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Senate Bill 1 seeks to establish a larger research presence in Kentucky

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers gesticulates with both hands behind a small microphone.
Courtesy
/
Legislative Research Commission
Senate President Robert Stivers laid out how the bill would be implemented to his colleagues in Frankfort.

The president of the Kentucky Senate is envisioning a much more robust research-based footprint in the commonwealth. Robert Stivers, a Republican from Manchester, laid out the basics of Senate Bill 1 to his fellow senators Thursday.

SB 1 establishes an endowment research fund to be administered by the Council on Postsecondary Education. Monies to support five consortium accounts would include federal and state funds plus gifts and grants. The bill requires at least two universities to submit applications. Stivers said it doesn’t call for a specific amount of state support.

“We’ll have to see what both chambers are willing to do on putting those types of monies to generate income off of in a kind of perpetuity…so they can continually do research.”

And Stivers said the forms of research would be wide open. As examples he cited, conductivity, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and aerospace-aviation. Stivers told his colleagues he envisions Kentucky becoming a bigger influence on a national scale.

“That we would position this state as a leader in university research that would change the dynamics of this state. That we would create a bio-medical hub like Boston is…with 30,000 unfilled jobs,” said Stivers.

The Senate president said university connection would be a centerpiece of the legislation. Stivers asked, “Why be competitors?...why not be collaborators?” During his floor comments, the Clay County lawmaker said it should not be controversial as it doesn’t relate to political party or cause a regional debate. The bill does set out that the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Trust be one of the five initial research consortiums.

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