Vying for Talent is a joint Brookings-CSIS project that examines the role human talent plays in the sprawling competition between China and the United States. Through podcast interviews, reports, and public discussions with experts, this project aims to evaluate the current state of U.S.-China competition in human capital across all its strategically relevant domains, elevate awareness in the U.S. foreign policy communities of the strategic importance of attracting and developing top global talent, and generate recommendations for strengthening the United States relative position in this core feature of future competition.

The project has produced a keystone report evaluating China’s human capital competitiveness, launched the Vying for Talent podcast miniseries, and convened an ongoing series of public events examining critical elements of US-China human capital competition.

This project was made possible by generous support from Chubb Group and the Future Fund Regranting Program.

Podcast

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Lessons from the US Space Force on creating an agile talent model

November 10, 2022 | Jude Blanchette, Katharine Kelley, Ryan Hass

In the latest episode of “Vying for Talent,” co-hosts Jude Blanchette and Ryan Hass are joined by Katharine Kelley, the deputy chief of space operations for human capital at the U.S. Space Force. Kelley highlights the value of diverse talent and the importance of upskilling, drawing on insight from the Space Force’s “melting pot” of Defense Department culture and practices.

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Can US higher education maintain its global competitiveness?

September 15, 2022 | Jude Blanchette, Amy E. Gadsden, Ryan Hass

How can U.S. higher education maintain its edge in attracting global talent? In the latest episode of “Vying for Talent,” Amy E. Gadsden, the University of Pennsylvania’s associate vice provost for global initiatives, addresses the importance of international talent flows for American competitiveness. In conversation with co-hosts Jude Blanchette and Ryan Hass, Dr. Gadsden emphasizes the importance of people-to-people exchange as the “oxygen” that fuels U.S.-China relations.

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Strengths and weaknesses of China’s national human capital development

August 25, 2022 | Jude Blanchette, Ryan Hass, Yingyi Ma

In the fourth episode of “Vying for Talent,” Dr. Yingyi Ma, a professor of sociology at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, shares her perspective on how China’s talent base is shaped by the nation’s educational landscape as well as social and political challenges. In discussion with hosts Ryan Hass and Jude Blanchette, Dr. Ma lays out strengths and weaknesses of China’s human talent development pipeline and shares why she remains confident in the competitive advantages of America’s higher education system.

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How the Defense Department is pursuing a culture of innovation

July 21, 2022 | Jude Blanchette, Ryan Hass, Kathleen H. Hicks

How does human capital impact America’s national security? In the latest episode of “Vying for Talent,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks discusses the Defense Department’s efforts to resolve workforce challenges, strengthen diversity, and create a culture of innovation. In discussion with co-hosts Ryan Hass and Jude Blanchette, Dr. Hicks emphasizes that talent is “the core” of national defense.

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How to safeguard America’s national competitive edge in STEM talent

June 9, 2022 | Jude Blanchette, Ryan Hass

In the second episode of “Vying for Talent,” former Energy Secretary Steven Chu weighs in on U.S. science and technology innovation, the political outlook for STEM immigration reform, and why he is optimistic about America’s talent base. In discussion with co-hosts Ryan Hass and Jude Blanchette, Dr. Chu calls for government action to safeguard our national competitive edge in STEM talent.

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Can semiconductor manufacturing return to the US?

April 14, 2022 | Jude Blanchette

In the first episode of “Vying for Talent,” Morris Chang, the founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), shares the story of his journey in establishing the world’s largest producer of semiconductor chips. In discussion with hosts Ryan Hass (Brookings) and Jude Blanchette (CSIS), Dr. Chang offers insight on the importance of the cultivation of technology talent and the future for semiconductor manufacturing returning to the United States.

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Vying for Talent Trailer

April 14, 2022 | Jude Blanchette

Vying for Talent is a podcast about the role human talent plays in the sprawling competition between China and the United States. Join co-hosts Ryan Hass of the Brookings Institution and Jude Blanchette of CSIS, and their expert guests, as they explore what the United States can do to improve its competitive edge for the future.

Events

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The importance of domestic renewal amid great power competition

July 21, 2022 | Jude Blanchette, Ryan Hass , Darin LaHood

On July 21, Brookings will host a conversation with Representative Darin LaHood to offer insights into the current situation of America’s domestic renewal and its importance to the country’s future on the world stage. The event will also convene a panel of experts to discuss how the United States can best pursue a path of domestic renewal and invest in its ability to enhance its global standing amidst increasing economic and geopolitical challenges from China and other countries.

 

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Why foreign talent is critical to national security: A conversation with Joseph Votel and Christine Fox

July 7, 2022 | Jude Blanchette, Ryan Hass, The Honorable Christine H. Fox, General (ret.) Joseph L. Votel

On July 7, two signatories of this letter, former Commander of the U.S. Central Command General (Ret.) Joseph Votel and former Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine Fox, will offer insight on the national security importance of STEM talent and high-skilled immigration. Co-hosted by the Brookings Institution and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), they will draw from their own experiences at the highest levels of U.S. defense policymaking and military command to share their perspectives on the role of human talent as a national security asset. Brookings Senior Fellow Ryan Hass and CSIS Freeman Chair Jude Blanchette will moderate the discussion.

 

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Photo: WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images

The Role of Human Capital in U.S.-China Competition

May 21, 2021 | Jude Blanchette

The emerging geopolitical competition between the U.S. and China is often framed as a clash over technology, diplomacy, economics, and military predominance.

 

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Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

China’s Human Capital Landscape

May 16, 2022 | Jude Blanchette

Join us on May 16th at 1:30 p.m. EST, for a discussion of China’s human capital landscape, drawing on insights from a new report jointly produced by CSIS and the Brookings Institution

Reports

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Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/GettyImages

How China’s Human Capital Impacts Its National Competitiveness

July 7, 2022 | Briana Boland, Jude Blanchette, Ryan Hass, Kevin Dong

How will the strengths and weaknesses of China’s human capital impact its national competitiveness? This brief provides an overview of Beijing's strategy for cultivating talent and the challenges that Chinese policymakers confront in their efforts to do so.

Interview

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Looking beyond borders to understand impacts of science on society: An interview with Yangyang Cheng

May 23, 2022 | Yangyang Cheng, Jude Blanchette, Ryan Hass

In an interview with CSIS Freeman Chair Jude Blanchette and Brookings Senior Fellow Ryan Hass, research scholar in law and fellow at Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center Yangyang Cheng discusses the role of science in U.S.-China relations and the need to examine who benefits and who experiences harm from advances in scientific inquiry.