Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President Peter McPherson today released the following statement regarding the introduction of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, introduced by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI). The senators also introduced an amendment, which contained specific funding levels.
“APLU thanks Senators Gardner and Peters for their leadership in crafting a bipartisan bill. We very much appreciate the Senators’ consultation with the university and science community as well as with industry. We applaud the provisions that would ease the regulatory burden facing university researchers as well as the renewed commitment to merit-based research grants and the peer-review process. We also strongly support the bill’s wise backing of programs that facilitate technology transfer and commercialization, which would help ensure that more of the most groundbreaking insights gleaned in the lab have the power to transform lives outside it.
“Although the bill would make considerable progress in these areas, its FY17 funding authorization falls short of the robust investment necessary to help the United States maintain its innovative preeminence in a fiercely competitive global landscape. Its FY18 level provides a 4 percent increase for NSF and NIST — a positive step, but lagging at a time when our global competitors are doubling down on their investment in basic and applied research. We cannot afford to let some of our nation’s most promising research lie fallow for a lack of proper investment even for one more year.
“We must prevent an innovation deficit. To that end, more than 500 companies, universities, and national business, science, and university organizations, including APLU, have endorsed Innovation: An American Imperative, which calls on Congress to enact sustained increases in funding for national research agencies of at least 4 percent over inflation to make up lost ground after years of under-investment.
“We look forward to working with the relevant committees as this bill advances through the Senate and we share a commitment to making the investments necessary to ensure that the United States remains the global leader in science and technology.”