US university heads make funding call

Some 165 US university presidents and chancellors have called on political leaders in Washington to boost funding for research and education.

August 1, 2013

In an open letter to the US president Barack Obama and Congress, the university chiefs have called for the closing of the so-called “innovation deficit” to be made a national imperative, amid concerns that major federal budget cuts to higher education are out of step with the policies being pursued in other countries.

“Throughout our history, this nation has kept the promise of a better tomorrow to each generation,” the letter says. “This has been possible because of our economic prosperity based in large part on America’s role as global innovation leader. 

“Failing to deal with the innovation deficit will pass to future generations the burdens of lost leadership in innovation, economic decline, and limited job opportunities. We call upon you to reject unsound budget cuts and recommit to strong and sustained investments in research and education.”

The letter goes on to point out that, over the past two decades, China, Singapore, and South Korea have dramatically increased their investments in research and higher education, outstripping he growth rate of US research and development investments by 200-400 per cent.  

Organised by the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the letter comes at a critical times for the US Congress. Annual funding bills, the debt limit, and measures to eliminate or modify the spending cuts forced by sequestration – the cap placed on the total amount of government expenditure - could all be debated this autumn.

While the legislative path for those measures is not yet known, the letter notes that investment in research and higher education should be sustained regardless of overall funding levels, because they are sources of long-term fiscal stability and economic growth.

“Because the innovation deficit undermines economic growth it harms our nation’s overall fiscal health, worsening long-term budget deficits and debt,” the university leaders wrote. “Investments in research and education are not inconsistent with long-term deficit reduction; they are vital to it.”   

The letter and signatories can be viewed here.

chris.parr@tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Laurel and Hardy sawing a plank of wood

Working with other academics can be tricky so follow some key rules, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford will host a homeopathy conference next month

Charity says Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford is ‘naive’ to hire out its premises for event

women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

Woman pulling blind down over an eye
Liz Morrish reflects on why she chose to tackle the failings of the neoliberal academy from the outside
White cliffs of Dover

From Australia to Singapore, David Matthews and John Elmes weigh the pros and cons of likely destinations