Friends of IES urge Congress to fund the research workforce in next pandemic relief bill

July 28, 2020 10:20 am

On July 21, the University of Oregon signed onto a letter urging congressional leaders to include funding for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the next COVID relief and stimulus funding package.

The letter, signed by 21 members of the Friends of IES, including the UO and other research universities that are among the most productive IES-funded entities, asked Congress to include the $200 million for IES in the fourth emergency COVID relief bill. The bipartisan Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act (HR 7308) includes a recommended authorization for these funds. A Senate companion bill was introduced last week. This funding would allow federal agencies to provide relief and flexibility for faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students who have had their research disrupted by school closures. The funding would additionally ensure the continued collection of education statistics essential to monitoring the educational impacts of COVID-19 and support the development of evidence-based resources for educators and families facing an expected elongated period of continued distance learning into the upcoming school year.

The letter stated “as the nation continues to grapple with the unknowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, funding for IES included in the RISE Act will be helpful in informing further response to the pandemic, as well as provide relief for IES grantees who develop and test education programs to improve educational outcomes.”

Higher education associations and universities have been requesting federal funding of the research workforce to prevent layoffs and lost productivity throughout the pandemic. The UO and research universities and organizations have been highly involved in these efforts: 

Higher education associations submit recommendations for Phase 4 of the CARES Act: On April 7, the Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities (APLU), Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and American Council on Education (ACE) sent a letter to House and Senate leadership outlining six areas of impact where substantial personnel and research-related costs will be incurred or there will be a loss of support due to inactivity. Read the April 14 GCR Blog post here.

Coalition calls to fund tech and science research in future coronavirus financial relief: On May 4, the Task Force on American Innovation (TFAI) organized a letter and press release urging Congress to recommit funding to national tech and science research in any future coronavirus legislation. Read the May 7 GCR Blog post here.

Oregon congressional delegation signs on to letters requesting additional funding for research workforce: In a May 4, 2020 letter addressed to United States Senate leadership, Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) were joined by 31 other senators in urging Congress to provide additional support for the U.S. research workforce. The Senate letter comes on the heels of a similar April 29 letter to House leadership also requesting support for the U.S. research community. Read the May 7 GCR Blog post here.

UO appeals to Oregon delegation for research relief: On May 18, UO leadership sent a letter to the Oregon congressional delegation requesting university research workforce relief in the next coronavirus stimulus package. The letter asked the Oregon delegation to include $26 billion in emergency supplemental funding for federal research agencies to allow for cost extensions to existing grants. Read the May 20 GCR Blog post here.

RISE Act to provide cost extensions introduced, DeFazio co-sponsors: On June 24, a bipartisan group of members of the House sponsored HR 7308, the Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act. The bill authorizes approximately $26 billion in emergency appropriations and would provide critical research relief to university researchers who have been impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. More than 250 higher education, research, industry groups and associations have endorsed the RISE Act, including the University of Oregon. Read the June 30 GCR Blog post here.