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Universities to the Economic Rescue

President Barack Obama turns to US academic institutions for innovation and job creation.

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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Barack ObamaMARC NOZELL VIA FLICKR

In a speech at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University on Friday, US President Barack Obama announced a plan to inject millions of dollars into university research as a way to develop manufacturing innovations that can employ thousands of domestic workers and hopefully buoy the sluggish economy. Though details of the plan are still somewhat hazy, officials told The Chronicle of Higher Education that six universities will have a chance at $500 million through a National Science Foundation-style granting scheme, and cited initial grants of $100 million for developing new manufacturing materials and $70 million for robotics research. The six universities named in the initial stage of the project are Carnegie Mellon, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan, and Stanford University.

The plan was conceived by the President's Council of Advisors on...

The $500 million figure isn't guaranteed, however, with some of the funding coming from future budget increases that Obama has requested but that haven't yet been passed by Congress. More universities are expected to participate in the program at an unspecified later date.

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