The Science Coalition, which consists of over 400 organizations including over 60 universities, gathered on March 22 in New York City for their seventh annual media roundtable. UR President Joel Seligman joined several university professors to discuss how to raise federal funding for university-based research in science, a topic that has been at the heart of Seligman’s initiatives.

The Coalition, which featured speakers representing everywhere from Michigan State University to Tufts University, looks to broaden support for their goals at the national level.

The Science Coalition has called on President George W. Bush to continue his support of the sciences, and has commended him on his proposed American Competitiveness Initiative, which the President first brought up in this year’s State of the Union address and which is already receiving bipartisan support.

The Coalition discussed many items pertaining to the national agenda, with Seligman personally touching on a range of issues including stem cell and fuel cell research, patents and education.

Seligman’s cell initiatives have been one of his most personal battles. Last February, he joined 16 other New York institutions in calling on Albany to give state funding to stem cell research.

“One of the challenges is to recognize that basic research is as important as immediate directed research for ethanol,” Seligman said in reference to energy research.

Education also played a large part in Seligman’s conversations.

Currently, the United States ranks 26th among all nations in the world in educating students in math and science.

On the shortage of students in the sciences, Seligman said the position of the United States has been in relative decline since World War II.

“The shortage reflects the lack of resources that the United States is putting into science research,” Seligman said. “It’s a self-inflicted wound.” UR, nationally recognized as a top research institution, is not alone in determining how to raise the number of those interested in math and science.

The ultimate goal of the Science Coalition is to raise not only federal awareness of the United States science dilemma but to gain federal funding for several key programs.

Though Seligman spoke at the Science Coalition, the Coalition does not list UR as a member organization among the hundreds of other colleges and universities that participate in the program.

Despite some internal differences, participants in the summit left with optimism for the advancement of their decided agenda in the fields of science.Brenneman can be reached at rbrenneman@campustimes.org.



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