A little more than a year ago, a few members of Congress sent a letter to leaders of the national academies of Sciences and Engineering and the Institute of Medicine. The letter asks that the three organizations select a brain trust to generate 10 ideas to keep American universities competitive in the global research arena.

“The contributions of our research universities cannot be overstated,” reads the letter. “But many frontiers remain to be explored, and for our children and grandchildren’s sake, we cannot let our constellation of universities dim.”

Helping to lead the charge to the final frontier? Incoming UVA President Teresa Sullivan, who was named one of the 21 members of the committee. Sullivan told UVA Today that “America’s research universities have become a part of the infrastructure of the country, and their well-being is of national significance.”

On a sidenote: The National Academy of Sciences investigated the research of former UVA climate scientist Michael Mann in 2006. With Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and UVA slated for an August 20 court date in connection with the AG’s civil investigative demand for documents tied to Mann’s funding, it seems reasonable to suspect that climate research may be one of the issues on Sullivan’s mind.

Continue reading »