Kentucky Senate passes Stivers’ endowed research bill

Kentucky Lantern

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FRANKFORT — Most Kentucky senators expressed support for legislation from Republican Senate President Robert Stivers to encourage Kentucky universities to work together on cutting-edge research projects. 

Stivers, of Manchester, is backing Senate Bill 1, which would set up endowed research funding for research consortiums between two or more public universities. 

Thirty-six Republican and Democratic senators voted in favor of the bill Wednesday. Sen. Adrienne Southworth, R-Lawrenceburg, passed on the vote. 

He previously introduced the legislation along with a Senate joint resolution to further study how higher education opportunities can be expanded in Southeastern Kentucky. The region had been recently called a “postsecondary desert” in a report from the Council on Postsecondary Education. The Senate president sponsored a resolution for that study last session. 

“SB 1 will make it beneficial for our universities to partner together for shared resources instead of competing for the finite resources we have to put towards our post-secondary education program,” Stivers said in a statement after the vote. “Pooling our resources means greater opportunity for  additional federal grants or private funds by investors who want to support cutting-edge research.”

If passed, the bill would set up an endowed research fund that would receive state and federal dollars as well as “any other proceeds from contributions, gifts, or grants made available for the purposes of the fund.” The fund would have five consortium accounts. CPE would accept and review joint funding applications from two or more Kentucky public universities for the accounts for five-year periods. 

Stivers’ bill received support from Republicans and Democrats in the Senate Education Committee last week. 

His Senate Joint Resolution 132 has been assigned to the Senate Education Committee but has not had a hearing yet. That would direct CPE to study turning the Hazard Community and Technical College into a four-year residential university. 

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