Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A disturbing report from the National Science Board

Source: The Boston Globe
I quote from a Boston Globe article by Justin Pope:

(A) new report argues the mission of the country’s 101 major public research universities is imperiled by budget cuts amounting to one-fifth of their state funding over the past decade. 
State support for public research universities fell 20 percent between 2002 and 2010, after accounting for inflation and increased enrollment of about 320,000 students nationally, according to the report published Tuesday by the National Science Board. The organization provides independent advice to the federal government and oversees the National Science Foundation. 
Ten states saw support fall 30 percent or more and in two — Colorado and Rhode Island — the drop was nearly 50 percent. Only seven states increased support.
The long term health of the U.S. economy depends on continuing innovation in our industry. While we have some 4,500 institutions of higher education in the United States, there are only a few hundred research intensive universities -- among the largest and strongest of these are the public research intensive universities.

Research intensive universities conduct a very substantial part of the fundamental research done in the United States (and indeed in the world) -- research from which will eventually come discoveries that fuel applied research and development, and eventually the economy. The research intensive universities are also the training institutions not only for their own future faculties but also for the faculties of other higher education institutions, and the technical staffs of high technology firms.

Research intensive universities have been drawing the top scientists in the world to their faculties, greatly enriching the intellectual resources of the country. They draw graduate students in great numbers from around the world. Many of those graduate students remain in the United States when they complete their training, also enriching the intellectual resources of the country (and it coffers). Those who leave create important scientific and technological linkages between the United States and the rest of the world -- indeed cultural and even political linkages.

If we let the public research intensive universities languish, our children and their children will suffer the effects.

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