President Serves on University-Government Panel Examining Research Funding Relationships

At the April meeting, President James Wagner discussed his service on an American Association of Universities committee to advise a National Research Council study on university-government research partnerships. “We were asked for a list of suggestions that are budget neutral but that would improve our access to funds or our ability to carry out the national science agenda,” he said. “We’ve identified a handful of policies that have accreted over the years that cost us money and do no one any good.” For example, he said, there may now be some traction for eliminating NIH effort reporting while allowing universities to retain related funds. Also being reconsidered, however, is the calculation of indirect costs, so that the percentage provided in federal research support to cover facilities and administrative costs would be uniformly applied to all universities, Wagner explained. “We have a negotiated rate in the neighborhood of 55 percent,” but with uniform application, that rate could be significantly adjusted, affecting university research support. President Wagner added that he would like to identify a faculty group to “become experts” on this issue.


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