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Fiscal Cliff Deal Spares Higher Education Research Funding, Tuition Tax Credit

“The final agreement to avoid certain tax increases and spending cuts passed both houses of Congress late Tuesday, staving off several measures that would have raised the tax bill for college students and potentially deprived universities of critical research funding.” “Without the bill's passage, an 8.2 percent across-the-board cut to domestic discretionary programs and a 7.6 percent cut for mandatory spending programs would have immediately affected several funding streams critical to universities, including sources of scholarship programs and research grants.” Kingkade, Tyler. “Fiscal Cliff Deal Spares Higher Education Research Funding...” Huff Post College, 2 Jan. 2013. Read article »

The Multibillion-Dollar Threat to Research Universities

"With each day, the so-called fiscal cliff looms larger as Congress and President Obama work to come to agreement on a federal-deficit compromise, which so far has proven elusive. Absent such an agreement by year's end, far-reaching spending cuts will be triggered as result of the Budget Control Act of 2011, through a mechanism called sequestration." "The stakes could hardly be higher for research universities, which are the engines that power much of the country's scientific, technological, and economic growth." McRobbie, Michael. "The Multibillion-Dollar Threat to Research Universities." The Chronicle of Higher Education, 19 Dec. 2012. Read article »

Benefits of Multinational Labs

“Science and engineering departments with doctoral students from several different countries tend to produce more publications and to get more citations, a new study has found.” “If a department had 10 foreign students from five different global regions, it would on average produce 0.76 more publications and win 28.65 more citations a year than one where the international students hailed from just two regions, the research found.” Matthews, David. “Benefits of Multinational Labs.” Inside Higher Ed, 14 Dec. 2012. Read article »

Ph.D. Job Woes

“The proportion of new doctorates in 2011 who finished their degrees with firm commitments for either employment or a postdoc fell in 2011 -- across every broad disciplinary category -- according to data released Wednesday by the National Science Foundation.” Here are some other key findings of the NSF report:  Almost three-fourths of all research doctorates awarded in 2011 were in science and engineering fields. This reflects a steady increase in the share of doctorates awarded in those areas. Overall, 74 percent of doctorates were awarded in science and engineering in 2011, compared to 66 percent 10 years earlier.  A significant share of science and engineering doctorates are awarded to people who are not permanent residents or citizens of the United States. In 2011, that share was 36 percent, down from an all-time high of 41 percent in 2007.  Minority group doctorates tend to be clustered in certain areas, with Asian Americans more likely to earn doctorates in life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering; African Americans in education; and Latinos in the humanities and social sciences. Additionally, average time-to-degree figures decreased modestly in every disciplinary category this year thanks to various reform efforts made by many in graduate education in recent years in an attempt to reduce the time it takes to earn a doctorate. Jaschick, Scott. “Ph.D. Job Woes.” Inside Higher Ed, 6 Dec. 2012. Read article »

Amherst College to launch first open-access, digital academic press devoted to the liberal arts

“Amherst College is launching a new digital publishing venture that will offer peer-reviewed books written by leading scholars in the humanities and the social sciences that are then carefully edited and made available for free online.” According to Librarian Bryn Geffert, Amherst will have the first university or college press to publish books solely under an open-access model. “Although several university presses publish a few books each year under such a model,” Geffert says, “I do not know of another university press in the United States doing all books, all open-access.” The 2009 switch made by the University of Michigan Press from traditional print operation to primarily digital publishing was an inspiration to Amherst, according to Geffert. News Release. “Amherst College to launch first open-access, digital academic press....” Amherst College Press, 5 Dec. 2012. Read article »

Hatching Ideas, and Companies, by the Dozens at M.I.T.

“Over the last 30 years, many universities — including M.I.T. — have set up licensing offices that oversee the transfer of scientific discoveries to companies. These offices have become a major pathway for universities seeking to put their research to practical use, not to mention add to their revenue streams.” This article profiles Dr. Robert Langer, whose MIT lab has been the catalyst for various medical innovations and entrepreneurial ventures. Seligson, Hannah. “Hatching Ideas, and Companies, by the Dozens at M.I.T.” The New York Times, 24 Nov. 2012. Read article »

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We want to scour the world to try to find those things that strike us as truly forward-looking. President Jim Yong Kim

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