08/02/2013 03:16 PM
BATON ROUGE – LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander joined almost 200 university
leaders across the country in signing an open letter to President Obama and members
Congress urging them to “close the innovation deficit.”
“It is important that we are a part of this effort in order to renew our federal government’s
investments in research and innovation,” Alexander said. “It’s also important that
LSU play a major leadership role in establishing new and innovative federal policies
and investment strategies.”
The letter states, “The combination of eroding federal investments in research and
higher education, additional cuts due to sequestration, and the enormous resources
other nations are pouring into these areas is creating a new kind of deficit for the
United States: an innovation deficit. Closing this innovation deficit – the widening
gap between needed and actual investments – must be a national imperative.”
The letter warns that ignoring the innovation deficit would have serious consequences,
such as a less prepared, less highly skilled U.S. workforce, fewer U.S.-based scientific
and technological breakthroughs, fewer U.S.-based patents, and fewer U.S. start-ups,
products and jobs.
The university leaders’ initiative comes as Congress faces critical budget decisions
in the coming months. Annual funding bills, the debt limit and measures to eliminate
or modify the deep across-the-board spending cuts forced by sequestration could all
be taken up this fall. While the legislative path for those measures remains unclear,
the presidents and chancellors noted that targeted investments in research and higher
education can and should be made regardless of overall funding levels because they
would be key sources of long-term economic growth and fiscal stability.
The university leaders call upon President Obama and Congress to “reject unsound budget
cuts and recommit to strong and sustained investments in research and education. Only
then can we ensure that our nation’s promise of a better tomorrow endures.”
For the full letter, originally published on Wednesday in Politico, and list of university
leaders who signed, visit http://innovationdeficit.org/home.html.
This effort is led by the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the leaders of their member universities, who are concerned about cuts to federal investments in research and higher education at a time when other nations are pouring resources into these areas. These leaders believe the nation needs sustained investments in research and higher education to develop the ideas, the people and the innovations that power the nation’s economy, create jobs, improve health and strengthen national security, ensuring that the U.S. maintains its role as global leader. They also believe that the growth supported by innovation will help the nation address its fiscal challenges.
Posted on Friday, August 2, 2013