University at Buffalo: Reporter

Greiner asks Clinton to support university-based research

Give research funding high priority, letter urges

News Services Director

UB President William R. Greiner has joined presidents from other major U.S. research-intensive universities in asking President Clinton to make federal support for university-based research a national funding priority.

In a letter dated March 12, Greiner praised Clinton's "strong and positive stance on education" and asked him to take similar leadership in supporting university-based research.

"Your leadership in supporting university research in the federal budget for fiscal 1998," Greiner added, "will mean continued advances and continued promise for generations to come."

The Association of American Universities, whose members are the nation's leading universities, has called upon them and their presidents to communicate to Clinton, as well as to members of Congress, the need to maintain federal funding of university-based research.

In his letter to Clinton, Greiner noted, "The United States' constellation of research-intensive universities remains the finest in the world, setting benchmarks for scientific endeavors everywhere. Work at our institutions produces remarkable scientific, technological, and sociocultural resources."

Greiner cited the example of UB researchers who "are learning to build structures and roadways that resist earthquake damage; to better understand women's health issues; and to program computers that can 'read' handwritten postal addresses.

"Federal support," he added, "made possible these UB projects, as well as many others."

Greiner added that "experience suggests that the university setting is the most productive of all venues for research. By bringing together talented scientists, cutting-edge technology, and international contacts, and by supporting their work in a spirit of creativity and free inquiry, universities are a veritable font of ingenuity. Universities also develop talented scientists, cutting-edge technology, and international contacts."

He noted that not only have students from around the world "long flocked to our country for doctoral and postdoctoral education at research universities," but that scientists from other countries look to the universities "to set the pace for many international advances."

Greiner also addressed the "very special academic experience" offered to "America's most talented young people" by the nation's major research-intensive universities.

"Again, the federally supported research enterprise, built largely over the past 50 years, helps us to cultivate and preserve the human and intellectual capital on which America's future as a world leader depends.

"Moreover, federal support for university research is aggressively leveraged," Greiner said. "It is the foundation on which we build our many partnerships."

"UB's National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research-funded for the past 10 years by NSF (National Science Foundation), with additional New York State funds-has helped one of Western New York's former defense contractors redirect his business to produce new technologies, retaining jobs and potential for economic growth.

"We and our colleagues across the nation have many such stories," Greiner added. "Federal support is the underpinning of a range of joint ventures between universities, state and local governments, and the business sector. The outcomes benefit Americans locally, regionally, and nationally."

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