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Suggested Citation:"6 Conclusion." National Research Council. 2012. Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation's Prosperity and Security. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13396.
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6

Conclusion

During past eras of challenge and change, our national leaders have acted decisively to create innovative partnerships to enable its universities to enhance American security and prosperity.

While engaged in the Civil War, Congress passed the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862 to forge a partnership between the federal government, the states, higher education, and industry aimed at creating universities capable of extending educational opportunities to the working class while conducting the applied research to enable American agriculture and industry to become world leaders. The results were the green revolution in agriculture that fed the world, an American manufacturing industry that became the economic engine of the twentieth century and the arsenal of democracy in two world wars, and an educated middle class that would transform the United States into the strongest nation on Earth.

In the next century, emerging from the Great Depression and World War II, Congress acted once again to strengthen this partnership by investing heavily in basic research and graduate education to build the world’s finest research universities, capable of providing the steady stream of well-educated graduates and scientific and technological innovations central to our robust economy, our vibrant culture, our vital health enterprise, and our national security in a complex, competitive, and challenging world. This expanded research partnership enabled America to win the Cold War, put a man on the Moon, and develop new technologies such as computers, the Internet, Global Positioning Systems, and new medical procedures and drugs that have contributed immensely to national prosperity, security, and public health.

Suggested Citation:"6 Conclusion." National Research Council. 2012. Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation's Prosperity and Security. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13396.
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Today, our nation faces new challenges, a time of rapid and profound economic, social, and political transformation driven by the growth in knowledge and innovation. A decade into the 21st century, a resurgent America must stimulate its economy, address new threats, and position itself in a competitive world transformed by technology, global competitiveness, and geopolitical change. In this milieu, educated people, the knowledge they produce, and the innovation and entrepreneurial skills they possess, particularly in the fields of science and engineering, have become the keys to America’s future.

It is essential as a nation to reaffirm and revitalize the unique partnership that has long existed among the nation’s research universities, federal government, states, and business and industry. The actions recommended will require significant policy changes, productivity enhancement, and investments on the part of each member of the research partnership. Yet they also comprise a fair and balanced program that will generate significant returns to a stronger America.

Suggested Citation:"6 Conclusion." National Research Council. 2012. Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation's Prosperity and Security. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13396.
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Page 179
Suggested Citation:"6 Conclusion." National Research Council. 2012. Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation's Prosperity and Security. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13396.
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Research Universities and the Future of America presents critically important strategies for ensuring that our nation's research universities contribute strongly to America's prosperity, security, and national goals. Widely considered the best in the world, our nation's research universities today confront significant financial pressures, important advances in technology, a changing demographic landscape, and increased international competition. This report provides a course of action for ensuring our universities continue to produce the knowledge, ideas, and talent the United States needs to be a global leader in the 21st century.

Research Universities and the Future of America focuses on strengthening and expanding the partnership among universities and government, business, and philanthropy that has been central to American prosperity and security. The report focuses on the top 10 actions that Congress, the federal government, state governments, research universities, and others could take to strengthen the research and education missions of our research universities, their relationships with other parts of the national research enterprise, and their ability to transfer new knowledge and ideas to those who productively use them in our society and economy.

This report examines trends in university finance, prospects for improving university operations, opportunities for deploying technology, and improvement in the regulation of higher education institutions. It also explores ways to improve pathways to graduate education, take advantage of opportunities to increase student diversity, and realign doctoral education for the careers new doctorates will follow. Research Universities and the Future of America is an important resource for policy makers on the federal and state levels, university administrators, philanthropic organizations, faculty, technology transfer specialists, libraries, and researchers.

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