This Week in Washington IP: Innovation in a Post-COVID-19 World, Developing a Coronavirus Vaccine and Addressing Legacy IT in Government Agencies

This week in Washington IP news, the House of Representatives kicks off a series of tech-related hearings with a look at how the current pandemic has exposed issues in legacy IT systems in federal agencies. Later in the week, the House Oversight Subcommittee explores efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and the House Small Business Committee dissects issues with COVID-19 relief program processing at the Small Business Administration. The week ends with a Senate Communications Subcommittee hearing on the government’s spectrum policies for supporting 5G network deployment. Elsewhere, the Center for Strategic & International Studies looks at the highlights of a clean energy innovation report from the International Energy Agency while the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation discusses a recent strategy document from the European Commission on developing a data policy among member nations of the EU. 

Monday, July 20 

House Subcommittee on Government Operations 

Federal IT Modernization: How the Coronavirus Exposed Outdated Systems

At 1:30 PM on Monday, online video webinar.

A report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office in June 2019 identified critical IT legacy systems in federal agencies that were in need of modernization in order to protect essential government operations including wartime readiness, emergency management and healthcare. Only seven of ten agencies with legacy systems had modernization plans for those systems and only two agencies, the Department of Defense and the Department of the Interior, had plans addressing all best practices identified by the GAO. The witness panel for this hearing will include Gordon Bitko, Senior Vice President of Policy, Information Technology Industry Council; Matthew Cornelius, Executive Director, Alliance for Digital Innovation; Steve O’Keeffe, Founder, MeriTalk; and Hana Schank, Director of Strategy, Public Interest Technology, New America.

Tuesday, July 21

House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

Pathway to a Vaccine: Efforts to Develop a Safe, Effective and Accessible COVID-19 Vaccine

At 10:00 AM on Tuesday, online video webinar.

To counteract the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Institutes of Health has coordinated an initiative called the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) to prioritize the development of promising vaccine candidates in partnership with various public and private organizations in the biopharmaceutical sector. Efforts like ACTIV are being pursued by the federal government in the hopes of speeding the process of developing a new vaccine, a process which can take 10 to 15 years. The witness panel at this hearing will include Dr. Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, AstraZeneca; Dr. Macaya Douoguih, Head of Clinical Development and Medical Affairs, Janssen Vaccines, Johnson & Johnson; Dr. Julie Gerberding, Executive Vice President and Chief Patient Officer, Merck; Dr. Stephen Hoge, President, Moderna; and Dr. John Young, Chief Business Officer, Pfizer.

Wednesday, July 22 

The Aspen Institute 

Aspen Tech Policy Hub Demo Day: Seeding Success: Equity, Technology & Policy

At 9:00 AM on Wednesday, online video webinar.

The Aspen Tech Policy Hub program is a policy incubator initiative of the Aspen Institute which provides a platform for technology policy projects which are designed to achieve social good. This event, part of the policy hub’s Demo Day series, focuses on programs meant to address discrimination and improve equity among various groups within the U.S. population in areas such as education technology, community feedback for local government and tech startup capitalization. The event will feature presentations on programs from Nidhi Hebbar, Co-Founder, Youth for Debate; Madison Jacobs, Senior Communications Manager, Public Rights Project; Mariah Lichtenstern, Founding Partner, DiverseCity Ventures, and Managing Director, Sacramento Chapter, Founder Institute; and Amy Wilson, Former Managing Director, MACH37. Following those presentations will be keynote remarks on the intersection of tech, policy and equity by Mutale Nkonde, Founder and CEO, AI For the People.

Center for Strategic & International Studies 

Clean Energy Innovation

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday, online video webinar.

Earlier this month, the International Energy Agency released a Clean Energy Innovation report highlighting five innovation principles, such as maintaining levels of government funding into clean energy research and development programs at planned levels through 2025, to achieve net-zero carbon emissions. This event will feature a presentations on highlights from the IEA report delivered by Timur Gül, Head of the Energy Technology Policy Division, IEA. Following the presentation will be a discussion on the role of government R&D funding and market-ready clean energy technologies between Gül and Sarah Ladislaw, Senior Vice President, Director and Senior Fellow, Energy Security and Climate Change Program. 

American Enterprise Institute 

Global Shifts in Innovation and Entrepreneurship in a Post-COVID-19 World 

At 11:00 AM on Wednesday, online video webinar.

Attempts to keep the global economy active during the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the globe to shift various activities to digital platforms, making e-commerce, digital payments and remote learning platforms more important than ever. Policy analysts noting this massive shift in the world’s technology and innovation ecosystem have questioned what these changes will look like in a post-COVID-19 world, especially in emerging markets around the world. Opening remarks at this event will be offered by Karen E. Young, Resident Scholar, AEI. Following those remarks, Young will moderate a discussion panel including Brad Feld, Venture Capitalist, Foundry Group; Christopher Schroeder, Cofounder, Next Billion Ventures; and Bret Swanson, Visiting Fellow, AEI. 

House Committee on Small Business 

21st Century SBA: An Analysis of SBA’s Technology Systems

At 1:00 PM on Wednesday in 2360 Rayburn House Office Building.

As part of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Small Business Administration has been tasked with distributing aid through the agency’s Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. In early April, demand on the SBA’s lending programs caused the agency’s computer systems to stop processing applications, negatively impacting the SBA’s ability to aid relief efforts. The sole witness for this hearing is Guy Cavallo, Deputy Chief Information Officer, U.S. Small Business Administration

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

Will the EU Data Strategy Prepare Europe to Lead in the Data Economy?

At 3:00 PM on Wednesday, online video webinar.

This February, the European Commission unveiled a strategy document on data communications featuring recommendations for the EU including the creation of a single market for data transactions between various business and governmental organizations. However, the Commission has yet to put forward a fully detailed legislative framework to develop a European data strategy in its attempt to stay competitive with the U.S. and China. This event will feature a discussion with a panel including Andreas Hartl, Head of Division Strategy Artificial Intelligence, Data Economy and Blockchain, German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy; Malte Beyer-Katzenberger, Team Leader for Data Policies, Data Policy and Innovation, DG Connect, European Commission; Jessica Lennard, Senior Director, Global Data Privacy and AI Initiatives, Visa; Teemu Ropponen, General Manager, MyData Global; and moderated by Eline Chivot, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Data Innovation.

Thursday, July 23

Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet

The State of U.S. Spectrum Policy

At 10:00 AM on Thursday in 253 Russell Senate Office Building.

A recent report on 5G deployment by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) needed to refine the agency’s strategic planning regarding efforts to facilitate spectrum use for 5G network deployment. This hearing will examine the roles of both the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in spectrum management and policymaking. The witness panel for this hearing will include Tom Power, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, CTIA; Mark Gibson, Director of Business Development, CommScope; Dr. Roslyn Layton, Visiting Researcher, Aalborg University; and Michael Calabrese, Director, Wireless Future Project, Open Technology Institute, New America.


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