White House Letter
Cover Letter


April 27, 1997

Dear Colleague:

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.


Neal Lane
Assistant to the President
for Science and Technology




Download Complete File

White House Letter


Executive Summary and Recommendations

Proposed Statement of Principles

Actions to Strengthen the Partnership

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