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• Research universities must improve management, productivity, and cost efficiency in both administration and academics.

• Young faculty have insufficient opportunities to launch academic careers and research programs.

• There has been an underinvestment in campus infrastructure, particularly in cyberinfrastructure that could lead to long-term increases in productivity, cost-effectiveness, and innovation in research, education, and administration.

• The cost of sponsored research is not fully covered by those who procure it, which means that universities have to cross-subsidize sponsored research from other sources.

• A burdensome accumulation of federal and state regulatory and reporting requirements increases costs and sometimes challenges academic freedom and integrity.

• Doctoral and postdoctoral preparation could be enhanced by shortening time-to-degree, raising completion rates, and enhancing programs’ effectiveness in providing training for highly productive careers.

• Demographic change in the U.S. population necessitates strategies for increasing the success of female and underrepresented minority students.

• Institutions abroad are increasingly competing for international students, researchers, and scholars.

The principles and recommendations that follow are designed to help federal and state policymakers, universities, and businesses overcome these hurdles and capitalize on these opportunities. Strong leadership — and partnership — will be needed by these parties if our research universities and our nation are to thrive.


We believe that America’s research universities are today a key asset for our nation’s future. They are so because of the considered and deliberate decisions made in the past by policymakers, even in difficult times. Our future now depends on the willingness of our current policymakers to follow their example and make the decisions that will allow us to continue to compete, prosper, and shape our destiny.

It is essential that we as a nation reaffirm, revitalize, and strengthen substantially the unique partnership that has long existed among the nation’s research universities, the federal government, the states, and philanthropy by enhancing their individual roles and the links among them and also by providing incentives for stronger partnership with business and industry. In doing so, we will encourage the ideas and innovations that will lead to more high-end jobs, increased incomes, and the national security, health, and prosperity we expect.


Reaffirming and strengthening the unique partnership that has long existed among the nation’s research universities, the federal government, the states, and business will require:

• A balanced set of commitments by each of the partners — the federal government, state governments, research universities, and business and industry — to provide leadership for the nation in a knowledge-intensive world and to develop and implement enlightened policies, efficient operating practices, and necessary investments.

• The use of requirements for matching funds among these commitments, which provide strong incentives for participation at comparable levels by each partner.

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