Global Significance

Rutgers demonstrates its “Jersey Roots, Global Reach”
Richard L. McCormick, President
As published in the Spring 2008 issue of Rutgers Magazine

Polar ice caps are melting, rising oceans are threatening coastlines, and extreme weather, such as intense heat waves and heavy downpours, has wreaked havoc on local communities. AIDS continues to ravage families and communities in sub-Saharan Africa. And while a billion people in the world go to bed hungry every night, tens of millions in the United States and other developed nations face health complications because of obesity. Solving these global human problems will demand our best efforts to combine scientific expertise, private initiative, and public action.

These serious topics are on the minds of some of the finest faculty members at Rutgers. Working alongside graduate students and undergraduates, they are conducting groundbreaking research on these and other problems that create hardship at home and around the globe. Indeed, some of our most promising research has implications for the world: 

  • A Rutgers-led consortium has completed the rice genome, a breakthrough that may lead to profound improvements in the production of rice and other grains essential to sustenance in the developing world. 
  • Some members of our faculty are “prospecting” for pharmaceuticals that can be derived from plants found in developing countries—research that could support the local economies while benefiting human health worldwide.
  • Others participate in a New Jersey consortium studying the causes, complications, treatment, and prevention of obesity. 
  • Research at the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, which Rutgers operates jointly with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, is on the trail of methods to fight the AIDS virus’s resistance to drug treatments. 

Jersey Roots, Global Reach: the university’s worldwide impact is unmistakable. Two of our most important new research efforts with potentially global benefits are the Rutgers Climate Change Initiative and the Rutgers Energy Institute. In disciplines that range from the natural, physical, and social sciences to philosophy and public policy, more than 70 Rutgers faculty are grappling with issues that may shape our planet’s environmental future and our nation’s energy independence. 

Their research ranges from assessing the impact of climate change on coastal resources and human health to exploring the possibilities that biotechnology holds for energy generation. Their work seeks both to reduce greenhouse gases and to help society adapt to changes already on the way, including rising sea levels. Rutgers faculty members contributed to the international report on climate change that earned the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Our researchers are determined to find answers that sustain the environment and provide needed energy while avoiding solutions that harm poor and vulnerable communities. 

As Rutgers Magazine rightly salutes the remarkable impact that Rutgers has had on Newark over the past century, it is also exciting to see how our university is making a difference far beyond the state’s borders. Judging by their influence, Rutgers faculty, students, and alumni stand among the best in the world.