tieth century (e.g., Bell Labs), but have not yet fully partnered with our research universities to fill the gap; and research universities themselves have failed to achieve the cost efficiency and productivity enhancement in teaching and research required of an increasingly competitive world.
Yet a time of crisis can also stimulate a call to action. We have reached a fork in the road at which critical decisions about the future of American higher education must be made. The actions we take in the next few years will determine whether our children and grandchildren will have well-paying jobs and whether our nation will continue to have a vibrant economy, and a healthy and secure populace. It is essential that, at this fork, we as a nation take the path that reaffirms, revitalizes, and strengthens substantially the unique partnership that has long existed among the nation’s research universities, the federal government, the states, and business and industry.
At this time in history, the United States faces a range of important challenges: economic recovery and growth, budget deficits, unemployment, security challenges, and spiraling health care costs. These issues must be addressed. Yet the United States can also utilize and leverage a range of extraordinary assets that will allow us to create our own destiny in the 21st century. Among those assets are our nation’s research universities, which can help us address our short-term challenges even as they create new opportunities. The United States can best leverage research universities for the breakthroughs it needs for the high-end jobs, increasing middle-class incomes, and the security, health, and prosperity we expect, by ensuring these institutions are properly resourced; increasingly productive, agile, and innovative; and working creatively in partnership with business.