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“Build Back Better” to Provide $2 Billion in Research and Development Funds for Minority Serving Institutions

The current version of the “Build Back Better” legislation calls for $2 billion in grants to improve research and development capabilities at eligible minority serving institutions. We have presented relevant language from the proposed law below. Please contact us for an analysis of your institution’s eligibility for this program.

IMPROVING RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT INFRASTRUCTURE FOR MINORITY-SERVING INSTITUTIONS

(1) Planning grants.— The Secretary shall award planning grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible institutions to assist the eligible institutions in developing a strategic plan, assessing capacity, and carrying out other activities to develop and submit an application for an implementation grant under paragraph (2) to support research and development infrastructure. Planning grants awarded under this paragraph shall be for a period of 1 to 2 years.

(2) Implementation grants.— The Secretary shall award implementation grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible institutions to assist the eligible institutions in supporting research and development infrastructure. Implementation grants awarded under this paragraph shall be for a period of 1 to 5 years.

(A) Planning grants.— An eligible institution that desires to receive a planning grant under subsection (b)(1) shall submit an application to the Secretary. Such application shall include–

  • (i) a description of the activities that will be carried out with grant funds; and
  • (ii) an assurance that the grant funds provided under subsection (b)(1) shall be used to supplement, and not supplant, other Federal, State, tribal, and local funds that would otherwise be expended to develop a plan, assess capacity, or carry out other activities related to research and development infrastructure.

 

(B) Implementation grants.

  • (i) In general.–An eligible institution that desires to receive an implementation grant under subsection (b)(2) shall submit an application to the Secretary.

 

Such application shall include–

    • (I) a description of the projects that will be carried out with grant funds and, in the case of an institution that was previously awarded a planning grant under subsection (b)(1), the strategic plan developed as part of such planning grant
    • (II) a description of how such projects will support the research and development infrastructure of the institution; and
    • (III) an assurance that the grant funds provided under subsection (b)(2)shall be used to supplement, and not supplant, other Federal, State, tribal and local funds that would otherwise be expended to support research and development infrastructure.

(1) Planning grants.— An eligible institution that receives a planning grant under subsection (b)(1) shall use the grant funds to develop a strategic plan, assess capacity, and carry out other activities to develop and submit an application for an implementation grant to support research and development infrastructure. In carrying out the activities under such grant, each such eligible institution–

  • (A) shall develop a high-quality strategic plan for improving institutional research and development infrastructure that includes–
    • (i) an assessment of the existing institutional research capacity and research and development infrastructure; and
    • (ii) a detailed description of how research and development infrastructure funds provided by an implementation grant under this section would be used to increase institutional research capacity and support research and development infrastructure; and

 

(2) Implementation grants.— An eligible institution that receives an implementation grant under subsection (b)(2) shall use the grant funds to support research and development infrastructure, which shall include carrying out at least one of the following activities:

  • (A) Providing funding for a program under paragraph (1), (2), or (9) of section 311(c) or under paragraph (1), (2), or (8) of section 503(b) related to research and development infrastructure that is being carried out by the eligible institution on the date on which the eligible institution receives a grant under this section.
  • (B) Providing for the improvement of infrastructure existing on the date of the grant award, including deferred maintenance, or the establishment of new physical infrastructure, including instructional program spaces, laboratories, or research facilities relating to the fields of science, technology, engineering, the arts, mathematics, health, agriculture, education, medicine, law, and other disciplines.
  • (C) Hiring and retaining faculty, students, research-related staff, or other personnel, including research personnel skilled in operating, using, or applying technology, equipment, or devices used  to conduct or support research.
  • (D) Supporting research internships and fellowships for students, including undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral positions, which may include providing direct student financial assistance to such students.
  • (E) Creating new, or expanding existing, academic positions, including internships, fellowships, and post-doctoral positions, in fields of research for which research and development infrastructure funds have been awarded under this section.
  • (F) Creating and supporting inter- and intra-institutional research centers (including formal and informal communities of practice) in fields of research for which research and development infrastructure funds have been awarded under this section, including hiring staff, purchasing supplies and equipment, and funding travel to relevant conferences and seminars to support the work of such centers.
  • (G) Building new institutional support structures
  • and departments that help faculty learn about, and increase faculty and student access to, Federal research and development grant funds and non-Federal academic research grants.
  • (H) Building data and collaboration infrastructure so that early findings and research can be securely shared to facilitate peer review and other appropriate collaboration.
  • (I) Providing programs of study and courses in fields of research for which research and development infrastructure funds have been awarded under this section.
  • (J) Paying operating and administrative expenses for, and coordinating project partnerships with members of, a consortium described in subsection (c)(2) on behalf of which the eligible institution has received  grant under this section.
  • (K) Installing or extending the life and usability of basic systems and components of campus facilities related to research, including high-speed broadband internet infrastructure sufficient to support digital and technology-based learning.
  • (L) Expanding, remodeling, renovating, or altering biomedical and behavioral research facilities existing on the date of the grant award that receive support under section 404I of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 283k).
  • (M) Acquiring and installing furniture, fixtures, and instructional research-related equipment and technology for academic instruction in campus facilities in fields of research for which research and development infrastructure funds have been awarded under this section.
  • (N) Providing increased funding to programs that support research and development at the eligible institution that are funded by National Institutes of Health, including the Path to Excellence and Innovation program with the National Institutes of Health.