September 01, 2021

Cortez Masto Leads Federal Push to Secure Funding For Innovation Research in Nevada

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) is leading a bipartisan, bicameral effort to deliver federal research dollars to underserved states like Nevada with Senators Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), as well as Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Rep. Dusty Johnson (R- S. Dak.). Cortez Masto and her colleagues are highlighting the importance of provisions in the Senate-passed U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) that set aside funding for states like Nevada that have been historically disadvantaged when it comes to federal research funding.

In a letter to Congressional leadership, the Senator notes that the bipartisan, Senate-approved legislation would devote 20% of its historic investment in research and development funding to the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), which serves the 28 states and territories that have not received their fair share of federal research funds. This would reduce the current disparity in funds and help underserved states and regions, as well as boost our nation’s competitiveness by ensuring all of our country can participate in cutting-edge research. The companion bill in the House of Representatives does not include this set-aside for states like Nevada, and Cortez Masto’s letter urges Congress to include the Senate EPSCoR provisions as the two chambers negotiate the final bill. It is signed by 34 Senators and 26 Members of the House of Representatives.

“Securing this important research funding for Nevada will open the door for more innovation and jobs throughout the Silver State,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “This funding will boost our local economy and create more sustainable, good-paying jobs by supporting our universities and helping ensure Nevada remains an innovation hub. I will continue working to secure additional investments that boost Nevada’s small businesses and working families.”

“By increasing investment in the research and education capacity of our public universities through the EPSCoR program, the Innovation and Competition Act will have an essential role in building a more resilient economy in Nevada. The University of Nevada, Reno is very proud to have achieved the Carnegie classification for very high research activity, and support through the EPSCoR program aligns with our steadfast intent to maintain this classification, in service to Nevada,” University of Nevada President Brian Sandoval said. “It also aligns with our mission as Nevada’s land-grant university to contribute to the health and economy of Nevada and the careers and futures of our students. The Senate’s action in support of this investment is appreciated.”

“UNLV is one of America’s Leading Research Institutions. EPSCoR programs are vital to maintaining our research competitiveness. These programs fund eligible students majoring in mathematics, sciences, engineering, and K-12 STEM education,” University of Nevada Las Vegas President Keith Whitfield said. “We are particularly excited about the undergraduate research component NSF EPSCoR awards provide for lab and field research experiences. Setting aside 20% of research funding for EPSCoR designated states will help UNLV continue research to further diversify the Nevada Economy making us more resilient and resistant when future economic downturns occur.”

“The United States Innovation and Competition Act, passed on a bipartisan basis by the Senate in June to increase U.S. competiveness in science and technology, includes important provisions to remedy this imbalance by setting aside 20% of NSF and Department of Energy research funding for the 28 EPSCoR designated states and jurisdictions that are currently underserved by R&D funds,” wrote the lawmakers. “We strongly support this approach and believe that it is necessary to leverage every state and community in the nation to remain globally competitive.”

Senator Cortez Masto Cortez Masto is leading legislation through her Innovation State Initiative to address challenges in Nevada and to make critical investments that will bring jobs to the region.

Find a copy of the letter HERE.