Advancing American AI through National Public-Private Partnerships for AI Research

Authors: Jim Kurose and Deborah Crawford


The Biden-Harris Administration should launch a national initiative to bring together academic and industry researchers and practitioners in a public-private partnership (PPP) to advance, at scale, the research foundations of artificial intelligence (AI) and its application in areas of economic advantage and national need. The National Public-Private Partnership in AI (NPPP-AI) Initiative would initially create 10 coordinated national AI R&D Institutes, each with 10-year lifetimes and jointly funded by industry partners and the U.S. government through its research agencies at $10M/year each (10x10x10).

NPPP-AI would accelerate future breakthroughs in AI foundations, enable a virtuous cycle between foundational and use-inspired research that would rapidly transition into practice innovations that contribute to U.S. economic and national security, as well as grow education and workforce capacity by linking university faculty and students with industry professionals, settings, and jobs.

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About the Authors

Jim Kurose is Distinguished University Professor of Computer Science and Associate Chancellor for Partnerships and Innovation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst .From 2015 to 2019, Jim served as an Assistant Director at the National Science Foundation (NSF), where he led the Directorate of Computer and Information Science and Engineering. While at NSF, Jim also served as co-chair of the National Science and Technology Council subcommittees on Networking and Information Technology Research and Development, Machine Learning and AI, and Open Science. In 2018, he also served as Assistant Director for Artificial Intelligence at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Deborah Crawford is the Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Tennessee Knoxville (UT). Deborah previously served as vice president for research, innovation and economic impact at George Mason University, president and executive director of the International Computer Science Institute, a not-for-profit research institution in Berkeley, California, and senior vice provost for research at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She worked at the National Science Foundation (NSF) for 17 years, where she held a number of executive leadership positions and where she served as the agency’s liaison to the National Science and Technology Council, the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Institutes of Health. Her leadership contributions at NSF were recognized twice with Presidential Rank Awards.