Washington D.C. - Today, the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education held a hearing to examine partnerships and collaborations between industry and research universities. Witnesses discussed the challenges and opportunities they face in fueling the research necessary for American economic prosperity and ensuring that universities are adequately preparing the future workforce to meet the needs of industry.
“The fundamental basic research taking place at U.S. research universities is essential to the future prosperity of our Nation,” noted Subcommittee Chairman Mo Brooks (R-AL). “Collaboration between business and academia helps fuel research necessary for American innovation and helps prepare a workforce that meets the needs of industry. Both are critical components to future economic prosperity and job growth.”
Today’s hearing follows a Subcommittee hearing on June 27th featuring representatives from research universities who discussed how their universities affect national prosperity. The National Academies’ Committee on Research Universities reconfirmed that a gap exists in industry research needs. Industry is shifting away from conducting its own transformational and translational research and development (R&D), and is turning to relationships with academic institutions for this R&D support.
Witnesses today discussed the recommendations, as they relate to industry and the collaborations between industry and universities that can support the future of U.S. research universities. Mr. William Green, Executive Chairman of Accenture, said that “having the talent to compete is what keeps CEOs up at night. The companies -- and the countries -- with the best talent win.” Green continued, “Our national research universities are our secret weapons. They are a national asset we have invested in for decades.”
Saying that research universities have the potential to “energize the next renaissance in American economic activity,” Green compared the economic benefits of immediate job creation to that of research. “You get a shovel-ready project, you get a swimming pool, you get a bridge; you get a research-ready project, you change how the world works and lives… The return in shovel-ready is three-X, five-X, the return in research-ready could be one thousand-X.”
Dr. Ray Johnson, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Lockheed Martin Corporation, said, “University research provides fundamental scientific and technological knowledge that underlie breakthroughs – the inventions. Businesses will likely continue to grow both their talent pools through targeted talent acquisition and their knowledge and capabilities through strategic, sponsored research.” Johnson said that “Research is fundamental to innovation, economic development, and maintaining national security.”
Dr. John S. Hickman, Director of Global University Relations and Life Sciences at Deere and Company, praised the value of public-private research collaborations. “Research collaborations are often as much about ‘people’ as they are about the specific intellectual property development or research results,” Hickman said. “Research collaborations help maintain peer-to-peer relationships between university and industry researchers and provide a glimpse into our future workforce.”
The following witnesses testified today:
Mr. William D. Green, Executive Chairman, Accenture, Boston, Massachusetts
Dr. Ray O. Johnson, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Bethesda, Maryland
Dr. John S. Hickman, Director, Global University Relations and Life Sciences, Deere and Company, Moline, Illinois
Dr. Louis Graziano, Director, University R&D Strategy, Sustainable Technologies & Innovation Sourcing, The Dow Chemical Company, Spring House, Pennsylvania
Ms. Jilda Diehl Garton, Vice President for Research and General Manager, Georgia Tech Research Corporation, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia