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Leaders in Business, Congress, Science Urge Renewed Committment to Research via “Innovation Imperative”

image CC-BY-NC-ND by Brian Auer

Now is not the time for the United States to rest on its past successes as an international leader in advancements in science, technology, engineering, and innovation. That is the message that four industry leaders and key members of Congress delivered on Tuesday, October 20, 2015, at a public symposium on Capitol Hill.

Led by Norman Augustine, retired CEO of Lockheed Martin; Jeannette M. Wing, corporate vice president of Microsoft Research; Roger M. Perlmutter, executive vice president of Merck & Co. and president of Merck Research Labs; and John D. Evans, vice president of International Science and Technology for Lockheed Martin, all took up the call to action to compel the federal government to return to consistent, sustainable funding for basic research, and recommit to restoring the United States as a leader in innovation.

The speakers urged support for the goals and policies set forth in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences report, Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream. That report, in turn, led to the creation of Innovation: An American Imperative, a call to action signed by 10 CEOs and chairpersons, plus more than 300 organizations (including the Association of Research Libraries), colleges and universities, businesses, and nonprofits from across all 50 states. Each signatory expressed their belief in the importance of federal funding for basic research to America’s future productivity, prosperity, and strength.

Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Gary Peters (D-MI), and Representative Randy Hultgren (R-IL) spoke prior to the symposium.

“The US is now in 10th place in in R&D investment among Organisation for Economic Co-operation nations as a percentage of gross domestic product,” said Augustine, who also is co-chair of the Restoring the Foundation commission. “At this pace, China will surpass the United States in R&D intensity in about eight years. Do we really want to watch that play out?”

Among the policies cited on Tuesday that would help America retain its position of leadership are:

  • End sequestration’s deep cuts to federal investments in R&D
  • Make permanent a strengthened federal R&D tax credit
  • Improve student achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)
  • Reform US visa policy
  • Streamline or eliminate costly and inefficient regulations
  • Reaffirm merit-based peer review
  • Stimulate further improvements in advanced manufacturing

Tuesday’s event was sponsored by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Battelle, the Coalition for National Science Funding (of which the Association of Research Libraries is a member), the Coalition for National Security Research, the Council on Competitiveness, the Energy Sciences Coalition, the Task Force on American Innovation, The Science Coalition, and United for Medical Research (UMR).

You can join this effort by:

Visit http://www.innovationimperative.org/ for more information.

About the Association of Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 124 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at http://www.arl.org/.