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William B. Bonvillian

William B. Bonvillian

Former Director

MIT Washington Office

William B. Bonvillian is a member of ITIF’s board.

Bonvillian is a Lecturer at MIT and Senior Director for Special Projects at MIT Open Learning. He was formerly the director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Washington, DC, office, where he worked to support MIT’s strong and historic relations with federal R&D agencies and its role on national science policy. Prior to that position, he served for 17 years as legislative director and chief counsel to Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT). His legislative efforts in the Senate included science and technology policies and innovation issues. He worked extensively on legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security, intelligence reform, defense and life science R&D, and national competitiveness and innovation legislation.

He has lectured and given speeches before numerous organizations on science, technology, and innovation questions, and he teachers in this area at MIT. He is co-author of five books, including, Workforce Education, A New Roadmap (MIT 2021), The DARPA Model for Transformative Innovation (Open Book 2020), Advanced Manufacturing, The New American Innovation Policies (MIT 2018), Technological Innovation in Legacy Sectors (Oxford 2015), and Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution (MIT 2009). He is on the National Academies of Sciences’ standing committee for its Innovation Policy Forum, served for seven years on its Board on Science Education, and on six other Academies’ Committees. He chaired the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy for four years, and is on the Polaris Council for the General Accountability Office’s Science and Technology Assessment and Analysis program. He was the recipient of the IEEE Distinguished Public Service Award in 2007 and was elected a Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011 for “socially distinguished” efforts “on behalf of the advancement of science and its applications.”

In recent years, he has worked extensively on workforce education issues, evaluating programs nationwide, and leading MIT research projects. He has also worked on advanced manufacturing innovation issues, speaking and writing extensively on these topics. He was an advisor to MIT’s noted “Production in the Innovation Economy” study of manufacturing from 2011-14, and a participant for two MIT presidents in the President’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership on its major 2012 and 2014 reports that helped lead to the advanced manufacturing institutes and related legislation and policies. He has served on three National Academies Committees studying the advanced manufacturing institutes.

Prior to his work in the Senate, he was a partner at a large national law firm. Early in his career, he served as the deputy assistant secretary and director of congressional affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation, working on major transportation deregulation legislation.

Recent Publications

October 4, 2021

Emerging Industrial Policy Approaches in the United States

The federal government has long avoided industrial policies outside of its defense sector. But now, facing competition from China, it is pursuing a series of new programs at a scale never tried before. The effort will require careful, system-wide planning to bear fruit.

April 12, 2021

Next Steps for Ensuring America’s Advanced Technology Preeminence

As technology and industry strategy experts, we commend Congress and the Biden administration for focusing on ensuring U.S. advanced technology competitiveness. Toward that end, we offer a number of recommendations for further action.

April 30, 2018

Policymakers Must Beware of Technology Lock-in for Energy Storage

Today’s grid-scale battery market is dominated by a single family of technologies. But as ITIF’s David Hart and MIT’s William Bonvillian write for The Hill, long term clean energy innovation will require a diverse array of alternative energy storage technologies.

March 27, 2017

“Innovation Orchards”: Helping Tech Start-Ups Scale

The new innovation orchard model brings together university, industry, and potentially government partners to provide start-ups with the know-how, access to technology, equipment, and bridge funding to scale up new technologies.

More publications by William B. Bonvillian

Recent Events and Presentations

March 29, 2023

The Future of Manufacturing and Innovation in Germany and the United States

Join ITIF and OECD to explore policy questions that arose in the context of the OECD Review of Innovation Policy: Germany, but which have relevance to both the United States and Germany.

November 17, 2020

Manufacturing Workforce Development and Strengthening Manufacturing Supply Chains: What Can States Do?

ITIF hosted a two-part forum on innovative state-level manufacturing policies.

April 26, 2018

Closing the Innovation Gap in Grid-Scale Energy Storage

Please join ITIF for the release of an MIT Energy Initiative working paper. The report’s authors, ITIF Senior Fellow David M. Hart and MIT Professor Bill Bonvillian, will present their findings and discuss policy options for grid-scale storage with an expert panel.

July 26, 2017

Crossing the “Valley of Death”: How to Design and Run Successful Clean-Energy Demonstration Projects

Energy demonstration projects pose many policy and management challenges, and the historical record of the Department of Energy running them is uneven. Join ITIF for the release of a new report assessing recent federal efforts to overcome these challenges and consider how this record might be extended and improved upon in the future.

May 17, 2016

How Policymakers Can Help Build the U.S. Manufacturing Workforce of Tomorrow

Please join ITIF and the bipartisan Senate Competitiveness Caucus to discuss how public policies can support America’s universities as they work to train America’s future manufacturing workforce of tomorrow.

November 3, 2015

Spurring Technological Innovation in America’s Legacy Sectors

Please join ITIF as the authors of "Technological Innovation in Legacy Sectors" share key conclusions from the book and their implications for America’s innovation policymakers.

May 7, 2014

University Research Funding: Still Lagging Behind and Showing No Signs of Improvement

ITIF will host an expert panel on the current state of investment in university R&D and the policy reforms required to strengthen innovation and growth.

September 13, 2012

Washington Launch of “Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage”

Rob Atkinson and Stephen Ezell present the findings and conclusions from their new book on a panel moderate by David Leonhardt.

February 3, 2012

Applying the DARPA Concepts to Energy Innovation: The Emerging ARPA-E Model

ITIF is holding a forum on applying the DARPA concepts to energy innovation.

December 15, 2010

Energy Innovation 2010

ITIF and other leading policy think tanks host a day-long conference to ask the hard questions about energy technology policy and innovation in America.

October 19, 2010

Economic Doctrines and Approaches to Climate Change

ITIF unveils the report "Economic Doctrines and Approaches to Climate Change."

July 20, 2009

Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution

Please join ITIF and William Bonvillian, Director of the MIT Washington Office and a former senior adviser in the U.S. Senate, at an event to discuss key finding from his book, Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution.

More Events & Presentations by William B. Bonvillian

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