Investing in University Research

Uploaded by whitehouse on 21.09.2010

Vice President Biden: Well, first of all, welcome to the White House,
and thanks for coming here to the Roosevelt Room.
At this table, we have some great leaders,
and in this country we also have some talented students,
world-class universities, engineers, inventors,
entrepreneurs, but our competitiveness depends on
creating and producing even more of these people.
And today, about 60% of all basic research is funded by the
federal government.
But the federal research and development spending has dropped
steadily since 2004, and in real terms federal investment,
federal investment in research dropped (inaudible) in 2008.
That's why we made sure that the Recovery Act included more than
$18 billion to fund research and development in universities like
the ones represented here today at this table.
This investment in basic (inaudible) research came on top
of roughly $62 billion in annual federal research and development
funding for each of the last two years,
nearly a 30% increase from the 2009 budget.
This is among the most critical parts of our recovery spending,
because it's the investments in the future,
an investment that's going to pave the way for a new American
economy, the new building blocks on which we're going to build
our economy in the 21st century.
And out of a lot of this research literally we will see
we'll be talking about 10 and 20 years from now entire new
industries will spring up.
In fact, economists will tell you that for every dollar of
science funding we actually produce two or more dollars of
economic goods and services in the overall economy.
Consider the work represented just at this table.
The University of California and Johns Hopkins are part of a
Cancer Genome Atlas Project which studies the DNA of
cancers, which has the potential of accelerating drug development
and improving diagnosis and treatment of 20 types of cancer.
As we'll talk about later, that's up from a study of three
types of cancer.
And the economic impact, if it succeeds,
is astronomical in terms of health care costs.
The team at Purdue University is conducting research that would
use chemical reactions to directly convert plant biomass,
and that's the bulk of the plant,
into biofuels that closely resemble gasoline.
And I'm going to ask the President about what the
consequences would be if in fact the best expectations occur.
It could be literally groundbreaking for the economy.
The Washington State University is studying and participating in
an effort to make the City of Pullman the region's first Smart
Grid community where they allow the area to control the use of
energy in ways that are much more efficient,
much more productive, and much cheaper.
The University of Florida researchers are studying how to
harness solar energy and waste heat to actually run the
refrigeration system.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania meanwhile are
studying neurodegenerative disorders.
This research is studying the long-term neurological effects
of anti-retroviral drugs taken by HIV patients,
both what the effects are and ultimately how can we avoid the
harmful effects.
Folks, this is where the future lies, the future of health care,
and quite frankly the future of energy production in this country.
And that's the basis of what we're going to --
a significant part of the 21st century economy will rest upon.
This Administration has made these investments because we
believe that our new economic future will grow from ideas that
are incubating in universities around the country.
And that's the breeding ground.
And by the way, it's always been that way.
I'm always amazed by some of my colleagues who suggest we
shouldn't be investing like this.
What would have happened had Eisenhower not decided that an
outfit called ARPA should be put in place,
and had the ARPANET not ever been generated by a $25 million
investment there, which ultimately ended up in the
Internet, and ultimately ended up with 1.7 billion people using
it, generating hundreds of billions of dollars in commerce and trade.
So this is nothing new what we're doing,
yet some of our critics act like we're coming up with some new
social intervention here.
It's the way in which all the way back to Abraham Lincoln,
decided to give in the middle of the Civil War $16,000 in
Treasury Bonds for every mile of intercontinental railroad that was built.
So the rest of the world gets this,
and we can't afford to lag behind the rest of the world.
We rank only eighth in the world in R&D investments as a
percentage of our GDP, behind countries like South Korea and Japan.
And take the energy part of this.
As a percentage of GDP, federal investment in energy R&D is one
tenth of what it was during the Carter Administration.
One tenth of what it was during the Carter Administration,
leaving us 12th among 12 of the Organizations for Economic
Cooperation and Development countries that are engaged in
this effort.
There was a study that came out last year looking at all the
factors that go into what makes a nation competitive,
and research and development is one of them.
The study found the United States did less than any other
country to improve our position over the last decade.
We literally ranked 40th out of 40 countries that took part in
this study.
Do you know who was number one?
It would not -- every one of the listeners or the press here or
the readers will be able to tell you -- China.
China was number one.
Other countries all that have less include, believe it or not,
Cyprus, Lithuania, South Korea.
This is unacceptable.
If we don't put our resources into research and development to
make us more competitive, companies are going to continue
to invest overseas, jobs are going to continue to be shipped
overseas, and the U.S. will not be able to lead the 21st century
anything remotely like it did in the 20th century.
It's that simple, in my view.
We cannot afford not to rededicate ourselves to
supporting the work all the people around this table do.
Look, we know government can't do what you guys can do,
nor the private sector can do.
We don't expect it to be that way.
We kind of view it as priming the pump.
We view it as seed money.
We view it as an investment in the brightest minds of the world
tackling the biggest problems the world now faces.
But what the federal government can do and historically great
presidents have done is provide a vision,
provide a vision for the country,
setting goals and providing seed money to encourage money in
private investment off the sidelines to be engaged in a way
they otherwise would not engage or at least would not engage at
the time that is needed.
So we have to let colleges and universities make these visions
a reality.
I'd like to give you an example.
The work we funded on the Cancer Genome Atlas,
much of which happened at Johns Hopkins and University of
California, we know that cancer is one of the leading killers in
the United States and a huge driver of medical costs.
We know that some of the most innovative and potentially
promising work being done to combat this disease was the
effort to try to map the genome of cancer,
just like we did the human genome a decade ago.
Well, prior to the Recovery Act, there was a pilot program that
was working to map the genome for three cancers that affected
a total of 300,000 Americans.
So we invested here, giving you the tools to extend this
promising program to more cancers that affect
significantly more Americans.
And today, thanks to the Recovery Act funding,
the smartest minds across the country are performing this work
on breast cancer, colon cancer, gastric cancer, brain cancer,
and approximately 20 other types of cancer.
In total it is estimated that more than 10 million Americans
will be affected by the 20 plus types of cancer to be studied in
the way it was only previously studied in three,
a 34-fold increase over the 300,000 affected by the three
cancers studied in the pilot program.
And even if part of this breaks through,
the consequences for the country not just in terms of human
lives, but in terms of the economic consequences,
are significant.
But it's not just about scientific advancement tomorrow.
It's about actual economic growth today.
Well, what Dr. Holdren and I, at least I most often get answered
is okay, this is all good, but the economy's in really tough
shape right now.
We can't afford to be looking down the road,
we've got to look at today.
Well, the fact of the matter is the research you are doing and
your colleagues in other universities across the country
is actually generating economic growth today.
Earlier this summer the Council of Economic Advisors reported
the Recovery Act-supported research projects --
only the Recovery Act-supported research projects I'm talking
about here -- are responsible for over 50,000 jobs thus far.
Thus far.
And today's jobs become tomorrow's whole new industries.
And we've already begun to see it, by the way.
For example, A123 is a battery company that I visited out in
the Midwest.
They started a federally supported project at MIT.
Now they're a company who employs 1,700 people in the
Midwest, and is actually leading the advance of battery
technology that is going to move us from producing 2% of the
world's lithium-ion batteries that power vehicles in the 21st
century to 40% within the next couple of years.
A company named Cree is another one of these examples.
They make LED lighting in Raleigh, North Carolina.
I was down there last year, sat with a young CEO,
they started at North Carolina State with a --
with the support of the Department of Defense.
Now they employ 3,100 people in jobs and in an industry of
the future.
And with a few tax breaks they were given they call 48C,
they will keep those jobs in the United States of America.
I'm looking forward to hearing about how the Recovery Act is
helping you and your institutions,
and how we can help people understand and see how important
the investment in research being made through the Recovery Act
truly is.
And I'm looking forward to figuring out how we can continue
to ensure that you can educate tomorrow's leaders and help us
build a stronger economy for the 21st century.
The President said it when we were talking about and while I
was in Baghdad a little while ago as we were changing our
mission, and he pointed out, at the end of the day all of what
we do worldwide depends upon strong economic growth at home.
And I would argue without continued investment in research
and development, we are going to be in the position we're not
going to be able to lead in the 21st century.
We want to help people see what this is doing for our economy
now and what is potential to do in the days ahead.
Now, my part, my job is introducing the --
a few presidents here.
I'm used to dealing with presidents around this table,
believe it or not, and usually he sits right here and I sit
there, and John and I ask him questions occasionally.
But the truth of the matter is, that first I'd like to introduce
France Cordova, the President of Purdue University.
Purdue is known as the cradle of the astronauts for a very good
reason -- they've sent 22 graduates into space.
My university thinks we send as many into space,
but in a different way.
I'm one of them.
But -- including Neil Armstrong.
Purdue alumni have flown on 37% of all the human U.S. space flights.
In 2007 the Boilermakers continued with that tradition,
while looking into the stars, choosing a former chief
scientist at NASA, Dr. Cordova, as their leader.
So Doctor, I'd like to hear a little bit about space,
but I'd like to hear a lot more about what it is that you're
doing at Purdue that's going to generate this kind of change.
And then I don't know how long the press is going to be here,
but then Amy Gutmann is a good friend that's going to talk
about what's going on at the University of Pennsylvania.
And then we're going to hear in an open discussion from all the
rest of the players here, and Mr. McPherson and Mr. --
Mr. Berdahl: Berdahl.
Vice President Biden: Berdahl -- represent other research universities in the
nation as well as land grant colleges as well,
and they're going to be all part of the discussion.
This is the beginning of what we want to do is to lay down a
marker that science is back in the White House,
and that we are absolutely committed to using resources of
the federal government and setting a vision and providing
the seed money for you all to help us literally change the world.
And that's what you're about.
So thank you very much, and I'm going to yield to you, Doctor.
Dr. Cordova: Mr. Vice President, thank you very much for inviting me to
join you with these distinguished colleagues.
As noted, I hail from Purdue University, home of the Boilermakers.
Purdue is the Land Grant University of Indiana,
and you mentioned President Lincoln and his investment in
the railroads.
There was another investment that happened at that time,
of course, with the Moral Act and the creation of the land
grant universities, and in fact we were born,
the University was, of a private-public partnership with
the great gift of John Purdue, and then the government
investment to create the University.
At any one time, 74,000 students are entrusted to us --
Vice President Biden: 74,000.
Dr. Cordova: 74,000, 40,000 on the main campus,
and then we have several regional campuses.
We educate and prepare them for the jobs of the future.
In fact, you mentioned about making tomorrow's leaders,
actually our motto because of our space heritage is launching
tomorrow's leaders.
We do aim high.
Last week the "Wall Street Journal" listed Purdue among the
top four universities in this country for corporate recruiters
because of our preparation of students for the workforce.
We're also Indiana's fifth largest employer,
and last year our economic impact on the state was over $4 billion.
We're able to benefit both our students and our state and
nation because of our talented faculty and researchers and
their ability to compete effectively for research funding.
As you have so eloquently said, this funding leads to the
discoveries and the inventions that fuel economic development.
This past year, Purdue's research awards were augmented
with 174 Recovery Act awards, which totaled more than $130 million.
I'd like to give you just a few examples of how these awards are
benefiting our state and our nation.
Indiana, which is often called the Crossroads of America,
that's what's on our quarter, is facing declines in many
traditional industries, including manufacturing and automotive.
Thus we're happy to be part of a private-public partnership with
Cummins Engine in which we're working on energy efficient and
clean combustion for heavy trucks using Recovery Act
funding from the Department of Energy.
This should improve heavy-duty freight efficiency by about 50%.
Also with DOE ARRA funding Purdue is leading a partnership
of Indiana universities and in an advanced electric vehicle
education and training program.
This will help ensure students are prepared for the future
green jobs in the automotive industry.
Recovery Act funding from NIST will fund a center for
high-performance buildings at Purdue's Herrick Laboratories.
In the United States, buildings are responsible for roughly 40%
of primary energy usage, 71% of electricity,
and 38% of the country's CO2 emissions.
Also we know that many Americans suffer from being in closed-up
buildings and being indoors for too long.
So this center is focused on developing knowledge,
technologies, processes, and integrated solutions to ensure
high-performance systems and environments.
And that means good occupant health and productivity and
sustainability and security.
Recovery Act support from the National Institutes of Health
for Purdue's multidisciplinary cancer research facility will
help our biomedical researchers and engineers develop new models
for preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer.
It's worth noting the impact and underlining what you said about
job creation, Mr. Vice President.
The Recovery Act requires that we report on jobs created
through these Recovery Act research awards every three months.
For Purdue's first $21.5 million of expenditures as of last June
30th, we reported 210 FTE jobs created or retained.
That's a factor of 10 to $1 million,
and 600 people who spent some amount of time on these projects.
So we're finding that for every $1 million of Recovery Act
funding, about 10 FTE jobs are directly created and 18 more are
indirectly impacted.
Finally, it's worth emphasizing that the knowledge that's
created today through this research stimulus funding will
lead to even greater impact on the jobs in the future.
I'll leave you with a last example of Recovery Act funding
to Purdue that illustrates this point,
and it's one that you brought up.
Purdue is leading the collaboration with the National
Renewable Energy Labs and Argonne to convert biomass to
bioenergy through a catalytic process.
This would more than double the carbon captured into fuel from
biomass over existing technology.
It's a worthy goal.
This approach calls for integrating advances in
nanotechnology, chemical engineering, material sciences,
molecular biology and high-resolution instrumentation.
We're actually changing the plants themselves,
the whole plant to be much more converters into bioenergy.
The partnership will engage corporate partners, too,
for new technology deployment.
I'd like to close my remarks, Mr. Vice President,
by thanking the taxpayers for their investment in research and education.
Vice President Biden: Thank you very much.
Madam President.
Dr. Gutmann: Thank you, Mr. Vice President.
On behalf of all the presidents here and every American who has
benefited from higher education, I want to thank you and the
President for taking such a strong interest in not only the
future of higher education, but the future of our country.
One of the founding fathers of our nation, Benjamin Franklin,
who also happens to be the founder of the University of
Pennsylvania, famously said that an investment in knowledge pays
the greatest dividends.
The stimulus funding has created new knowledge and new jobs that
are truly life saving and life enhancing.
Penn is the largest private employer in Philadelphia.
We employ 31,000 people.
In the great recession, had it not been for the stimulus
funding we would have had to cut jobs.
Instead, we were able to create, through stimulus funding alone,
over 1,100 job opportunities, 700 in research and 400 in
construction, and the ancillary activities that go on in our
facilities that the stimulus funding made possible.
That's the immediate effect.
Let me tell you about several discoveries that have been made
possible by stimulus funding that not only bring promise
today, but are very likely, along with the thousands of
other discoveries that are happening in our university's
labs to save literally millions of lives in the future.
So today is World Alzheimer's Day.
With stimulus funds, Dr. Gerard Schellenberg at Penn is
developing a new way of gathering data that will unlock
the secrets of Alzheimer's.
It is at the very moment unlocking secrets of Alzheimer's.
Now, we don't have a cure for Alzheimer's,
but this kind of knowledge is critical to finding a cure one day.
As you know and mentioned, cancer is the second largest
cause of death among Americans.
Penn's Center for Comparative Effectiveness in Genomic
Medicine is developing, with stimulus funds,
new ways to prevent, to diagnose,
and to treat cancer based on the markers in the human genome.
Those discoveries of the human genome were made possible by
other universities sitting around this table,
but those have made it possible with stimulus funds to find the
precise markers in the human genome that track cancer.
Third, heart disease is the single largest cause of death in
our country.
Dr. Daniel Rader at our School of Medicine has recently
identified several genes linked to heart disease,
and that discovery will be published next week in the
journal "Nature," and because of the public open access to all
the discoveries, will no doubt generate more discoveries that
will unlock the possible ways of preventing and curing heart disease.
And finally, I'd just like to say there are other diseases
that afflict many Americans, perhaps not as much as cancer,
heart disease, and Alzheimer's, but they also mean that we will
be able to understand and cure diseases down the road that are
now afflicting our members of our own family, friends,
there is not a person who is unaffected by this.
So let me give you a final example: ALS,
also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
A team of Penn doctors and biologists led by Dr. Aaron
Gitler, who is working with doctors across the country,
has identified the genetic risk factors for ALS,
again with the help of stimulus funding.
So let me just conclude by saying as true as it was 250
years ago that an investment in knowledge pays the greatest
interest, it is much truer today.
Every stimulus dollar has not only generated jobs,
but we have done a study to show that those 1,100 jobs have a
multiplier effect of four in the regional and national economy.
An investment in knowledge through the stimulus has
generated current jobs, it has generated current discoveries to
attack and understand the biggest causes of human death in
this country, and it will also, and as importantly,
pay great dividends in the future.
I thank you again for being such a great supporter of what is
necessary to make our economy recover and make this country a
true generator of knowledge for the benefit of humankind.
Vice President Biden: Well, I want to thank you both.
Look, we're going to have a pretty detailed discussion here
and I hope we're going to be able to come back to the press.