Daniels urges Obama, Congress to avoid funding cuts for research, education

He joins more than 160 other university leaders in open letter noting that investments are needed to overcome 'innovation deficit'

Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels joined more than 160 other university presidents and chancellors from across the U.S. on Thursday in calling on leaders in Washington to avoid cuts to federal investments in research and higher education.

Ronald J. Daniels

Image caption: Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels

In an open letter to President Barack Obama and Congress published Thursday in the influential Washington, D.C., publication Politico, Daniels and his fellow university leaders wrote that closing the innovation deficit—the widening gap between needed and actual investments in research and education—must be a national priority. They noted that investments in those areas lead to the types of innovation that power the nation's economy, create jobs, and reduce the budget deficit while ensuring the U.S. maintains its role as global leader.

Economists agree that more than half of U.S. economic growth since World War II is a consequence of technological innovation, much of which results from federally funded scientific research conducted at U.S. universities. Such groundbreaking research, the university leaders noted, has led to lifesaving vaccines, lasers, MRI, touchscreens, GPS, the Internet, and many other advances that have improved lives and generated entire new sectors of our economy.

"Throughout our history, this nation has kept the promise of a better tomorrow to each generation," Daniels and his colleagues wrote. "This has been possible because of our economic prosperity based in large part on America's role as global innovation leader. Failing to deal with the innovation deficit will pass to future generations the burdens of lost leadership in innovation, economic decline, and limited job opportunities. We call upon you to reject unsound budget cuts and recommit to strong and sustained investments in research and education. Only then can we ensure that our nation's promise of a better tomorrow endures."

For more information, and to read the complete letter, visit innovationdeficit.org.