Dirks joins call for increased federal investment in research and higher ed

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks has joined 164 other university presidents and chancellors in calling on leaders in Washington to close what they call the “innovation deficit” by investing more in research and higher education, two national higher-education organizations announced today.

This 2012 documentary shows how the federal government’s investment in land-grant universities 150 years ago changed the face of higher education in America, using as examples the research of two UC Berkeley professors, agroecologist Miguel Altieri and physicist Dan Stamper-Kurn (fast forward to 18:00).

The Association of Public and Land Grant Universities and Association of American Universities today (Wednesday, July 31) published a letter signed by all 165 as an ad in the Washington, D.C.-based online publication Politico, citing concern about major federal budget cuts to research and higher education at a time when other nations are steadily increasing investments in those areas.

The letter makes the case that closing that gap must be a national imperative, saying that such investments lead to the types of innovation and new technologies that power the nation’s economy, create jobs and reduce the budget deficit while ensuring the U.S. maintains its role as global leader.

The university leaders’ initiative comes as Congress faces critical budget decisions in the coming months, the groups said.

The University of California is a land grant university and it and its campuses are members of both the APLU and AAU. All 10 UC chancellors signed the letter, as did UC President Mark Yudof.

The open letter can be read online on a joint APLU-AAU website.