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Leading Research Universities Report, October 16, 2023

Image of the Nobel PrizeFaculty at Several AAU Institutions Honored with Nobel Prizes

The Nobel Prizes for 2023 have all been announced, and faculty from five AAU schools are among this year’s recipients:

Nobel Prizes are awarded by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden, for achievements that have “conferred the greatest benefit to humankind.”

Someone's hands wearing rubber gloves handling a microchipNew Report Says Retaining International Graduate Students Can Solve U.S. Semiconductor Industry’s Workforce Needs has released a new report arguing that the best way to address the workforce needs of the semiconductor industry in the United States is by retaining international graduate students with advanced degrees in computer science and engineering. cited a recent assessment released by the Semiconductor Industry Association focusing on the U.S. semiconductor industry’s needs as it expands thanks to the investments contained in the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. The problem is that, at current degree-completion rates for U.S. students, as many as 58% of the industry’s new jobs created by 2030 will go unfilled. That report estimated that, of the unfilled jobs, “26% will be engineers at the master’s or PhD level.” 

The report argues that international graduates could help fill the open jobs but cannot do so without the implementation of a “smart, competitive, skill-based immigration policy” that encourages them to remain and work in the United States upon graduation.

This year alone, the report noted, U.S. higher education institutions will graduate nearly 5,000 international students with semiconductor-related advanced degrees. “Failing to retain these U.S.-educated STEM experts could imperil major investments in manufacturing, further weaken America’s hand in the global competition for talent, and close off opportunities for U.S.-born workers to work in the industry,” the report said. According to, “a quarter of international PhD STEM graduates” leave the United States after graduating “in large part because there are no viable immigration pathways available to them.”

The report echoes recommendations made by AAU and the Business Roundtable last year to ensure that the United States continues to attract the world’s best and the brightest to study, conduct research, and work here. The recommendations included eliminating current annual limits on employment-based green cards for holders of advanced STEM degrees; eliminating the visa requirement that students prove an intention to return to their home country upon conclusion of their studies; and boosting diplomatic efforts to attract the STEM talent necessary to advance U.S. economic and national security interests.

Picture of Monica BertagnolliSenate HELP Committee Schedules Hearing to Consider Nomination of Monica Bertagnolli as NIH Director

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee is scheduled to consider the nomination of Monica Bertagnolli as the next director of the National Institutes of Health on Wednesday, October 18, at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Bertagnolli is currently the director of the National Cancer Institute and has previously served as the Richard E. Wilson Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. As AAU President Barbara R. Snyder noted in a statement supporting her nomination, Bertagnolli is “an innovative leader in oncology clinical research who has, for decades, championed collaborative initiatives to expand access to care and promoted strategies to improve clinical research data infrastructure.”

Earlier this year, AAU also joined the Association for the Advancement of Science and more than 100 other higher education and scientific organizations in sending a letter urging leaders of the Senate and the Senate HELP Committee to swiftly confirm Bertagnolli.

News of Interest

The Washington Post: Amid War, U.S. Students in Israel Face Questions of Where to Evacuate – Every year, thousands of U.S. students attend study-abroad programs in Israel. Now the outbreak of war following deadly attacks on Israel by Hamas and “sudden disruptions in commercial flights to and from Tel Aviv in recent days have raised questions about whether, when and how to evacuate.”

Indianapolis Business Journal: With $111M Investment, Indiana University Betting Big on Microelectronics – Indiana University announced last week that it is investing $111 million in “new faculty, facilities, equipment, and strategic initiatives focused on advancements in microelectronics and nanotechnology.” The university will partner with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, defense contractors, and the private sector to “address emerging semiconductor technologies, accelerate research and development, and expand the Hoosier microelectronics workforce.”

CNN: The US Has a Mental Health Crisis That Could Undermine Our Democracy, US Surgeons General Say – Last month, Dartmouth College hosted seven U.S. surgeons general during an event focused on the mental health crisis facing the United States. The group agreed that the nation needs to do more to combat the stigma surrounding mental health and to remove barriers to accessing care. The group noted that “the problem is not just a concern for individuals” but “a crisis so large that it could undermine the foundation of our democracy.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education: China Was Long the Top Source of Foreign Students in the U.S. Now India Has Overtaken It – India has now surpassed China as the largest source of international students in the United States. According to a Department of Homeland Security database, “as of September, there were more than 320,000 active Indian student-visa holders, compared with some 254,000 from China.” The total number of new student visas granted by the United States jumped 9% from 2022 to 2023.

Science: Looking to Gamble, Newest U.S. Health Agency Places First Research Bets – Congress created the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) in 2022 at President Biden’s behest to “fund daring, cutting-edge biomedical research” that improves the health of all Americans. Now the agency has a director (applied biologist Renee Wegrzyn) and 390 staffers and has “tentatively obligated close to $1 billion of its initial $2.5 billion budget.” The agency recently announced awards for several “risky” projects, including “a plan to regenerate cartilage and bone in osteoarthritis patients and an unprecedented effort to build a functioning heart using 3D printing with living cells.” 

Bridge Michigan: Michigan State Launches Tuition-Free Promise for Families Making Up to $65K – Michigan State University announced that its new Spartan Tuition Advantage program will “cover the cost of full tuition for Michigan high school graduates who have a family income of $65,000 or less and qualify for Federal Pell Grants.” The program will help an estimated 6,000 students by 2027.

Featured Research

image of NASA’s Psyche spacecraft

Six Things to Know About ASU’s Asteroid-Exploring NASA Psyche Mission

An Arizona State University-led NASA mission is sending a spacecraft to metal-rich asteroid Psyche to learn more about the origins of the solar system. The spacecraft will “harness energy from large solar arrays” and will travel 2.2 billion miles to reach the asteroid, which could “provide a one-of-a-kind window into the history of violent collisions and accumulation of matter that created planets like our own.”

Man holding a hard hat with a city skyline behind him

The Biggest Barrier to Getting Fossil Fuel Workers Green Jobs Isn’t Skills – It’s Location

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne have published a study that finds that, while fossil fuel workers already have the skills to transition to green jobs, those new jobs likely will not be in places where the workers currently live and work. The research suggests that “in the 15 biggest regions for fossil fuel extraction, less than 1.5% of fossil fuel workers are likely to transition to green jobs,” indicating that policy makers may need to find other solutions to help these workers beyond encouraging them to reskill.

From Our Feeds


Image of indigenous woman with Arizona landscape in the background

The University of Arizona has received funding from the National Institutes of Health’s “All of Us” research program to advance health equity in tribal and indigenous communities. The University of Arizona will use the award to “develop a Community Readiness Assessment tool to support a long-term strategic plan for continued Tribal engagement” in the “All of Us” program, which seeks “to build one of the largest and most diverse biomedical” data resources in history.