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Federal budget helps fund WSU infectious disease, mental health research

The United States Capitol building during the day
The United States Capitol

Washington State University is crediting strong support from the state’s congressional delegation with helping secure significant funding in the new federal spending bill signed into law last month by President Joe Biden. 

“These federal investments recognize WSU’s important contributions to innovative research and education,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “The support of our congressional delegation, coupled with the diligent efforts of WSU’s Federal Relations team, not only brought direct federal appropriations to the university but improved funding for several programs critical to our land-grant mission.”

The $1.7 trillion spending bill includes nearly $2 million in direct allocations for WSU.

The Paul G. Allen School for Global Health will receive $1.36M to improve its biosafety level 3 laboratory on the Pullman campus, which supports WSU’s infectious diseases research and pandemic response capacity. 

Also included in the bill is $500,000 to support a WSU-led community research effort focused on addressing the mental health needs of Washington’s rural and underserved communities. 

Other investments in WSU made through the bill include funding to address the rising costs and supply chain issues impacting completion of construction on the new USDA-ARS research facility on the Pullman campus, and funding to build on the momentum of the cybersecurity work happening through the Northwest Virtual Institute for Cybersecurity Education and Research.

In addition to this direct funding for WSU, the spending bill also makes historic investments in federal research, allocating $1.8 billion to implement the CHIPS and Science Act.

Additional research areas supported by the bill include: 

  • Agriculture—including funding supporting WSU research on wildfire smoke exposure on wine grapes, addressing herbicide resistance weeds, supporting stormwater research in the Puget Sound, and beginning to address WSU’s infrastructure needs across the system
  • Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF)– direct funding to the WSU-led ASCENT program to prioritize certification and research related to SAF and entry to the SAF market
  • Disease Surveillance and Antimicrobial Resistance – The CDC received increased funding to support the work done by WSU in One Health research and pandemic preparedness activities
  • Public Health—increased funding for the National Institute of Health for research related to opioids, stimulants, and pain/pain management
  • Graduate Medical Education—funding to provide 200 new Medicare-supported graduate medical education slots in 2026, with 10% of the slots going to teaching hospitals in states with new medical schools

The federal spending bill also includes a $500 increase to the maximum Pell Grant for the 2023-2024 school year, raising the maximum to a total of $7,395. For many WSU students, the Pell Grant is the cornerstone of their financial aid award and WSU will continue to advocate for increasing funding for our Pell eligible students. 

In addition to raising the Pell Grant maximum, the bill also provides increased investments for TRIO, a program providing support services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to access higher education, and GEAR UP, which is aimed at encouraging and preparing students to enter and succeed in college. 

For more information on the Office of Federal Relations, contact Glynda Becker-Fenter, assistant vice president for federal engagement and advocacy, at Glynda.Becker@wsu.edu. For additional information on the policies relating to health sciences, contact Patti Stauffer, director of health sciences public policy and advocacy, at Patti.Stauffer@wsu.edu

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