The leading public research universities in the United States have begun a campaign for increased government support. Tomorrow the University of Texas, Austin, will host the first of five regional meetings  designed to explore the institutions' contributions to education, research, and innovation.
"Through these regional meetings, we hope to develop a framework for what public research universities require in order to maintain or increase their ability to perform the research expected by society," says Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).
A new APLU report , "Forging a Foundation for the Future," describes how per-student state support has declined in the past 20 years, most sharply at those universities which conduct the most research. It also points to a growing gap in faculty salaries between research-intensive public and private universities. The status of the government-university partnership is also the topic of a National Academies study requested last year by congressional science leaders that is just getting underway.
Following the Texas meeting, the 218-member APLU will hold similar gatherings throughout April at the University of Georgia; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Wisconsin, Madison; and Rutgers University.