Where I’m headed is asking the question, as time goes on, with Kansas showing a lack of appreciation for research and decreasing funding to our two major public research institutions: isn’t it likely that we will pay a major price at some point?
For KU, the Cancer Institute Designation that has brought earlier access for Kansans to the latest cancer treatments, will that continue? The NCI Designation was for five years and will have to be renewed. In the current environment, how good will we look for renewal and/or expansion of that valuable designation? I think of the huge effort to attract the scientists, build the infrastructure, and put together a plan to implement that not only got the designation desired but put us on the path to producing real, tangible results. Will that all be for naught?
For NBAF to reach its full potential as a major federal lab, the talent to go into the building will make a big difference. Attracting that talent to a state disrespecting the value of research and cutting resources for education at all levels will not be easy. The same can be said for the Bioscience Research Institute, built with much Federal help, to be a level three lab and smooth the transition of zoonotic research from Plum Island to Kansas. As an economic aside, the potential to attract future private and Federal investment would surely be impacted.
How, in just a few years, could we go from bipartisan, united political leadership at all levels to an environment that questions the value of research in general and has little appreciation for the linkage to economic success for Kansas and its people? Will we continue on this path?
Also in this blog series on higher education: Focus on Higher Education: An Introduction, Some Personal Background, and It Hasn't Always Been This Way for Higher Education.