Urging renewal of research partnership

I’m just back from the AAU meetings, which include the 60 big research universities in the U.S., both public and private. At that meeting we unanimously adopted the following statement on the importance of research to this country.

American science has put a man on the moon, ended polio, sequenced the human genome, connected the world through the internet and then placed it in the palm of your hand, and allowed us to diagnose countless medical conditions with the aid of an MRI. The partnership that has enabled this now faces an existential threat. At the same time our nation’s greatest economic competitors are rapidly gaining ground. We must reaffirm our commitment to the extraordinary partnership the federal government has built with American universities that has fostered unprecedented scientific achievement and economic growth in the United States since WWII. This partnership has generated untold job growth, greatly improved our national health, and reinforced our national security.

The federal government forged a unique partnership with American universities to perform innovative research to advance our economy, improve public health, strengthen national security, and at the same time train our nation’s next generation of scientists and engineers. In return, the federal government provides universities with peer-reviewed and competitively awarded grants to support the people, tools, and infrastructure necessary to conduct the highest quality of research for the American people.

There are now proposals in Washington to slash the federal research budgets that have propelled America to be the global leader in innovation. This would cripple our ability to do our part in generating economic growth and providing more jobs for Americans. If these cuts are enacted, the partnership that has been reinforced through both Republican and Democratic administrations over the past 70 years could literally collapse. Our nation’s research agencies cannot survive deep budget cuts and sustain the promise of America’s leadership in scientific, technological, and economic advancement.

We call on every American who cares about the welfare, security, and prosperity of our nation to join us in urging our nation’s leaders to renew and strengthen this partnership. Our economy depends on our ability to create the technologies, cures, and jobs of the future.