On June 27, the U.S. House of Representatives, research and science education subcommittee held a hearing on the future of research universities in the U.S. ASBMB member James Siedow, vice provost for research at Duke University, testified before the subcommittee along with four other witnesses representing research universities.
The hearing took place just a few days after the release of the National Academy of Sciences’ report Research Universities and the Future of America. The congressionally requested report outlines 10 recommendations aimed at strengthening research universities. The report highlighted the challenges research universities face, most notably the gradual decline in federal funding. Several of the recommendations described changes that could be made to provide research universities with a more stable funding structure.
Siedow agreed that insufficient federal funding for basic research, particularly for the National Institutes of Health, was a major challenge. When asked for suggestions, he cited the report’s recommendation encouraging the federal government move toward a 3 percent investment of the U.S. gross domestic product in research and development. Siedow did admit that the current economic climate could slow down the implementation of this goal, but he emphasized that a plan must be created now.