University research is vital for economic growth

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University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg's Jan. 6 Forum piece "Perpetuate Pittsburgh's Progress" was right on target. As quantified in the recent National Research Council report, the emergence of the U.S. as the global economic power is largely a story of innovation and education, driven in large measure by our best-in-the-world research universities.

The educated workforce and the critical technological, medical and policy breakthroughs developed at our research universities improve our quality of life, enhance our prosperity and enable us to maintain our high quality of life.

Despite tough fiscal times, cutting support for research universities and the important research they perform is short-sighted, amounting to "eating our seed corn." In the process, we threaten the system that is the envy of the world and a cornerstone of the American innovation economy. The only long-term solutions to our current economic malaise depend on innovation-driven growth in our economy, and investments in our research university system are critical to driving that growth.

DON SMITH
Shadyside

The writer is president of the Regional Industrial Development Corp. and former university director of economic development at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.

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