University leaders urge closing of “innovation deficit”

August 6, 2013 By Terry Devitt

One hundred sixty-five leaders of U.S. universities, including UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, have gone on record urging President Barack Obama to close the “innovation deficit.”

In an open letter published in Politico, the presidents and chancellors representing a wide swath of higher education call for “closing the innovation deficit — the widening gap between needed and actual investments in research and education.”

Investment in basic research and education, they note, has a significant economic impact, creates jobs and reduces budget deficits while helping the United States maintain its leadership position in a global economy. “We call upon you to reject unsound budget cuts and recommit to strong and sustained investments in research and education,” Blank and her colleagues wrote. “Only then can we ensure that our nation’s promise of a better tomorrow endures.”

The letter was posted as an advertisement July 31, 2013 in Politico. The effort was spearheaded by the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among others.