August 3rd, 2013 | University

University presidents urge Obama to close ‘innovation deficit’

University President Peter Salovey, along with 164 other university presidents and leaders, sent an open letter to President Barack Obama and the United States Congress this week asking them to restore federal funding in higher education research and close the “innovation deficit.”

The letter asserts that the U.S. position as an innovative world leader is in “serious jeopardy” due to decreased federal funding to university research, recent sequestration cuts and an increased emphasis on research in other countries.

“We call upon you to reject unsound budget cuts and recommit to strong and sustained investments in research and education,” Salovey and his colleagues wrote. “Only then can we ensure that our nation’s promise of a better tomorrow endures.”

Salovey told the News in April that federal grant and contract income makes up about 20 percent of Yale’s operating revenue including research. Decreases and further sequestration cuts to that amount, he added, will require Yale to find the funding elsewhere or make research cuts of its own.

As Salovey prepared to step into his role as president earlier this year, chief communications officer Elizabeth Stauderman told the News she expected Salovey to be a vocal advocate for higher education on the national stage. Within a month of taking his position at the helm of the University, Salovey has started to fulfill those expectations.

The letter appeared as an advertisement in Politico on July 31, 2013. Both the Association of American Universities, to which Yale belongs, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities spearheaded the effort.