UW President to Testify Before US Senate Committee Thursday

University of Wyoming President Ed Seidel will testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Thursday, Aug. 5, in the nation’s capital.

Seidel was invited to testify by the committee’s chairman, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., at a hearing examining the role of and programs with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., is the committee’s ranking member.

The hearing, which begins at 8 a.m. MDT in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., will be livestreamed on the committee’s website at www.energy.senate.gov/live-webcast.

The DOE’s Office of Science, with an annual budget of over $7 billion, is the nation’s largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences, and the lead federal agency supporting research for energy production and security. Among many other things, it oversees 10 of the agency’s 17 national laboratories.

During his testimony, Seidel plans to showcase the strengths of the Office of Science that underpin the national scientific establishment; explain the need for continued and increased investments in science, particularly the computing environments needed to support science; and highlight the link between science and innovation — and the need to cultivate that link to create technology hubs for national economic development.

“I also will highlight Wyoming’s strengths, discuss the Wyoming Innovation Partnership and generally draw attention to the need to support rural regions of the U.S.,” Seidel says. “I will make various recommendations to the committee, especially on developing a comprehensive funding plan that links science, education and innovation for growing the economy of the U.S. and competing internationally with countries that are investing more.”

Before becoming UW’s 28th president July 1, 2020, Seidel was the vice president for economic development and innovation for the University of Illinois System, building and supporting programs that engage university, public and private partners — and strengthening the links among higher education, research and business to stimulate economic development across that state.

His long record of leadership experience also includes more than three years as director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was among the original co-principal investigators for Blue Waters, a federally funded project that brought one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers to Urbana-Champaign. He also directed the Office of Cyberinfrastructure and led the Directorate of Mathematical and Physical Sciences as National Science Foundation assistant director. And he was a member of Argonne National Laboratory’s Board of Governors.

Also scheduled to testify at Thursday’s hearing are Thomas Zacharia, director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and J. Stephen Binkley, acting director of the Office of Science.

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