Georgetown University announced Thursday the launch of a think tank focused on technological advances and national security. (Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)

Georgetown University announced Thursday the launch of a think tank focused on how technological advances in fields such as artificial intelligence are influencing national and international security.

Backed by a $55 million grant from a private funding group, the Center for Security and Emerging Technology will be based in the university’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

The center’s director, Jason Matheny, was director of federal Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity from 2015 to 2018 and has participated in government initiatives related to artificial intelligence.

“There’s huge demand for policy analysis but very little supply,” Matheny said. The center, to be based near the Capitol, aims to change that. It will start with a staff of about 15, with plans to expand to 35.

One issue the center will study, Matheny said, is the extent to which the nation’s artificial intelligence workforce depends on foreign citizens and how immigration policy affects that workforce. Another: How can companies, universities and governments protect information from theft and misuse?

“AI and other emerging technologies will deliver profound benefits to society, but they will also introduce new risks,” Matheny said. “Technologists don’t always consider the details of policy, and policymakers don’t always consider the details of technology.”

The grant, from the San Francisco-based Open Philanthropy Project, is primarily funded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dustin Moskovitz and his wife, Cari Tuna. Moskovitz was a co-founder of Facebook. Forbes estimates his net worth at more than $10 billion.

Matheny, 44, holds a doctorate in applied economics from Johns Hopkins University and worked for most of the past decade in the advanced research projects unit of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.