Montclair State University President Joins University Leaders in Urging Congress and President Obama to Close Innovation Gap

165 University Leaders Ask Washington to Restore Critical Investments in Research and Education

Release Date: August 6, 2013

Prompted by concern over federal budget cuts to research and higher education at a time when other nations are increasing investment in those areas, Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole recently joined 164 of her fellow university presidents and chancellors in calling for Congress to close the nation’s growing innovation deficit.

“Our nation’s role as the world’s innovation leader is in serious jeopardy,” Cole and her colleagues wrote in an open letter to Congress and President Obama. “Closing this innovation deficit – the widening gap between needed and actual investments in research and education – must be a national imperative.” Ignoring it will lead to a less-skilled workforce, fewer U.S.-based scientific and technological breakthroughs, fewer U.S.-based patents, and fewer American start-ups, products and jobs.

“It is essential to our future prosperity and growth as a nation – and as a university – that Montclair State support this effort to renew the federal government’s investment in innovation,” says Cole.

More than half of the nation’s economic growth since World War II has resulted from technological innovations stemming from federally funded university-based research. Life-saving vaccines, lasers, MRI, GPS, and the Internet are among the many groundbreaking discoveries that have improved lives and generated new sectors of the economy. Yet the rate of growth of U.S. research and development investments is currently outstripped by those of countries like China, Singapore and South Korea.

“It is equally troubling that the U.S. has fallen to 12th among developed countries in the share of young adults who hold college degrees,” Cole and her colleagues wrote.

The letter noted that it is sustained federal investments in research and student financial aid that foster the innovations that power the nation’s economy, create jobs and reduce the budget deficit – and ensure that the U.S. remains a global innovation leader.

The university leaders called on Congress and President Obama to “reject unsound budget cuts and recommit to strong and sustained investments in research and education. Only then can we ensure that our nation’s promise of a better tomorrow endures.”

The 165 universities represented in the letter are all members of the Association of American Universities and/or the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. Montclair State University is a member of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

The open letter, along with additional information, is available at:  www.innovationdeficit.org