National Research Council Committee on Research Universities Holds Second MeetingDecember 9, 2010
On November 22, the National Research Council (NRC) convened the second meeting of the Committee on Research Universities. The Committee is conducting a study requested by Congress in June 2009 to answer the question "What are the top ten actions that Congress, the federal government, state governments, research universities, and others could take to assure the ability of the American research university to maintain the excellence in research and doctoral education needed to help the United States compete, prosper, and achieve national goals for health, energy, the environment, and security in the global community of the 21st century?" During the three day meeting, the Committee heard from Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), one of the congressional requesters of the report; several federal agency representatives including from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Department of Energy (DOE); and convened three different "focus groups" to discuss issues facing research universities.
The Committee also met in closed session to discuss
potential recommendations and heard presentations on intellectual property,
cyberinfrastructure, postdoctoral training, and graduate education.
- In a conference call with the Study committee, Senator Alexander exhorted the group to create ten recommendations that would improve the future outlook for research universities at no cost, and encouraged them to submit a list of current regulations that could be streamlined or retired by the federal government to save universities time and money.
- Federal agency representatives each discussed their perspective on the future of research universities. NSF Acting Deputy Director Cora Marrett, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research Sally Rockey, and DOE Undersecretary for Science Steve Koonin emphasized education, diversity, and interdisciplinary research as areas for focus and improvement. Dr. Koonin additionally called for better integration of universities and industry and an increase in social science research.
- The three breakout sessions focused on finance and administration, research, and workforce development, and included participants who brought varied perspectives to the issues, including university Presidents, faculty, association leaders, and industry representatives. Participants emphasized the importance of decreasing burdensome regulations, the potential to renegotiate the indirect cost rate, balancing university research portfolios between biomedical research and other fields and between basic and translational research, strengthening the pipeline of students and scientists, and the role of universities in society.
The Committee will hold a third meeting in early 2011 to continue discussions on the report, which should be finalized and released next summer.
Additional details about the study, including a Committee roster, can be found at: http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/bhew/researchuniversities/index.htm.
Article source: Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, Washington, D.C. 20005