Interview with Lewis W. Cochran, November 12, 1985

Project: University of Kentucky Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

In this interview, Lewis W. "Bud" Cochran discusses the changes that altered the "nature of the operation" regarding the University of Kentucky Research Foundation (UKRF). He mentions the Board of Trustees meeting during the period of student unrest, where former governor A. B. "Happy" Chandler got into a fight with a student. He talks about the university's patent policy and patent income. Cochran continues to discuss the Attorney General's lawsuit, which determined that the foundation could no longer retain any of its indirect cost income and now required it to operate within the same constraints applied to the university. Consequently, the foundation lost much of its value in the flexibility that it was designed to provide. Cochran describes at length the role of indirect cost in attempting to secure grants through UKRF to the university. He recalls the only money "specifically appropriated for organized research" is for UK's Agricultural Experiment Station. Cochran remembers that the Attorney General's lawsuit was used to allocate an ever-increasing amount to the general fund, which made the competition for funding more difficult, especially for research and the graduate school. He describes in detail the Office for Sponsored Project Administration (OSPA), which was established in 1973 as a consequence of the lawsuit. Other universities were also experiencing these constraints due to mistrust. Cochran refers to Kentucky House Bill 622 as "the last nail in the coffin for the research foundation as an effective affiliated corporation for the benefit of the university." He recalls that, in the early years, Dr. Ernest N. Fergus hoped that the UKRF would become a "line-operating research organization." Cochran explains that this would have provided flexibility and freedom in seeking research support and conduct of research, away from constraints of state government. He remembers with regret that President Herman Donovan "had envisioned an institution to receive and hold private gifts and avoid co-mingling outside money with state appropriation or control." Cochran states that efficiency of research may be reduced by as much as 20% by the requirements that now exist. He notes that there is no public understanding of the cost for research, the state is "putting nothing into it," and research is being "bootlegged out of funds for teaching." He points to the value of research by using the no-till crop techniques researched by UK as an example; studies showed that the money spent on research was far less than what farmers saved as a result of using these methods.

Interview Accession

1985oh240_af280

Interviewee Name

Lewis W. Cochran

Interviewer Name

Terry L. Birdwhistell

Interview Date

1985-11-12

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Cochran, Lewis W. Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 12 Nov. 1985. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Cochran, L.W. (1985, November 12). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. University of Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Cochran, Lewis W., interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. November 12, 1985, University of Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





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