Before I dive into today’s post, a brief word about CHORUS. Thanks to commenter Joe Kraus for pointing me to this Inside Higher Ed post, which includes a link to the fact sheet CHORUS organizers distributed to reporters. While there are additional details, there are still not many details to sink one’s teeth in. And I remain surprised at the relative lack of attention the announcement has received. On a related note, nobody who’s been following open access should be surprised by Michael Eisen’s reaction to CHORUS.
On to the next topic. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education has been a concerns both the government and the private sector for going on three decades. But the interactions between the two sectors on STEM education have usually taken one of two broad forms. There are the conventional advocacy/lobbying interactions over STEM education and related policies (like immigration), and there are education programs supported and/or run by companies and agencies. Though usually the private companies and the government agencies don’t collaborate outside of providing funding (at least from where this interested non-expert has been observing).
That makes this news of a collaboration between major companies and the National Science Foundation notable. The program had a high-profile launch event in Washington earlier this month. Intel and GE have stepped up to contribute $10 million in grant mine which will go to nine university projects focused on increasing retention from underrepresented groups in computer science and engineering.
This is part of a general trend by the Obama Administration to encourage more direct involvement from the private sector in encouraging innovation and supporting the necessary infrastructure (like education). Hopefully other companies will be motivated to pony up as Intel and GE have done.