Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation’s Prosperity and Security

untitledCongress requested the report, which was written by a committee that includes industry CEOs, university presidents, a former U.S. senator, and a Nobel laureate.  It recommends 10 strategic actions that the nation should take in the next five to 10 years to maintain top-quality U.S. research institutions. The study was sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Science Foundation, and U.S. Department of Energy. The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies. They are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter. The Research Council is the principal operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.

Recommendation 1

Within the broader framework of United States innovation and research and development (R&D) strategies, the federal government should adopt stable and effective policies, practices, and funding for university performed R&D and graduate education so that the nation will have a social sciences in our nation, due in 2012 from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation’s Prosperity and Security stream of new knowledge and educated people to power our future, helping us meet national goals and ensure prosperity and security.

Recommendation 2

Provide greater autonomy for public research universities so that these institutions may leverage local and regional strengths to compete strategically and respond with agility to new opportunities. At the same time, restore state appropriations for higher education, including graduate education and research, to levels that allow public research universities to operate at world-class levels.

Recommendation 3

Strengthen the business role in the research partnership, facilitating the transfer of knowledge, ideas, and technology to society and accelerate “time to innovation” in order to achieve our national goals.

Recommendation 4

Increase university cost-effectiveness and productivity in order to provide a greater return on investment for taxpayers, philanthropists, corporations, foundations, and other research sponsors.

Recommendation 5

Create a “Strategic Investment Program” that funds initiatives at research universities critical to advancing education and research in areas of key national priority.

Recommendation 6

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.

Recommendation 7

Reduce or eliminate regulations that increase administrative costs, impede research productivity, and deflect creative energy without substantially improving the research environment.

Recommendation 8

Improve the capacity of graduate programs to attract talented students by addressing issues such as attrition rates, time to degree, funding, and alignment with both student career opportunities and national interests.

Recommendation 9

Secure for the United States the full benefits of education for all Americans, including women and underrepresented minorities, in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology.

Recommendation 10

Ensure that the United States will continue to benefit strongly from the participation of international students and scholars in our research enterprise.

National Academies Report Site

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