A new video recently released online draws attention to the “Innovation Deficit” and the need for federal investments in research and education to support economic growth and American leadership in science and technology.
The video was produced at Colorado State University for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Association of American Universities (AAU), both organizations to which UC Davis belongs. It’s part of a continuing campaign, including a website and Twitter feed, to draw attention to the negative effects of budget cuts and sequestration on federally-funded research.
“Investment in higher education is investment in economic growth,” wrote Chancellor Linda P. B. Katehi in an op-ed last December. “UC Davis alone accounts for 70,000 jobs and $7 billion in economic activity each year. Cutting off funding to our colleges and universities means fewer jobs, fewer dollars going to small businesses and fewer of the highly educated workers essential to our state’s economy.”
Katehi cited research on childhood asthma and agricultural diseases as just two areas where federally-funded research at UC Davis has had a direct impact on the well-being of Californians.
UC Davis has certainly benefitted from these federal investments in education and research, with a 335 percent increase in overall research funding since 1995. The campus still managed to increase research funding in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013, to $754 million, and the federal government is still the largest single sponsor of research at UC Davis, at $356 million in 2012-13. Yet within those figures, federal funding fell by about $45 million.
The UC Davis Office of Research has set up a bridge funding program for researchers who have lost, or are about to lose, their primary extramural funding. The bridge program will provide up to $100,000 for a maximum of one year, allowing projects to continue and key staff to be retained while the investigator applies for new external grants.
Vice Chancellor for Research Harris Lewin also has established the Interdisciplinary Frontiers Program, investing $14.5 million in one-time internal funds to seed 20 new interdisciplinary research themes on campus in science, engineering, humanities and arts that could grow into major research centers and attract major external grants in the future.
In addition to APLU and AAU, the video was sponsored by a list of business and educational associations: Aerospace Industries Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Council on Education, American Heart Association, Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Business-Higher Education Forum, Council on Competitiveness, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, Semiconductor Industry Association, Task Force on American Innovation, The Science Coalition, and United for Medical Research.