An open letter to President Obama

From sequencing the human genome to discovering new planets, there's no question that UC Santa Cruz research has helped power this state and nation—propelling California and the United States to the forefront of economic strength, technological innovation, and creative expression. That's why I was so proud to add my name to an open letter signed by 165 university leaders calling on President Obama to invest in research and higher education.

The United States is investing less in these areas at the precise moment that nations like China, Singapore, and South Korea are dramatically increasing their investment. We need to take the long view, recognizing that these investments pay off over decades. We are still reaping the dividends of investments made in the 1960s, when California made funding public higher education a priority, and the federal government invested heavily in graduate education, research, and discovery, much of it linked to the space program.

I've written before about the need for a strong federal partner in education. I've proposed alternative models for funding public universities and easing the burden on students and families. And I've proudly celebrated the accomplishments of UCSC's pioneering researchers. As Washington heads into fall budget negotiations, the president and Congress need to hear from those of us who believe that the future of our country depends on prioritizing higher education and research. We can't afford to turn our backs on the next generation.

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