President’s comments at Faculty Senate meeting of April 27, 2017

I’d just like to follow up briefly on our last meeting two weeks ago, when I discussed federal support for research. I just got back from several productive days in Washington, including a meeting with my colleagues in the Association of American Universities, which as you know is our advocacy association of 62-member research universities.

The AAU presidents and chancellors agreed that we needed to make a statement about the need for federal support of our work. The result was a strong joint statement from all of our universities – all of us together – affirming the important role of universities and university research in advancing our economy, improving public health, strengthening national security, improving society and training our next generation of leaders.

I also spoke about the importance of federally supported research before members of the Economic Club. It’s a group of senior business leaders in Washington. I joined Drew Faust from Harvard and Michael Drake from Ohio State in a very wide-ranging conversation.

In addition to talking about research, I took the opportunity to make some emphatic statements about the importance of our international students and what they contribute to our academic vitality, as well as our ability to have post-doctoral scholars working on our campuses under visas. I noted that I was one of those students who did work in the U.S. initially under the J-1 visa.

I emphasized to the audience that federal support for research is really a bipartisan issue. Everyone benefits from discoveries and what we contribute to the economy and job creation. Both the AAU statement as well as the Economic Club talk are available online.

While I was in Washington I also took the opportunity to meet with senators from both sides of the aisle, and I am heartened to report that there is clear evidence of bipartisan support for the importance of research and the funding of research. I am going to be returning to Washington again in May and in June to meet with additional members of Congress, as well as senior members of the Administration.

We will also continue to be very attentive to any new developments in Washington and do all that we can to advocate for the importance of federal support.