Research development

USM Director of Research Development Offers Emerging Technology Testimony to Congressional Committee

Thu 29/09/2022 – 16:30 | By: Van Arnold

Dr. Henry Jones testified before a Senate committee regarding the importance
to invest in emerging technologies across the country.

Dr. Henry L. Jones, director of research development and science entrepreneurship at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), testified to the importance of investing in emerging technologies across the country before a US Senate committee on Thursday, September 29 in Washington. , CC

Jones testified before a full hearing called by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Chair of the Space Subcommittee and scientific. The hearing, titled: “Securing US Leadership in Emerging Compute Technologies,” highlighted the continued importance of three key technology areas in the recently adopted CHIPS (Create useful incentives to produce semiconductors) and Science Act of 2022. These areas include artificial intelligence (AI), quantum information science (QIS), and distributed ledger technologies (DLT).

Applications in these fields are already or have the potential to transform not only computing, but also the agriculture, health, industry, transport and national defense sectors, with further implications. social, ethical and legal.

Jones notes that the CHIPS and Science Act includes elements that will yield big payoffs for Mississippi, primarily due to the leadership of Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss), a top Commerce Committee member, ensuring that technology investments of the country benefit from the cultural, geographical and socio-economic diversity of the State.

“If government program managers haven’t seen the innovation happening on our Gulf Coast, for example, they might think Boston or San Francisco is a safe bet – and miss out on efficient, cost-effective and productive ecosystems. that strengthen our resilience and innovation. “Jones said.

Other witnesses before the committee include:

  • Dr. Nancy Allbritton, Frank and Julie Jungers Dean College of Engineering Dean, University of Washington
  • Mr. Jack Clark, Co-Founder, Anthropic
  • Mr. William B. (Trey) Breckenridge III, Director of High Performance Computing, High Performance Computing Collaboratory (HPC2), Mississippi State University
  • Mr. Steve Lupien, Director of the Center for Blockchain and Digital Initiatives, University of Wyoming, College of Business
  • Dr. Bob Sutor, Vice President, Corporate Development, ColdQuanta.

As an entrepreneur and investor, Jones has extensive experience building businesses in Silicon Valley, Chicago, Mississippi and Alabama. After earning a Ph.D. majoring in aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University, Jones lived in Silicon Valley during the Dot Com boom of the 90s. Using science developed in a laboratory at Mississippi State University and the Landsat satellite 7 from the U.S. government, Jones established his first company which developed cutting-edge online products for forestry.

Prior to assuming his current role at USM, Jones served for six years as an adjunct professor at the University. He has served the past 16 years as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Mississippi.

“From the beginning of my career, I have seen what academia, government and industry can do together,” Jones told the committee.

Jones pointed out that the government is struggling to keep pace with technological advancements. He noted that unexpected innovations come from unconventional connections. In his testimony, Jones explained:

“The latest data-driven research on innovation reveals that the cross-pollination of ideas from very different fields is what drives great progress. EPSCoR, the program established to spur competitive research, enables this kind of progress by bringing universities and their individual innovators together and exposing them to unfamiliar concepts in multiple ways. I serve on the statewide EPSCoR board because it makes sense for our universities to work together. What I have observed is that the true potential of EPSCoR is its creation of new relationships, better communications between institutions at the faculty level, and policy changes that align incentives to work together, all to create a sustainable environment of unconventional collaborations.

Jones told the committee that diversity is a national resource for resilience. He shared that his friends at big tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon understood the competitive need for a diverse workforce.

“Conforming cultures lead to groupthink and being caught off guard by unconventional ideas,” Jones said. “These companies seek diversity in every possible dimension, but struggle the most in one particular area – enough trained American citizens. I’m sure we’ve had enough able American citizens, but we are missing something in the early stages of the educational pipeline.

To illustrate his point, Jones told the committee about a childhood friend and fourth-generation lumberjack whose son is very proficient in computer programming.

Says Jones, “This family doesn’t know what a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) looks like or how to afford a technical education. Luckily, we now have him well on his way to maximizing his innate skills and interests. But through this experience, I discover that there are generational and socio-economic barriers to the future of STEM that may seem insurmountable.

He continued, “Our university recently modified our computer science curriculum to incorporate industry certifications as milestones in our curriculum in case a student cannot complete four years of coursework at once. Our Center for Military Veterans, Service Members, and Families introduces veterans to higher education resources and also inspires the college community to make changes to accommodate those prospective students who are not coming straight from high school. The academic has more innovation than we can do.

Jones’ appearance marked his first time testifying before a congressional committee, and he considered it an honor to serve as a USM representative.

“This opportunity would not have happened without the work of Senator Wicker and his team to express Mississippi’s interest in this bill, or without the long-term impact that USM has provided to our state and to our region,” he said.

For more information, access Dr. Henry Jones’ written testimony for the US Senate Commerce Committee.

About the University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is a comprehensive public research institution offering transformative programs at campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, as well as than online. Founded in 1910, USM is one of 146 universities nationwide to earn the “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, and its strong research enterprise includes experts in ocean science and engineering, polymer science and engineering, and major event safety and security, among others. USM is also one of 39 institutions in the country accredited in the fields of theatre, art and design, dance and music. As an economic engine, USM generates an annual economic impact of more than $663 million across the state. USM is home to a diverse student body of more than 14,000, representing more than 70 countries, all 50 states, and every county in Mississippi. USM students have received four Truman Fellowships and 37 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships, while leading Mississippi with 27 Goldwater Fellowships, an honor that recognizes the next generation of great ts research scientists. Home to the Golden Eagles, USM competes in 17 Division I sports sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). For more information, visit