I’ve just returned from my first trip to DC in my capacity as VP for Research here at OSU. Having spent 23 years in DC, and managing research at four different Federal agencies, it was an odd experience being on “the other side of the fence.” I had about a dozen visits with agencies (ONR, NSF, DoE, USDA, NIH, etc.) and with staff of our members of Congress. I have a list of action items that I will discuss with individuals throughout campus, but I share some quick general perceptions in this blog.
We are just seeing the end of a lame-duck session of Congress, and fiscal challenges are at the top of everyone’s list. The House will likely pass a year-long Continuing Resolution, and the Senate will seek an omnibus appropriation. This is all somewhat arcane, but for us in the research community it means we need to work hard on how best to get our thoughts and priorities for research expressed to Congress. My intent is simply to pull together the best information we can about our capabilities (we’ve developed some statements of impact – check out the Research Office website), develop a strong Federal Agenda with a lot of help from Kate Sinner, and build the Research Agenda (underway since September). I’ll be back in DC in the spring to follow up, once the new Congress is in place.
At the agencies, there is good support for our work. I got many compliments for the terrific research going on, under the support, for example, of the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, the National Institute of Aging, and the NSF Office of Geosciences. I also had the chance to hear some excellent insights from key leaders at the Department of Energy (Under Secretary Koonin) and the US Navy (RADM Titley). It is my intention over the next couple of years to engage in similar dialogues with all of our key sponsors, and to initiate similar discussions with other key agencies for which there might be good sponsorship opportunities.
- Rick Spinrad
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