THE WHITE HOUSE
April 27, 1997
I am pleased to transmit the National Science and Technology
Council (NSTC) report, Renewing the Federal Government-University Research
Partnership for the 21st Century. A multi-agency task force
developed the report under the auspices of the NSTC Committee on Science. The
NSTC review of the Federal-government-university research partnership,
conducted under Presidential Review Directive - 4, illustrates the
Administration's commitment to universities.
The goals of the NSTC review were examine the underlying
principles of the partnership, promote cost-effective university-based
research, and ensure fair allocation of research costs, all while maintaining
appropriate accountability for expenditure of public funds. A special emphasis
was placed on strengthening the linkage between research and education. The
review found that the partnership between the Federal government and
universities in research and associated educational activities continues to
prove vital and exceptionally productive. The partnership continues to promote
the discovery of knowledge, stimulate technological innovation, improve the
quality of life, educate the next generation of scientists and engineers, and
contribute to America's economic prosperity. The recommendations included
in this report will help strengthen the partnership and foster its continued
vitality into the 21st century.
The first recommendation commits the NSTC
to the development of a statement of principles of the partnership to improve
mutual understanding among the stakeholders and strengthen the effectiveness of
the partnership. As a first step, the NSTC is issuing a proposed set of
principles that will be refined over the next year through discussion among
stakeholders, including the Congress, the university community, and
professional societies. Some of these discussions will be organized through the
NSTC, but I also urge independent discussion in the university community. The
principles set forth in this document can fundamentally shape our thinking and
our actions with respect to the government-university partnership. I urge all
stakeholders to become involved in the discussion and will work to ensure that
the proposed principles receive thorough and fair consideration.
A second set of recommendations addresses a central and unique
role of universities: the education and training of the next generation of
scientists and engineers. Government policies and practices must recognize the
dual roles of both graduate and undergraduate students as both researchers who
contribute to the national research enterprise and as students who gain
experience as part of their training. I am committed to pursuing the necessary
changes in Federal rules and regulations to bring our policies into better
accord with practice in this area and urge universities to do the same.
The NSTC is also committed to a set of actions outlined in the
report that will help make the partnership more effective and efficient in
areas identified by the review. I will ensure that all follow-up activities are
taken up expeditiously.
Finally, I will establish an NSTC standing interagency working
group under the auspices of the Committee on Science that is dedicated to
continuing review and assessment of the government-university partnership.
The task force chair and working group are commended for their
efforts in the development of this report.
Assistant to the President
for Science and Technology