|2. FINDINGS AND
The NSTC finds that the partnership is sound, that it continues to serve the nation in important ways, and provides a sound basis for the transition of the partnership into the twenty-first century. The partnership contributes to Americas economic prosperity, enhances national security, and provides the means to improve the quality of life for our citizens. The integration of research with education, effective teaching and mentoring, and awards based on merit provide the underpinnings of the system.
Federally supported university-based research is a critically important investment by the nation in its future prosperity and wellbeing. Federal investments in university-based research are an integral component of the larger research and development enterprise that has enabled approximately half of the nation's productivity and growth in the last 50 years. In 1997, the Federal government provided $14.2 billion for academic research. These funds comprise more than 60% of support from all sources for university research, and account for more than half of Federal investments in basic research, and more than one-third of its investment in total research (basic and applied). Those fractions are more than are received by any other type of research performer. They reveal the extent of the nations reliance on universities as the prime repository of core competency in basic research and underscore the importance placed by Federal agencies on coupling research and education in preparing the next generation of scientists and engineers. Federal agencies foster science and technology partnerships with universities in numerous other ways, such as providing university-based researchers access to unique, state-of-the art research facilities. These facilities provide essential research tools for a wide range of disciplines and foster collaborative research relationships between researchers in Federal laboratories, industrial partners, and university students and faculty.
The NSTC found great encouragement in the ongoing and dynamic partnership between government and universities. But while the NSTC concluded that the partnership remains productive, maintaining its vitality requires continued vigilance. The review identified a number of ways in which the partnership might be made more effective and is taking action in three areas outlined chapters 3-5. Chapter 6 addresses the need for ongoing review of the partnership. First, the NSTC concludes that mutual understanding and effectiveness would be enhanced by a clear articulation of the principles of the partnership. The NSTC will develop such a statement of principles in consultation with universities, and as a first step, is issuing a proposed set of principles, reproduced in chapter 3. To be effective, this process must be conducted in partnership with stakeholders, including the Congress. Second, the NSTC reaffirms the importance to the nation, to the research enterprise, and to the future scientific and engineering workforce, of linking education and research, and urges universities to do likewise. The vital and dual roles of students (undergraduates as well as graduates), as both researchers who contribute to the national research enterprise, and as students who gain research experience as part of their training, must be recognized and reflected in government and university policies and practices alike. Specific actions that the NSTC will take in support of this policy are outlined in chapter 4. Third, the NSTC, through the agencies that fund university-based research, will implement a set of actions that will help make the partnership more effective and efficient in areas identified by the review and discussed in chapter 5 of the report. Universities are likewise urged to examine their policies and practices for ways to improve the partnership. Finally, the NSTC will establish a mechanism to follow-up on issues that were identified by the review but which were not examined in detail and to provide for ongoing review of the partnership.
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