University of Michigan joins 252 groups and business leaders in call to action for American “Innovation Imperative”

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The University of Michigan joined scores of other higher education institutions, as well as leaders of American business, industry, science, and engineering in a call for stronger federal policies and investment to drive domestic research and development. Ten CEOs and 252 organizations signed “Innovation: An American Imperative,” a document aimed at federal decision makers and legislators. It underscores the findings of The American Academy of Arts & Sciences report, Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream.

“Innovation is a vital part of the national dialogue, and as a research institution, the University of Michigan has a major role. We hope this collective effort will help spur investment in the innovative research that underlies progress in all aspects of our society,” said Cynthia H. Wilbanks, University of Michigan Vice President for Government Relations.

According to Restoring the Foundation, “There is a deficit between what America is investing and what it should be investing to remain competitive, not only in research but in innovation and job creation.” The United States is failing to keep pace with competitor nations with regard to investments in basic research and development. America’s ascendency in the 20th century was due in large part—if not primarily—to its investments in science and engineering research. Basic research is behind every new product brought to market, every new medical device or drug, every new defense and space technology and many innovative business practices.

Over the last two decades, a steady decline in investment in research & development (R&D) in the United States has allowed our nation to fall to 10th place in R&D investment among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD) nations as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).

“At universities, research is closely tied to our educational mission,” said S. Jack Hu, interim vice president for research. “Investments in U-M research are central to our ability to provide our students with the skills and insights they need to become tomorrow’s innovators.”

The Innovation Imperative urges federal policy makers to:

  • End sequestration’s deep cuts to federal investments in R&D
  • Make permanent a strengthened federal R&D tax credit
  • Improve student achievement in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM)
  • Reform U.S. visa policy
  • Streamline or eliminate costly and inefficient regulations
  • Reaffirm merit-based peer review
  • Stimulate further improvements in advanced manufacturing

The University of Michigan is among the 101 higher education institutions to support the call to action, which also includes Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University and Western Michigan University.

Details are found in the Innovation Imperative Call to Action.

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