Washington State University’s Vice President for Research Christopher Keane has been invited to testify to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, & Technology’s “Building Back the U.S. Research Enterprise: COVID Impacts and Recovery” hearing on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7 a.m. PST.

In Keane’s capacity as VPR at WSU, he serves as chair of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) Council on Research. He will represent WSU and APLU’s 199 U.S. member institutions.

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has oversight of the National Science Foundation, NASA, DOE’s Office of Science and research efforts across the federal government. Leadership of the committee has sponsored the Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act, which would provide $25 billion to federal agencies to support independent research institutions, public laboratories and universities throughout the country to continue work on thousands of federally-backed projects impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding would also be used to support early-career researchers and graduate students, researchers in disciplines not fully recovered (such as human subject research and fieldwork), and vial facilities.

Additionally leadership of the committee has also introduced the Supporting Early-Career Researchers Act. This legislation would create a new postdoctoral fellowship program at the National Science Foundation to support early-career researchers whose opportunities have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This act should also acknowledge and mitigate the impacts arising from changes in traditional career paths.

Keane’s testimony will support the need for both pieces of legislation. During the hearing, he will focus on how the nation’s public and land-grant universities have risen to the challenge of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and played critical roles in supporting communities, states, and the nation in the campaign against the coronavirus.  Keane will also discuss the pandemic’s numerous and severe impacts, both short and long term, to undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral education; partial or complete loss of some research, disruption of the flow of talent required to support the nation’s innovation pipeline, infrastructure impacts, and amplification of gender, racial, and other previously existing inequities.

Finally, Keane will address how continued Congressional support for federal research agencies will be essential for national recovery from the pandemic and transitioning the nation’s research enterprise to the new normal.

The hearing will also include testimony from Sudip Parikh, chief executive officer for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Felice J. Levine, executive director for the American Educational Research Association, and Thomas Quaadman, executive vice president for the Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The hearing is open to the public to watch via livestream. The link to the livestream will be made available the morning of the hearing.