Developing a University Research Fighting Fund
Fulfillment of funding for research infrastructure and developing a university “fighting fund” will enable Oregon’s public research universities to more effectively compete for federal grants. Each year, the Federal government issues numerous significant grant opportunities that could contribute to Oregon’s well-being. Many grants must be matched by funding from private industry, state, and other non-federal government sources.
While Oregon’s public universities frequently compete as members of national teams for these federally-funded grants, they are handicapped by Oregon’s biennial budget process.
Oregon’s public research universities suggest allocating $20 million to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) to be used during the 2017-19 biennium by universities that demonstrate success in competing for qualified federal research funding. If no university proposals are successful in obtaining federal funds, the fund balance would carry over to the next biennium.
In the event that a university, or university consortium, is successful, the HECC would be authorized to allocate resources within the fighting fund. The fund would serve as a specific allocation set aside by the State of Oregon for the purpose of providing the necessary match in the event that a university proposal is successful at the federal level. The designated fund would increase the viability and credibility for Oregon’s public universities as they compete in the federal arena. It would also allow OSU to stay on the cutting edge in developing innovations that provide economic growth for Oregon and the nation.
OSU Statewides Public Service Programs
The Oregon State University Statewides Public Service Programs received a $14 million increase in funding from the Oregon State Legislature during the 2015 legislative session. This allocation was the first substantial increase in its budget in nearly a decade. The “OSU statewides,” as they’re commonly referred to, are unique to the University and give it a physical presence in nearly every county of the state. It is one of the most important ways OSU improves the lives of Oregonians and our state’s economy.
The statewides’ mission is to “improve the lives of Oregonians through discovery, outreach, and learning focused on critical issues of importance to communities throughout the state and the world.” The program has three sub-areas: OSU Extension Services, Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station, and the Forest Research Laboratory. The OSU Extension Service creates an avenue for Oregonians to find research-based information on economic development, healthy and productive life choices, and sustainable ecosystems. The Oregon Agricultural Experiment station is Oregon’s primary research generator related to food, agriculture, and natural resources. The Forest Research Laboratory helps Oregonians understand the science behind forest management, the connections between people and forests, and how renewable materials benefit businesses and communities.
During the 2017 legislative session, we will be seeking a continued service level funding increase for OSU’s statewides that will support communities served by these programs throughout the state.