Reality, Not Rhetoric, Should Shape Research Investment

By Jay WalshMay 17, 2017

Since the 2016 US presidential election, but frankly for many years, the academic community and those who care about it in America have expressed concern about ongoing federal funding for university research. 

The concern has extended beyond our borders to other countries who turn to the United States as a bellwether for research innovation. The worry is understandable, because almost anywhere we look, whether considering environmental and climate issues; related food, water, and energy security matters; chronic poverty; or the specter of a global pandemic, the challenges we face demand sustained and concerted effort for us to manage them effectively.

After all, existential threats don’t care whether you identify as a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or None-of-the-Above. They don’t care about national origin either.

That’s why, at Northwestern, we remain absolutely dedicated to our mission of pursuing transformative research that addresses humanity’s most urgent problems. Last month, Northwestern President Schapiro shared his vision for how the University will redouble its commitment to science and scholarship even in these uncertain times. I also offered my views about the importance of basic research to advance innovation that produces broad social good. My contention (and I’m not alone) is that discoveries made at top research institutions have long conferred benefits that transcend partisanship. Such progress increases our quality of life, strengthens our economic health, and bolsters the security of our country and the world. Read more.