Feb 9 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recently, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act to authorize nearly $25 billion in support to U.S. researchers who have been impacted by the pandemic. Although coronavirus-related research is a current federal government priority, most other research has been delayed due to closures of campuses and laboratories. The people who comprise the research workforce – graduate students, postdocs, principal investigators, and technical support staff – face financial and other hardships from the disruption of their research activities. The RISE Act will provide necessary relief to preserve the current scientific workforce and ensure that the United States is prepared to continue our global scientific leadership once this crisis ends. 

In September 2020, the RISE Act was marked up and approved by the Senate Commerce Committee. Senators Tillis, Markey, Peters, and Collins will build on the committee approval from last Congress and fight for the inclusion of federal research relief in COVID-19 relief packages.

“Over the course of this unprecedented pandemic, our medical researchers, scientists, research institutions, and labs in North Carolina and across the country have worked tirelessly to battle COVID-19 and improve the health of the country,” said Senator Tillis. “I am proud to co-introduce the RISE Act again in the 117th Congress and I will continue to fight for our economic growth, global competitiveness, and ability to deliver innovative medical and scientific solutions. We must support our nation’s research investments and workforce pipeline so that the medical and scientific research community can resume operations and restore progress to pre-pandemic levels.”

“We are grateful to Senator Tillis for his leadership on this critical issue,” said UNC System President Peter Hans. “The mission of the UNC System is to discover, create, transmit, and apply knowledge. This legislation makes it possible for us to maintain the momentum we have in creating jobs and fostering innovations that improve the lives of millions.”

“As a recipient of approximately $750 million in federal research support, UNC-Chapel Hill is grateful to Senator Tillis and his leadership in advocating for research funding in the next COVID-19 aid bill. The bipartisan RISE Act would authorize critically important supplemental funding for federal science agencies, which support our students and faculty in their research to solve the challenges facing our state, the nation and the world. These funds will ensure our scientific work and research breakthroughs can continue during this unprecedented time,” said UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz.

“NC State University applauds Senator Tillis and his Congressional colleagues for their bi-partisan leadership in reintroducing the RISE Act, a critical investment to maintain and enhance our nation's leadership in scientific discovery and innovation,” said NC State University Chancellor Randy Woodson. “Federally-funded research at NC State and other research universities has led to countless advances that vastly improve quality of life and drive our nation’s economy. Although our nation’s research institutions have stepped up and done amazing work to address the many challenges caused by COVID-19, the pandemic has broadly challenged our country's overall research capabilities. The RISE Act would ensure that vital federally funded research projects can again be completed, ultimately strengthening and advancing our nation’s research enterprise for the benefit of all Americans.” 

“The federal government is a critical partner for university-based research, and North Carolina is shining example of the successful connection between federally-funded academic research and economic growth.  The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many aspects of campus life, including research conducted in our labs and the professional trajectory of our early-career researchers. I am grateful for the bipartisan recognition in Congress of the needs facing our scientific workforce and the importance of providing the federal science agencies the additional funding needed to help mitigate the impacts of COVID to the nation’s research enterprise and universities,” said Duke University President Vincent Price.

A copy of the legislation can be found here.

Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Fred Upton (R-MI), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Anna A. Eshoo (D-CA) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) also introduced the legislation in the House of Representatives today. That legislation has 77 original co-sponsors, and more than 300 organizations endorsing, including the Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), American Council on Education (ACE) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).