On behalf of the University of Kentucky, I want to express my support and gratitude to the members of Kentucky’s Congressional delegation for voting in favor of the FY2016 omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 2029). This investment is an important component of expanding UK's robust research enterprise to better serve our state's needs.
The bill includes significant investments in scientific research at all major federal research agencies. The highlight is a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which represents the largest single increase for the agency in over a decade. It is also the largest federal partner for UK's externally funded research activities.
Included in this increase is $200 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative; $936 million for Alzheimer’s disease research; $150 million for the BRAIN Initiative; and $100 million for research to combat antimicrobial resistance.
Additionally, the bill includes other meaningful investments to research including:
• $25 million (7.7%) increase for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.
• $279 million (5.5%) increase for the Department of Energy Office of Science.
• $430 million in total funding for the Coal Carbon Capture Sequestration (CCS) and Power Systems program. This is noteworthy as it is a $30 million increase over last year and a $61 million increase over the President’s request. This investment will help promote the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research's (CAER) work on coal utilization and carbon capture, as well as a campus-wide Rare Earth Elements (REE) recovery initiative, led by the University of Kentucky’s Department of Mining Engineering. This research focuses on developing energy technologies to improve the environment and contribute to technology related to coal, energy and the environment.
• $140 increase in the maximum Pell award to $5,915 in the 2016-2017 school year.
• Investments in the National Science Foundation (NSF), including the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). A program in which UK participates.
As a $3.4 billion academic, research and health enterprise, discovery is at the core of our institution – calling upon us to answer still lingering questions while daring to pioneer the questions yet asked. Our research and scholarly endeavors offer the brightest hope for transformation and change for our Commonwealth and the broader world we serve.
I am inspired by the synergies stirring between the state's investment in our new research building and the growing support from Congress for increased research and development investment that addresses the compelling questions of our day.
What shines through these actions most clearly is the respect and affection that state and national leaders have for the faculty, staff and students at the University of Kentucky, and the work they do each day to extend and enhance our mission.
Unlike any other institution, our campus is the Commonwealth. Kentucky is in our DNA. We educate students, conduct groundbreaking research and heal communities in need of our care.
Thank you for your passion and enduring work.