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Policy & Advocacy

Research & Science

APLU promotes federal research and science investment and policies that stimulate new discoveries that improve the health,quality of life, and economic growth of our communities, our nation, and our world. APLU member institutions in the United States conduct more than $48 billion in university-based research. APLU's Office of Governmental Affairs engages federal agencies and lawmakers to advance policies that enhance the effectiveness of research undertaken at public research universities, including policies that support safe, secure, effective, and transparent research.

  • Investing in Research
    Federally funded research is the heartbeat of American innovation, laying the building blocks for life-saving biomedical treatments, pathbreaking technological innovation addressing the world’s most vexing challenges, and breakthrough discoveries that advance understanding of the world. The internet, GPS, and life-saving immunotherapies all grew out of discoveries supported by investment in university-based research. APLU regularly engages lawmakers for increased appropriations for federal research and science agencies. Sustained and robust investment in research is necessary to ensure the U.S. maintains its place as the world's leading economy with broadly shared prosperity.
  • The America COMPETES Act/United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA)
    Over the past several decades, federal investment in research and development has flatlined as a share of the economy even as our global competitors have jumpstarted innovation and economic growth through such investment. When measured as a share of the economy, U.S. investment in these areas is just a third of what it was at its peak. Two pieces of companion legislation before Congress would enable increased federal investment in research and innovation. The America COMPETES Act and United States Innovation and Competition Act would both boost authorizations for federal investment in scientific research. The bills would also create a new directorate at the National Science Foundation focused squarely on helping springboard discoveries in the lab into practical applications in the marketplace.

    As Congress moves forward on legislation to boost U.S. competitiveness, APLU and the public university community are advocating for final legislationwith the goal of surging investment in federally funded research, create new programs to support research capacity at HBCUs and other Minority Serving Institutions, and research security provisions that are appropriate in scope, not duplicative, and don’t needlessly hamper appropriate international education and scientific partnerships that are a hallmark of leading-edge science. APLU also strongly supports including the College Transparency Act as part of competitiveness legislation. The bill would help support increased student success, graduation, and bolster the U.S. workforce. We also support immigration policies to expand opportunities for international STEM talent graduating U.S. universities to make their contributions.

    As part of this process, APLU continuously reinforces that increasing authorizations for science funding is not a substitute for increasing actual investment. We must do both.
  • Research Security
    Open and collaborative fundamental research has served as a scientific and economic boon to the U.S. and the world. APLU fosters the development of globally competent students, internationally engaged faculty, and institutions capable of addressing global challenges. The science and education enterprise, however, is put at risk when other governments endeavor to benefit from it without upholding the values of openness, transparency and reciprocal collaboration. The nation’s public research universities have a unique, long-standing partnership with the federal government conducting research on behalf of the American people.

    This research represents one of the nation’s greatest assets, which is why public research universities have an ironclad commitment to preventing undue foreign influence on research. To help institutions enhance research protocols, APLU and the Association of American Universities have surveyed member institutions to identify and elevate effective research security practices. APLU continues to advocate for federal research security policies that bolster security, are appropriate in scope, and not duplicative.