News of the WeekU.S. Research Universities

Panel Explores New Funding Pact With Washington

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Science  03 Dec 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6009, pp. 1304
DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6009.1304

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At an intense meeting last week at the National Academies in Washington, D.C., a blue-ribbon panel asked by Congress to recommend how the country's research universities can bolster the nation's well-being spent a day and a half in public discussion with several dozen leaders in higher education, followed by a day of private deliberations aimed at producing a final report next summer. Overshadowing the discussions was growing concern that federal investment in academic research may shrink as the government struggles to reduce the federal deficit, even as states are cutting support to their flagship public research institutions in an attempt to balance their recession-battered budgets. The higher education community, which planted the seed for the congressional request, hopes the new report will address what it sees as glaring flaws in the system that governs the $32 billion a year that the federal government now spends on academic research.