The University Record, May 21, 2001

Collaborations advance U-M’s interests

By Mike Waring
U-M Washington, D.C., Office

Working with other universities in broad coalitions and in narrower, targeted efforts are two important ways the University advances its interests.

On May 10, the U-M teamed up with Michigan State and Wayne State universities to host a breakfast briefing on Capitol Hill where the Michigan congressional delegation discussed the state’s Life Sciences Corridor initiative. This program—which will use $1 billion in state revenues over the next 20 years—is designed to jump-start a life science economy in the state as well as promote research at campuses across Michigan.

Representatives of each university, along with the state’s Economic Development Corp. and private industry, brought lawmakers and staff up to date on the first round of grants made under this new program. Five core centers have been established for the initiative, with two of those in Ann Arbor. The Washington Office works with a wide array of coalitions and associations that represent higher education. The three primary partners from the association side are the Association of American Universities, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, and the American Council on Education. Each of these groups is active in Washington in federal relations and works to keep the Office informed on current issues and to help organize legislative activities.

The Office actively participates in the Science Coalition, a group of universities and other organizations that help sell the need to support science at the federal level. Other coalitions with the U-M office are designed to promote funding for specific agency research, such as the National Science Foundation, the departments of Defense and Energy, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. These memberships help the U-M follow tax issues through the Ad Hoc Tax Coalition. The Office also is involved with a group of allied interests in organizing its response to database legislation being negotiated by two House committees.

The Washington Office represents the University before the federal government by hosting campus representatives on Capitol Hill, organizing various activities and providing the Michigan delegation with information. It also works with other universities and colleges on broader issues such as student aid, support for science, and tax and copyright policy.

Assistance and information are welcome from faculty, administrators and students. This information and support from campus is vital to achieving the U-M’s goals and to making progress on the broader agenda facing higher education.

For more information, contact Mike Waring or Cindy Bank in the Washington, D.C., office, (202) 554-0578, mwaring@umich.edu or bankc@umich.edu.