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William B. Bonvillian

Senior Director and Lecturer

Science Technology and Society Department, MIT

William B. Bonvillian is a Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in MIT’s Science Technology and Society Department, teaching courses on innovation and on science and technology policy. In addition to his role with IKIM, he is Senior Director, for Special Projects, at MIT’s office of Open Learning, conducting major research projects on workforce education.  Previously, he was Director of MIT’s Washington, D.C. Office between 2006 and 2017, supporting MIT’s historic role on national science and technology policy. He was an advisor to MIT’s Production in the Innovation Economy study issued in 2013, and participated for MIT in the President’s industry-university Advanced Manufacturing Partnership and its reports of 2011 and 2014. Prior to MIT, he served for over fifteen years as a senior policy advisor in the U.S. Senate working on innovation issues.

His book, Workforce Education, a New Roadmap, with Sanjay E. Sarma, was released in 2021 by MIT Press and evaluates new models for workforce education.  Advanced Manufacturing - The New American Innovation Policies (with Peter L. Singer) was published by MIT Press in 2018 and reviews strategies for production innovation to enable advanced manufacturing systems.


His 2015 book Technological Innovation in Legacy Sectors, with Charles Weiss of Georgetown, was published by Oxford University Press and takes up the challenge of bringing innovation to complex, established “legacy” economic sectors that constitute most of the economy. Their book Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution, published by MIT Press in 2009, proposed new models for energy technology innovation. He was coeditor of The DARPA Model for Transformative Technologies from Open Book Publishers in 2020, which collected leading articles on DARPA. He has written extensively on science and technology policy issues in numerous journals, including Science, Issues in Science and Technology, Nature, Science and Public Policy, Innovations, Annals of Science and Technology Policy, Environment, and American Interest.


He has lectured and given speeches before numerous organizations and universities on science, technology and innovation questions. He has testified before Congress’ House Science Committee (on ARPA-E legislation) and the Senate Commerce Committee (on the Endless Frontier Act legislation), and before the UK Parliament’s Committee on Science and Technology (on ARPA legislation).  He is on the National Academies of Sciences’ standing committee for the Science Policy Forum, and has served on eight other Academies’ committees. He chaired the AAAS standing Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy (COSEPP) between 2017 and 2021, is on the GAO’s Polaris Council on Science and Technology and is on the Board of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. He has degrees from Columbia, Yale and Columbia Law School. He was the recipient of the IEEE Distinguished Public Service Award in 2007 and was elected a Fellow by the AAAS in 2011.

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