Kevin C. Cooke, Ph.D.

Director, Research Policy

Ny’lyjah Cain
Senior Associate, STEM Education & Research Policy

CoR News (August 30, 2019)


CoR NEWSAugust 30, 2019

To: APLU Council on ResearchFrom: APLU CoR Staff

  • Register for the 2019 APLU Annual Meeting – Price Increase After October 12

Register today for APLU’s 2019 Annual Meeting, the premier gathering of senior leaders from public research universities, land-grant institutions, and state university systems. No other meeting in higher education brings together such a diverse array of public university presidents, chancellors, and other senior leaders.

Join us November 10-12, 2019 in San Diego as we explore how public universities can be In Service and better serve their students, communities, and country at a time when their work is more essential than ever. The meeting also will mark the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day and include a celebration of the veterans who have left an indelible mark on the institutions where they study and work. CoR will be sponsoring the following concurrent sessions: Protecting U.S. Science from Undue Foreign Influence; Institutional Models for Securing Academic Research; Public Impact-Focused Research Report Launch; and Promotion and Tenure for Public Engagement and Societal Benefit. CoR will contribute to sessions on Diversifying the Professoriate: Understanding the Issues Institutions Face & What Representation Really Means; and Cloudy with a Risk of Severe Conditions: Forecasting Prospects for Federal Research Funding into the Future. The meeting offers a great balance of informative and interactive sessions and networking time with fellow public university leaders. We hope to see you in California!

  • New APLU and CoR Website Resources

The APLU Science and Security and Public Impact-Focused Research websites are now live! In addition, all presentations from the CECE-CoR Joint Summer Meeting are available on the CoR website. Please send feedback on the new websites as well as suggestions for additional resources to Tia Freelove Kirk.

  • New Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Costs Resources

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs are a critical, but often misunderstood, part of the research enterprise. F&A costs assist with the infrastructure costs incurred by institutions as a result of conducting research. These include utilities, lab maintenance, and safety mechanisms. The federal government historically has partnered with research universities to pay for these necessary research expenses, just as it does in industry contracts and its own federal laboratories.

While there are no immediate federal policy threats to F&A costs, proposals in recent years have demonstrated a continuing need to inform university administrators and faculty. Together with our higher education association partners AAU, AAMC, ACE, COGR, and NACUBO, APLU has developed a short video primer to outline how federal research funds are used and how support for F&A-related expenses is imperative to keeping America at the leading edge of research and innovation. In addition, COGR published a useful primer on F&A costs, Excellence in Research: The Funding Model, F&A Reimbursement, and Why the System Works, earlier this year. An Executive Summary of the COGR paper is also available. These resources may be of interest for continuing efforts to educate faculty, staff, and administrators on F&A costs.

  • Pursue APLU’s Innovation and Economic Prosperity University Designation

The Commission on Economic and Community Engagement (CECE) invites you to consider your university’s participation in this year’s class of institutions pursuing APLU’s Innovation & Economic Prosperity (IEP) University designation. The IEP designation program was established by and for CECE members to help universities more effectively know, measure, and tell their economic engagement impact while providing due recognition for universities that have demonstrated an institution-wide, sustainable, and substantive commitment to holistic economic and community engagement. Since 2013, 65+ universities—large and small—rural and urban—land-grants and non-land-grants—have earned this distinction and strengthened their institution’s economic and community engagement enterprise through the IEP process. To apply, presidents/chancellors must submit a letter of intent (template provided) to APLU President Peter McPherson by October 31, 2019. Learn more by visiting APLU.org/IEP and contact Shalin Jyotishi to discuss further and request an intent letter.

  • FY2020 Budget and Appropriations Update

Earlier in August, President Trump signed a two-year, $2.7 trillion budget deal that wards off sequestration and suspends the debt ceiling through July 2021. The bipartisan package increases defense spending by 3.1 percent, to $738 billion, and nondefense by 4.5 percent, to $632 billion.

The House and the Senate must pass appropriations by September 30 to avert a government shutdown. A continuing resolution (CR) may be negotiated to extend FY2019 funding levels when Congress returns in September, which would provide additional time to complete the appropriations process. The House passed 10 appropriations bills this summer. However, due to the new funding agreement, they will have to cut about $15 billion from nondefense accounts and add $5 billion to their defense discretionary spending.

  • Associations Comment on NASA Notification Requirements on Sexual Harassment

On August 16, APLU and partner organizations submitted comments on NASA’s “Notification Requirements Regarding Findings of Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Harassment or Sexual Assault,” published on July 10 and corrected on July 17. The associations express support for NASA’s efforts to eliminate sexual harassment and sexual assault form the scientific and education workplace. The letter also cautions NASA about the need for clarity on the definition of what constitutes a reportable “administrative action,” the confidentiality of reported information, and interaction between other federal and state laws. The letter to NASA contains similar content to a comment letter submitted by APLU and other higher education associations to NSF in May 2018 in response to its 2018 Federal Register notice by the same title.

  • Associations Comment on NIST Special Publication on Controlled Unclassified Information

On August 2, APLU and partner organizations submitted comments on NIST’s draft Special Publication 800-171B, “Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Systems and Organizations: Enhanced Security Requirements for Critical Programs and High Value Assets.” The new publication, with the intent of addressing strategic threats from foreign adversaries, would create a set of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) requirements that go beyond guidelines established through the original CUI network requirement found in NIST SP 800-171.

APLU and partner higher education associations argue that NIST does not sufficiently address when, where, and how federal agencies might apply the “critical program” or “high value asset” designations, creating great uncertainty about when SP 800-171B standards may need to be implemented. The letter requests further clarification about the criteria and processes. NIST has since delayed the release of cybersecurity standards, including NIST SP 800-171B, due to a review cycle being incorporated by the Office of Management and Budget, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

  • APLU and AAU Publish Joint Op-Ed on Foreign Interference

APLU President Peter McPherson and the Association of American Universities (AAU) President Mary Sue Coleman published an op-ed in Inside Higher Ed on August 5 stressing the importance of safeguarding university research without sacrificing openness and international collaboration. President McPherson and President Coleman highlight what U.S. universities are doing in this space, referencing the joint Effective Practices Summary, and recommend that the intelligence community work more closely with the university community regarding known security threats. McPherson and Coleman also call on university presidents to take active roles in driving change on their campuses to effectively address the threats facing research security.

  • APLU and AAU Urge OMB to Invest in Higher Ed and Research

On August 6, APLU and the Association of American Universities (AAU) sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director Russell Vought urging strong support and increased funding for higher education and scientific research in the administration’s FY2021 budget. The letter notes that robust funding in these areas is essential to the U.S. maintaining global collaboration, competition, and national security and will ensure the U.S. remains the leader in global innovation.

  • Senate Confirms Michael Kratsios for OSTP Post

The Senate confirmed Michael Kratsios as Associate Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the U.S. Chief Technology Officer on August 1. Mr. Krastsios previously served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer. He has been instrumental in the development and execution of President Trump’s technology initiatives including STEM education, advanced manufacturing, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, 5G and broadband communications, and commercial drones. Ahead of Mr. Kratsios’ confirmation hearing, APLU sent a letter to Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) endorsing his nomination.

  • APLU Endorses ARPA-E Legislation

On July 31, House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Connor Lamb (D-PA) introduced H.R. 4091, the ARPA-E Reauthorization Act of 2019. The bill would authorize $428 million to ARPA-E in FY2020 before rising to $1 billion in FY2024. The numbers are consistent with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s recommendations in its Rising Above the Gathering Storm report. ARPA-E is currently funded at $366 million and would be funded at $425 million in the FY2020 House Energy & Water Development appropriations bill. APLU, along with the Association of American Universities and the Task Force on American Innovation, endorsed the legislation.

  • Clarification on NIH Requirements Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research

NIH recently issued Clarifying Competing Application Instructions and Notice of Publication of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research. This notice includes instructions for grant applications for research using human fetal tissue with due dates on or after September 25, 2019. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding human fetal tissue research are available as well.

On July 26, the NIH issued Changes to NIH Requirements Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research. This notice outlines changes regarding research that is supported by NIH and involves the proposed use of human fetal tissue obtained from elective abortions in extramural applications for grants, cooperative agreements, and R&D contracts as per the Department of Health and Human Services statement on June 5. The notice will apply after September 25, 2019 and does not address any changes to Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR) for currently active grants or annual progress reports for ongoing grants.

  • NIH Releases Report on Laboratory Animal Welfare and Reducing Administrative Burden

On August 21, NIH released Laboratory Animal Welfare: Report on Reducing Administrative Burden for Researchers: Animal Care and Use in Research. The report details the recommendations of the 21st Century Cures Act, Section 2034(d), Working Group and decisions of the agencies.

  • Update from the National Science and Technology Council Joint Committee on Research Environments

In July, the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), with management guidance from OSTP, hosted the second meeting of the NSTC Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE). Led by senior government officials who chair the NSTC Committee on Science and the NSTC Committee on the S&T Enterprise, JCORE is comprised of four independent subcommittees each tackling a key issue critical to the future health and well-being of the American R&D ecosystem. The four subcommittees include: the Subcommittee on Safe and Inclusive Research Environments; the Subcommittee on Rigor and Integrity in Research; the Subcommittee on Research Security; and the Subcommittee on Reducing Administrative Burdens.

  • Nominations Open for National Science Board 2019 Honorary Awards

The National Science Board presents two awards each year during a spring ceremony and dinner. The awards are the Vannevar Bush Award, honoring exceptional service to the nation in science and technology, and the NSB Public Service Award, honoring service in public understanding of science and engineering. Nominations are being accepted for the 2019 Honorary Awards through September 27, 2019. Candidates for these awards are typically nominated by their peers. For questions concerning the awards, please contact Faith Hixon.

  • Registration Open for Rally for Medical Research Hill Day

The 2019 Rally for Medical Research Hill Day will be held on September 18-19, 2019. The event urges robust funding for NIH and raises awareness of the urgent need for continued investment in the NIH to improve health, spur more progress, inspire more hope, and save more lives. Additional information is available here.

  • Registration Open for IRIS Summit

Registration is open for the Institute for Research on Innovation & Science (IRIS) Summit at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on September 26-27, 2019. This first-ever integrated IRIS Summit will feature discussions on data, policy, and research and is open to all with an interest in using administrative data to better understand, explain, and improve higher education.

  • Registration Open Soon for Fall 2019 NSF Grants Conference

Registration for the Fall 2019 NSF Grants Conference will open on September 5, 2019. The event will take place on November 18-19, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts at the Boston Marriott Cambridge. The registration fee is $450, and you may sign up to receive notifications about this and other events here.

  • Thank You and Farewell from Sarah Rovito

Today is my last day at APLU before heading to Capitol Hill, where I will be a 2019-2020 IEEE-USA Congressional Fellow. I am honored to have been a member of this community for the past three years and thank you for all that you do to advance research at our nation’s public universities. If you would like, please connect and keep in touch.