What’s ahead for 2023

WashU experts share their insights for this year and beyond.

What changes and trends could we be in for this year?

Will we discover new space frontiers or see AI diagnose cancer?

Will we see tax cuts or continued high inflation?

Here’s what could be in store for our future, according to some WashU experts. 


Good news for greenhouse gases

Major advances in battery technologies will bring us a big step closer this year to large-scale renewable energy goals, international energy independence and a big reduction in greenhouse gases.

Michael Wysession, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences in Arts & Sciences


Next two years will be marked by gridlock and vetoes

Speaker McCarthy will struggle to muster a majority for his strategies on key issues. Spending bills and a debt limit increase will certainly test his ability to bargain effectively with the White House and Senate on those issues, with the renegades insisting that the House majority be willing to shut government and generate an economic crisis to achieve their goal of radically reducing the role of the federal government in American life.

Steven Smith, the Kate M. Gregg Distinguished Professor of Social Science in Arts & Sciences


Exciting exploration of Jupiter and Venus

SpaceX’s Starship will successfully complete its first orbital flight test, demonstrating its potential for a huge new lift capacity for planetary spacecraft missions. ESA’s JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) will launch, the first of two major missions to the Jupiter system this decade (the second being NASA’s Europa Clipper, scheduled to launch in 2024). And we’ll see lots more exciting Venus-related research published.

Paul Byrne, Associate Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences in Arts & Sciences

Job Market

Changing economy will threaten pro-labor trend

Persistently high inflation, fears of layoffs and a recession threaten the gains employees have made over the last two years, but all hope is not lost. There are clear ways to keep this momentum going, including cracking down on non-compete and non-solicitation clauses in employee contracts that prevent employees from seeking better opportunities, and updating antiquated labor laws.

Jake Rosenfeld, Professor of Sociology in Arts & Sciences

Artificial Intelligence

AI shows promise in medical imaging

Artificial intelligence is showing tremendous promise in medical imaging, specifically in nuclear medicine imaging, in a multitude of applications ranging from image generation, enhancement and analysis … We have seen a lot of research in this area, including multiple papers by our own group. However, for clinical translation of these algorithms, rigorous evaluation is needed.

Abhinav Jha, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering

Supreme Court

Conservatism to continue

The conservatives on the court have pushed legal policy significantly to the right in the last few years. I expect that trend to continue, in part because the conservative justices see the current state of American politics as presenting a unique and fragile opportunity to create the conversative legal policies they have craved for for so long. There are certainly dangers—indeed, perhaps grave dangers for the institution of the court—but the hard-right conservatives have shown little concern so far for possible damage to the inherently delicate legitimacy of the institution. Pitting legitimacy against conservatism, I expect conservatism to carry the day.

 James L. Gibson, the Sidney W. Souers Professor of Government in Arts & Sciences and an expert on judicial politics

Prescription Drugs

An end to drug shortages in sight

The COVID-19 pandemic awakened the understanding that we are overreliant on foreign producers for essential drugs, putting our public health care system at risk. Over the next few years, the U.S. will establish and build an infrastructure capacity base that will allow for resiliency in our drug supply chain by first leveraging existing manufacturers and then expanding new advanced manufacturing facilities. This will dramatically shift the landscape for the industry and patients and address U.S. drug shortages. 

Anthony Sardella, Adjunct Lecturer and Senior Research Adviser, Center for Analytics and Business Insights at Olin Business School


Growing sustainability

The year of 2023 will see advancement of the discussions and action around fashion sustainability. We are seeing legislative action in Europe requiring companies to define the circularity of textile and apparel products in order to sell in the EU market. Calling out companies who are ‘greenwashing’ or making unfounded sustainable practice claims will be amplified.

Mary Ruppert-Stroescu, Associate Professor and Fashion Design Area Coordinator at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts


Cities serving everyone

For the first time, planning, transportation, housing, and utility agencies are utilizing data as a way to focus investment in the places and for the people who need it the most. Technology companies, city agencies (many with newly formed equity departments), and community groups are working together to move investment decisions from back room deals to front room, open door, community-prioritized, and equity-based conversations intended to co-create equitable cities.

Linda C. Samuels, Associate Professor of Urban Design at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Producer: Kristin Grupas
Editor: Kelly Wiese Niemeyer
Designer: Krista Miller
Contributors: Liam Otten, Talia Ogliore, Sara Savat

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