WASHINGTON - Recognizing that energy independence is one of the key items on the national agenda, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) has launched a new initiative to maximize and advance the contributions of public research universities to the energy independence effort.

Formerly the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), Peter McPherson, president of the organization, announced a 15-person Energy Initiative Advisory Committee, co-chaired by E. Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State University, and Elsa A. Murano, president of Texas A&M University. The committee will provide leadership and advice to the initiative.

“We have in this country, and in our institutions of higher education, an innovation imperative,” said Gee. “We must solve the enormous challenge of energy independence by coalescing our vast human talent, creativity, and innovation. This century’s Sputnik moment awaits our solution.”

“Public research universities have important contributions to make in addressing our need for energy independence,” Murano said. “All sectors of society need to pull together as part of the solution, and our universities are uniquely positioned to help. We want to be clear about the capabilities offered by our member-institutions and explain these strengths to decision makers in Washington.”

In addition to Gee and Murano, other advisory committee members include:

• David B. Ashley, president, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

• Jimmy G. Cheek, chancellor, University of Tennessee

• George E. Cooper, president, South Carolina State University

• Michael M. Crow, president, Arizona State University

• Stephen Forrest, vice president for research, University of Michigan

• Gregory L. Geoffroy, president, Iowa State University

• Virginia S. Hinshaw, chancellor, University of Hawaii

• Robert Kelley, president, The University of North Dakota

• Robert A. Kennedy, president, The University of Maine

• Michael V. Martin, chancellor, Louisiana State University

• C.D. (Dan) Mote Jr., president, University of Maryland, College Park

• Michael Telson, science advisor, University of California, and former chief financial officer at the U.S. Department of Energy

• Mark G. Yudof, president, University of California

The Energy Initiative also includes two subcommittees, a Technical Group and an Advocacy Group. The Technical Group, led by Mike Witherell, vice chancellor for research at the University of California, Santa Barbara and former director of Fermi Lab, and Claude Canizares, vice president for research and associate provost of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will bring together expertise from a variety of public research universities.

Alison Fox, assistant director, Washington Office, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stacy Rastauskas, assistant vice president, federal relations, Washington Office, Ohio State University, will co-chair the Advocacy Group, which will identify and assess relevant legislation, promote public research university interests before Congress, and help develop presentations for Congress.

“America’s public research universities have long played a significant role in the research, development, and deployment of energy science and energy technologies,” McPherson said. “Collectively, we can channel the way for making more of these contributions a reality.”

Publication date: 04/20/2009