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Last modified: Friday, February 3, 2006

Response to President Bush's State of the Union Address

IU President Adam Herbert and Provost Michael McRobbie laud proposal to double research funding

Feb. 3, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University officials welcomed the commitment made by President Bush in his State of the Union address to expand federal support for basic research programs in the physical sciences.

In his nationally televised speech, President Bush declared: "I propose to double the federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next 10 years. This funding will support the work of America's most creative minds as they explore promising areas such as nanotechnology, supercomputing and alternative energy sources."

IU President Adam W. Herbert said that he strongly agrees with Bush that increased national investment in critical basic research is essential if we are to maintain the nation's competetive edge in an expanding global economy.

"Indiana University also welcomes the president's proposed funding priority because its implementation would help IU achieve our goal of doubling externally funded grants and contracts in the universty's areas of strategic priority," Herbert said.

IU Bloomington Provost Michael A. McRobbie said the university has several very strong assets that could give it an edge in obtaining the additional research funding proposed by Bush.

They include an advanced information technology infrastructure and supercomputing facilities, the School of Informatics, the Pervasive Technology Labs and the IU Cyclotron Facility, which is already engaged in a number of major projects for the National Science Foundation, NASA and the Defense Department.

"The private sector often is unable to invest significantly in this type of basic research because so often it does not produce an immediate return," McRobbie said. "However, over the longer term, it provides the foundation of knowledge needed to spark innovation and creativity. At IU, we are building some of the most sophisticated research infrastructure laboratories in the world, and we look forward to this new opportunity."

IU's share of federal grants and contracts for basic research has grown by 34 percent over the past five years, from $169.8 million in 2001 to $227.3 million in 2005. Overall, the university won research grants totaling $477 million last year, an amount greater than that brought in by all other colleges and universities in Indiana.