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Washington Highlights

House Science Subcommittees Examine University Research, Bayh-Dole

June 29, 2012—Two subcommittees of the House Science Committee held recent hearings focused on research enterprises at universities.

The Subcommittee on Research and Science Education held a June 27 hearing to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing U.S. research universities, including the findings of the National Academies’ new report titled Research Universities and the Future of America.  Witnesses stressed the important role of land-grant universities in scientific research and STEM education.

Subcommittee Chair Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) said in an opening statement, “Particularly in today’s tough economic times, research universities play a vital role in America’s ability to maintain its competitiveness in an increasingly technologically developed world, and the knowledge and skills produced by our nation’s research university graduates provide the fuel for these endeavors.”  Ranking Member Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.), stated that “research universities’ contributions to the health, security, and prosperity of the American people cannot be overstated.”

Witnesses included Charles Holliday, former CEO of DuPont and chair of the Academies panel that wrote the new report, as well as heads of research at public and private universities.  Leslie Tolbert, Ph.D., senior vice president for research at the University of Arizona, suggested that Asia has recently outpaced the U.S. in research funding.  James Siedow, Ph.D., vice provost for research at Duke University, addressed the value of interdisciplinary campus research enterprises.

The hearing closed with a statement from Chairman Brooks on the regulatory roadblocks in university research.  He asked the witnesses to provide the panel with specific examples of such hurdles.  Dr. Tolbert referenced a list of such regulations developed by the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR).

A week earlier, the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation held a June 19 hearing titled Best Practices in Transforming Research into Innovation: Creative Approaches to the Bayh-Dole Act. The hearing was largely supportive of Bayh-Dole, which permits universities to

retain the intellectual property rights to inventions developed with federal funding, and focused on accelerating the commercialization of discoveries to benefit society.

Witnesses included Todd T. Sherer, president, Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM); Catherine Innes, director, Office of Technology Development, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Ken Nisbet, executive director of technology transfer, University of Michigan; Robert Rosenbaum, president and executive director, Maryland Technology Development Corporation.


Matthew Shick, JD
Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs
Telephone: 202-862-6116

Stephen Heinig
Director, Science Policy
Telephone: 202-828-0488


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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806