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ERIC Number: EJ988985
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec-17
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Hunt for Federal Funds Gives Classified Research a Lift
Basken, Paul
Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec 2012
For some colleges and professors, classified research promises prestige and money. Powerhouses like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Johns Hopkins University have for decades run large classified laboratories. But most other universities either do not allow such research or conduct it quietly, and in small doses. The feeling--often reinforced by student protests--has been that secrecy is intolerable on campuses dedicated to free and open inquiry. Now, for a combination of reasons, the balance may be shifting. The September 11, 2001, attacks bolstered the national-security industry and public acceptance of it. Students are less likely to stage demonstrations. And in recent years, with the government tightening its spending, the remaining stockpiles of research money are attracting greater attention. The result is that more universities are getting into classified research, or are considering it. And that worries some faculty members, who oppose such research out of fear that it will corrupt their main educational mission. It also concerns universities with longstanding programs, who worry that too many new players, motivated by money, might damage a relationship with the government that relies so heavily on trust. In the past 16 years, the Pentagon has more than doubled the number of its University Affiliated Research Centers, which give partner institutions exclusivity for research grants in their fields of specialty. In some ways, the process of deciding whether to engage in classified research is similar to that surrounding any major university investment or new project. But there are unique factors as well, including the higher and sometimes unknowable costs associated with the layers of added security, and the overall secrecy that makes it difficult to see what others are doing. While hard budget numbers on classified activities are elusive, it is no secret that the potential rewards of a successful operation can be spectacular. Johns Hopkins has been the top American academic institution in total research-and-development spending for more than 30 years; its Applied Physics Laboratory, home of the university's classified activities, now collects more than $1-billion a year, or about half of the university's $2-billion annual sum of research-and-development expenditures.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: District of Columbia; Maryland; Massachusetts