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Renewing the Federal Government-University Research Partnership for the 21st Century

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SUBJECT:          Renewing the Federal Government-University Research Partnership for the 21st Century


Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release April 27, 1999

Federal investments in university research are critically important to the Nation, helping foster the discovery of knowledge, stimulating technological innovation, improving the quality of life, and contributing to America's economic prosperity.  Universities also have the unique role of educating and training the next generation of scientists and engineers.  Indeed, the integration of research and education is the hall-mark of the American university system, which many nations now seek to emulate.  Beginning with the visionary establishment of the land grant universities by President Lincoln in 1862 and continuing with President Truman's effort to redouble our Nation's commitment to university-sponsored research and education by the establishment of the National Science Foun-dation, the partnership that has evolved between the Federal Government and our Nation's system of research universities has served us well by any measure of success.

However, with the end of the Cold War and the globalization of the world's economy, it became apparent that the future success of the partnership cannot be taken for granted.  That is why I directed the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) to assess the current state of the partnership and recommend ways to strengthen it.  The resulting report on Renewing the Federal Government-University Research Partnership for the 21st Century finds that the partnership is fundamentally sound, but that it can still be improved.  Therefore, I direct as follows:

1.  The NSTC, in consultation with research universities and other stakeholders in the Federal science and technology enterprise, shall develop a statement of principles that clearly articulates the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of each of the partners and establishes a framework for addressing future issues as they arise. Ultimately, this statement of principles will serve to shape future discussions and guide policy development and decision making.

2.  The NSTC shall develop recommendations to better support the integration of research and education in Government policies and practice.  The vital and dual roles of students (undergraduates as well as graduates), as both researchers who contribute to the national research enterprise and as students who gain research experience as part of their training, must be recognized and reflected in Government and university policies and practices.

3.  The NSTC shall propose specific actions by member agencies to make the partnership more effective and efficient.  These actions should be aimed at fostering a productive policy, regulatory, and administrative environment and promoting cost and administrative efficiencies while maintaining accountability for public funds.

These actions should be completed within 12 months of the date of this memorandum.  The findings and recommendations contained in the NSTC report Renewing the Federal Government-University Research Partnership for the 21st Century should provide the basis for proceeding.


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