Security Studies Program have been deeply engaged with these topics since the 1970s. "We're in a renaissance of nuclear studies now, and MIT is at the center of it—a majority of the scholars whose work I most admire have come from this program," says Gavin, who joins the Institute after 14 years at the University of Texas at Austin. Read more
précis Fall Issue Now Online
The latest issue of précis is now available. The main features include an interview with Richard Nielsen, assistant professor of political science at MIT; an excerpt from the book Hierarchical Capitalism in Latin America by Ben Ross Schneider, Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of the MIT Brazil program; and an essay, Insurgent Organizational Structure and the Control of Collective Violence, by Alec Worsnop, a PhD student in the Department of Political Science.
MISTI Receives NAFSA Award
MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) was recently presented with the 2013 Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award during International Education Week in Washington, D.C. The award is granted by NAFSA: Association of International Educators to innovative university programs that make a significant contribution to campus internationalization. "MISTI has spawned entrepreneurs, academics, and venture capitalists who work on the global stage with language skills on top of advanced technological prowess." Read more
Indonesian Journalist Joins CIS
Prodita Sabarini, a Jakarta-based journalist, has been selected as the 2013-14 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow. The award is offered through the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and is sponsored in part by CIS. Sabarini will spend the seven-month fellowship as a research associate at CIS. She will also complete internships at The Boston Globe and The New York Times. A staff reporter for the English daily The Jakarta Post, she plans to research the phenomenon of religious intolerance in Indonesia during her tenure as the Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow and wishes to explore the factors that turn people's fear into acts of violence. Press release
CIS and Wilson Center Receive NSF Grant
CIS and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars are collaborating on a $233,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help realize potential benefits and to address potential ecological effects of synthetic biology. The project will be conducted jointly by the Center's Program on Emerging Technologies, directed by MIT professor Kenneth Oye, and the Synthetic Biology Project at the Wilson Center. It will build on four previous workshops that brought together a wide range of scientists, regulators, NGOs, companies, and other stakeholders to discuss possible ecological risks associated with synthetic biology products and to identify sources of uncertainty over risks.Read more