We need research breakthroughs to develop vaccines, cure disease, and help us better understand our world. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some research labs in the U.S. have temporarily closed, leaving some research staff out of work. Not only is that frustrating for those whose livelihoods depend on it, but a slowdown in research can have negative ripple effects on long-term global health and knowledge.

Thankfully, politicians from both sides of the aisle have proposed a bill to counteract that and help research teams continue their much-needed work. The Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act, H.R. 7308, will help stimulate and invigorate academic research. We at Cayuse wanted to voice our enthusiastic support for the bill. Below, we dive into more detail about the RISE Act and what it means for you.

What’s the RISE Act?

The RISE Act will allocate $26 billion to U.S. federal science agencies to award to researchers, whether they’re studying COVID-19 or resuming an unrelated study that got disrupted due to the pandemic. (You can read the full text of the RISE Act here.)

The proposed bill will inject much-needed funds, momentum, and morale into the research community. The funding will help support principal investigators, graduate students, postdocs, and technical support staff, as well as pay for equipment.

Federal agencies will distribute the funding during fiscal years 2020 and 2021, so as soon as possible! The bill would give funding to the following agencies to distribute in 2020: 

  • Department of Health and Human Services ($10 billion)
  • Department of Energy ($5 billion)
  • Department of Defense ($3 billion)
  • National Science Foundation ($3 billion)
  • NASA ($2 billion)
  • Department of Commerce, including NOAA ($650 million)
  • Department of Agriculture ($380 million)
  • Department of the Interior ($300 million)
  • Department of Education ($200 million)
  • Environmental Protection Agency ($200 million)

Research institutions, national laboratories, and nonprofit organizations that do federally funded studies are all eligible. Recipients will have two years to spend funding.

RISE Act benefits

The RISE Act will have several benefits: contributing to our understanding of COVID-19, saving jobs and incomplete research studies, and helping America’s research community stay competitive.

Researching COVID-19: RISE Act funding can go toward research that will study the behavioral, social, or economic effects of COVID-19, as well as potential treatments and reactions to treatment. This vital work could help develop a vaccine and better prepare us (or even prevent) another pandemic, potentially saving countless lives and dollars!

Finishing incomplete research studies: RISE Act funding can go toward research teams whose studies were disrupted by COVID-19. This includes buying equipment that was part of a preexisting award but needs to be replaced or repaired due to the research being disrupted.

Saving jobs: “According to IRIS data, American universities used research funds to pay more than 560,000 people on campuses across the country in fiscal year 2018-2019,” states the official RISE Act press release. That’s roughly the entire population of Wyoming (or Denver, whichever you prefer). In any case, that’s a lot of people whose work has been affected.

Keeping America competitive: The bill’s authors write, “The Nation must innovate to launch the next 50 years of unparalleled economic leadership and be prepared for any future pan­dem­ics.” COVID-19 research is absolutely crucial, but the bill also acknowledges we need more funding to research things like cancer, artificial intelligence, aging, and robotics. Other countries invest heavily in research, and the U.S. must too in order to stay innovative.

The RISE Act could be part of a trend of increased research funding. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that scientific research is invaluable and deserves everyone’s support. Hopefully the RISE Act passes and is the start of a resurgence in financial support for researchers.

Why Cayuse supports the RISE Act

Many groups have already voiced their support for the RISE Act, including the Association of American Universities, the American Educational Research Association, the American Society for Microbiology, and more. At Cayuse, we’re proud to support this bill as well. For more than 25 years, we’ve created software to help research organizations find and manage funding faster so they have more time to focus on science.

We’re so thankful that research forges ahead, even in challenging times, and we’re proud to help researchers do more with less. We’re committed to supporting the current and future of research worldwide. Connect with us on Twitter @CayuseLLC and keep tabs on the bill’s progress here.