Stories throughout the year demonstrated the need for political and public awareness in research administration.
Federally sponsored research remains a target for budget cuts, however those discussions have progressed beyond the original sequester, with increasing congressional challenges to specific projects, threatening the autonomy and discretion of the funding agencies.
Public disclosure of payments made by pharmaceutical companies to researchers, as well as public disclosure by researchers of their external relationships, while intended to provide transparency, have instead generated more questions in the press concerning the appropriateness of those relationships.
Meanwhile, increased focus on the economic return from institutions that conduct research has created a public relations push, even as some institutions confront challenges to their tax exempt status, in at least one case as a result of engaging in economic activity through research technology transfer.
These stories demonstrate the importance of communicating research administration activity, in a way that recognizes that there is a broader audience that needs to be convinced.
Building a snowman might be more fun.