The National Research Council’s (NRC) Committee on Research Universities recently released Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation’s Prosperity and Security. In the report, the committee admits that America’s public research universities are at great risk from growing competition abroad, unstable revenue streams, demographic shifts, and the shift in relationships between research universities, government, and industries. The committee has made 10 recommendations that include changes in these partnerships between the research universities, federal government, state governments, and businesses.
The 10 recommendations of the committee include the following:
- The federal government should adopt stable and effective policies, practices, and funding for university’s research and development.
- States should restore and maintain funding for higher education, including public research universities, as state budgets continue to recover from the recession.
- The role of business in partnership with research should be strengthened to increase knowledge transfer to achieve national goals.
- Universities should increase productivity to provide a greater return on investment for stakeholders.
- Congress should establish a “Strategic Investment Program” to fund initiatives at research universities.
- The federal government and other research sponsors should strive to cover the full costs of research projects and other activities they procure from research universities in a consistent and transparent manner.
- Regulations should be reduced or eliminated that increase costs or impede the productivity of research projects.
- Improve the capacity of graduate programs for student career opportunities and national interests.
- Improve education for all Americans, include undergraduate degrees, K-12, especially in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology.
- Ensure that the US will continue to work with international students and scholars at our research universities.
A favorite quote from the report states “Our nation’s greatest asset is its people.” It is true, without people, our country cannot live up to the full potential that it has. You can read the Executive Summary from the NRC website.