The Minds We Need

Inclusion, Innovation, and Competitiveness | Strengthening Our National Broadband Initiative |
Investing in Research and Education Infrastructure | Contributors | Toolkit | Endorsements

Inclusion, Innovation, and Competitiveness

We are at a crossroads. 

China and the nations of the European Union are making historical investments in research and education (R&E) infrastructure, along with investments in talent, so that the ideas and innovations that can change the world flourish. These are investments in innovation and competitiveness.

We can choose to do nothing and be overtaken as the world leader in innovation. Or we can make the choice that we have made at other crossroads in our history: we can invest in our talent, through our system of higher education, and provide all Americans with opportunities, regardless of where they live or their economic status to participate fully in our research enterprise, which has been an engine for innovation in the US economy and a global leader.

We know that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. We know that R&E infrastructure is essential for our scientific and engineering talent to flourish. We propose that we invest in our R&E infrastructure, ensuring that it reaches every community through our diverse system of 3,900 accredited, degree-granting higher education institutions, and ensuring that there is a bridge to opportunity wherever there is talent. These are investments in inclusion, innovation, and competitiveness.

We cannot know where the next Edison, Carver, Curie, McClintock, Einstein, or Katherine Johnson will come from.

“Our top priority should be getting infrastructure out to those that don’t already have it. Smaller institutions face big obstacles to building cyberinfrastructure including available connectivity, geography, and an adequate workforce.” Jen Leasure, President & Chief Executive Officer, The Quilt.

Want to learn more? Fill out a brief form to download the executive summary or read the full paper. For general questions contact us at

Strengthening Our National Broadband Initiative

Research and education infrastructure is a critical component of a national broadband plan. It complements the focus on universal access by providing a foundation for inclusion, innovation, discovery, and national competitiveness. Our national story is incomplete when diverse human potential is untapped, and competitive threats unmet.

To ensure inclusion, drive innovation, enhance competitiveness, and equalize opportunity we must:

  • Connect every community college, every minority serving institution, and every college and university, including all urban, rural, and tribal institutions to a world-class and secure R&E infrastructure, with particular attention to institutions that have been chronically underserved;
  • Engage and empower every student and researcher everywhere with the opportunity to join collaborative environments of the future, because we cannot know where the next Edison, Carver, Curie, McClintock, Einstein, or Katherine Johnson will come from; and
  • Ensure American competitiveness and leadership by investing holistically in national R&E infrastructure as a sustainable system.

“We need to build an infrastructure for collaboration, community spaces for like-minded individuals to share knowledge and best practices. For example, the tribes in Southern California have created an online opportunity for a community space with the Maori and indigenous people around the world. Cyberinfrastructure can change the greater ecosystem of indigenous people and of other groups as well.” Matthew Rantanen, Director of Technology, Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association.

Want to learn more? Fill out a brief form to download the executive summary or read the full paper. For general questions contact us at

Investing in Research and Education Infrastructure

Our plan calls for a $5.07 Billion one-time investment to expand the nation’s research and education infrastructure, to be completed in three phases, extending R&E leading-edge capabilities to every community college, minority serving institution, college and university, enabling innovation while ensuring every college student is connected into an advanced digital fabric. 

Awards in all categories should be prioritized to nonprofit R&E networks, tribal, and/or across all community colleges, minority serving institutions, colleges and universities, and university research-affiliated organizations that can then form partnerships, as appropriate, with private sector companies to implement the programs, with a goal of engaging our nation’s diverse system of 3,900 accredited, degree-granting higher education institutions. 

“The national infrastructure today is not uniform and does not reach all states, nor does it reach community colleges, which are feeders into four-year programs. We must enable institutions in all 50 states to have high-speed capacity. The emphasis in any national plan must be on spreading capacity to the most underserved communities. This should include strategies to make the cloud-based data storage systems usable and affordable.” Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google.

Want to learn more? Fill out a brief form to download the executive summary or read the full paper. For general questions contact us at

Contributors to The Minds We Need Paper

Ilkay AltintasChief Data Science OfficerSan Diego Supercomputer Center, University of California San Diego
V. BalajiHead, Modeling Systems Division, Cooperative Institute for Modeling the Earth SystemPrinceton University
Joe BengfortSenior Vice President, Information Technology and CIOUC San Francisco
Duncan BrownCharles Brightman Endowed Professor of PhysicsSyracuse University
Cort BuffingtonExecutive DirectorKansas Research and Education Network
Judith BushIdentity and Access Management ArchitectOCLC, Inc.
William CarsonChairman of the BoardOtsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc.
Vint CerfVice President and Chief Internet EvangelistGoogle
Mark CiancaAssociate Vice President, Operational ServicesUniversity of California System – Office of the President
Damian ClarkeChief Information Officer and Computer Science FacultyAlabama A&M University
Steve CorbatóExecutive DirectorOregon Fiber Partnership/ Link Oregon
Camille CrittendenExecutive Director, CITRIS and the Banatao InstituteUC Berkeley
Jim DavisVice Provost, Information TechnologyUCLA
James DeatonExecutive DirectorGreat Plains Network
Kathy EftekhariChief of Staff to the Vice PresidentUC Agriculture and Natural Resources
Elias EldayrieVice President and Chief Information OfficerUniversity of Florida
Alex FeltusProfessor of Genetics and BiochemistryClemson University
Linda ForbesDirector of Strategic CommunicationsUC Agriculture and Natural Resources
Louis FoxPresident & Chief Executive OfficerCENIC
Tracy FutheyVice President and Chief Information OfficerDuke University
Marc HoitVice Chancellor for Information Technology and Chief Information OfficerNorth Carolina State University
Glenda HumistonVice President, Agriculture and Natural ResourcesUC Office of the President
Ana HunsingerVice President, Community EngagementInternet2
Ronald R. HutchinsVice President for Information TechnologyUniversity of Virginia
Steve HuterDirectorNetwork Startup Resource Center at the University of Oregon
Mark JohnsonAssistant Vice Chancellor for Communication TechnologiesUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Jean JonesAssistant Vice Chancellor for ResearchUC Santa Barbara
Anke KamrathDirector of Computational and Information Systems LaboratoryNational Center for Atmospheric Research
Vince KellenCIOUC San Diego
Charley KneifelSenior Technical DirectorDuke University
Jen LeasurePresident & Chief Executive OfficerThe Quilt
Lonnie LegerExecutive DirectorLouisiana Optical Network Infrastructure
David LindemanDirector, CITRIS HealthUC Berkeley
George LoftusAssociate Vice President, Network ServicesInternet2
David LoisChief Executive OfficerWiscNet
Joel J. MambrettiDirectorInternational Center for Advanced Internet Research at Northwestern University; and Metropolitan Research and Education Network
Derek MassethExecutive DirectorSun Corridor Network
Shawn McKeeResearch Scientist in the Department of Physics/DirectorUniversity of Michigan/Center for Network and Storage-Enabled Collaborative Computational Science.
Marla MeehlHead of Network Engineering and Telecommunications Services in the Office of the CIOUniversity Corporation for Atmospheric Research
Anne MegaroGovernment and Community RelationsUC Agriculture and Natural Resources
David MerrifieldInterim Executive DirectorArkansas Research and Education Network
Inder MongaExecutive DirectorEnergy Sciences Network
Kevin MorooneyVice President for Trust & Identity and NET+ ProgramsInternet2
Harvey NewmanMarvin L. Goldberger Professor of PhysicsCaltech
Anita NikolichDirector of Research and Technology Innovation and Research ScientistUniversity of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Michael L. NormanDirector, San Diego Supercomputer Center and Distinguished Professor of PhysicsUC San Diego
John O’BrienPresident and Chief Executive OfficerEDUCAUSE
Laura PaglioneConsultant and Project ManagerSpherical Cow Group
Howard PfefferPresident and Chief Executive OfficerInternet2
Amy PhilipsonExecutive DirectorPacific Northwest Gigapop
Matthew RantanenDirector of TechnologySouthern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association
Ramesh RaoDirector, Qualcomm Institute and Interim Director CaliT2 and Professor of Electrical and Computer EngineeringUC San Diego
Joseph SawaskyPresident and Chief Executive OfficerMERIT Network
Pankaj ShahExecutive DirectorOhio Academic Resources Network
Tripti SinhaAssistant Vice President and Chief Technology Officer/Executive DirectorUniversity of Maryland/ Mid-Atlantic Crossroads (MAX)
Larry SmarrDistinguished Professor Emeritus/Founding DirectorUniversity of California San Diego/California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2)
Jim StewartChief Technology OfficerUtah Education and Telehealth Network
Jack SuessVice President of Information TechnologyUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore County
Joy ThompsonInformation Technology DirectorDiné College
Scott ValcourtAssociate Teaching ProfessorRoux Institute at Northeastern University
Rob VietzkeVice President, Network ServicesInternet2
Von WelchAssociate Vice President for Information Security and Executive Director for Cybersecurity InnovationIndiana University
Christopher WhalenInternational Program Manager and PresidentResearch Data and Communication Technology
Lisa WilsonAssociate Vice President for Research and Sponsored ProgramsClarke Atlanta University
Gabriel YoutseyChief Innovation OfficerUC Agriculture and Natural Resources

Want to learn more? Fill out a brief form to download the executive summary or read the full paper. For general questions contact us at

Get in Touch and Download
The Minds We Need Paper