A couple of days ago the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Research and Science Education held a hearing on the “Relationship between Business and Research Universities: Collaborations Fueling American Innovation and Job Creation.” You can read more about it here, and you can also find a link to the archived webcast.
Part of the purpose of the hearing was to examine partnerships and collaborations between industry and research universities. Witnesses discussed the challenges and opportunities they face in fueling the research necessary for American economic prosperity and ensuring that universities are adequately preparing the future workforce to meet the needs of industry.
“The fundamental basic research taking place at U.S. research universities is essential to the future prosperity of our Nation,” noted Subcommittee Chairman Mo Brooks (R-AL). “Collaboration between business and academia helps fuel research necessary for American innovation and helps prepare a workforce that meets the needs of industry. Both are critical components to future economic prosperity and job growth.”
This hearing follows a Subcommittee hearing on June 27th featuring representatives from research universities who discussed how their universities affect national prosperity. The National Academies’ Committee on Research Universities reconfirmed that a gap exists in industry research needs. Industry is shifting away from conducting its own transformational and translational research and development (R&D), and is turning to relationships with academic institutions for this R&D support.
Witnesses at this most recent hearing discussed the recommendations, as they relate to industry and the collaborations between industry and universities that can support the future of U.S. research universities. Mr. William Green, Executive Chairman of Accenture, said that “having the talent to compete is what keeps CEOs up at night. The companies — and the countries — with the best talent win.” Green continued, “Our national research universities are our secret weapons. They are a national asset we have invested in for decades.”
Saying that research universities have the potential to “energize the next renaissance in American economic activity,” Green compared the economic benefits of immediate job creation to that of research. “You get a shovel-ready project, you get a swimming pool, you get a bridge; you get a research-ready project, you change how the world works and lives… The return in shovel-ready is three-X, five-X, the return in research-ready could be one thousand-X.”