UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and more than 160 other university presidents and chancellors have urged President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress to make it a national priority to increase federal spending on research and higher education.
Their open letter, published July 31 as an advertisement on the influential Politico website, describes what the university leaders call the United States' "innovation deficit" — the growing disparity between the nation's needed and actual spending on research and education, particularly in comparison to the rate of growth in such spending in countries like China, Singapore and South Korea.
"Throughout our history, this nation has kept the promise of a better tomorrow to each generation," the ad reads, in part. "This has been possible because of our economic prosperity based in large part on America's role as global innovation leader ... We call upon you 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."
Congress is due to consider legislation this fall that could significantly affect budgets for higher education and research. The universities represented in the advertisement are members of the Association of American Universities or the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, or both. Chancellor Block is a member of the AAU executive committee and past chair of the board of directors of the APLU.