Hoeven: CJS Funding Bill Supports STEM Education, Research & Economic Development in North Dakota

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Act, which the Senate Appropriations Committee approved last week, supports programs at federal agencies that bolster education, research and economic development in North Dakota. Hoeven, who serves on the committee, worked to secure funds that enhance a variety of efforts around the state, including Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and the state’s growing unmanned aerial systems (UAS) research and development sector, among other things.

“North Dakota is well-positioned to grow in the industries of the future because, in addition to our pro-growth business climate, we have recognized and made good use of our resources to spur private investment and innovation,” Hoeven said. “These programs help to continue to advance our leadership in unmanned aerial systems, support cutting-edge research at our universities, meet our workforce needs by enhancing STEM education and ensure needed resources and support services are available for new businesses.”

• The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) – $160 million through the National Science Foundation (NSF) and $18 million through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – Supports a state or region’s research infrastructure through partnerships with universities, such as North Dakota State University (NDSU) and the University of North Dakota (UND), to improve their long-term capacity and national competitiveness in research and development.

• Tribal Colleges and Universities Programs (NSF-TCUP) – $14 million – Competitively awards funds to support STEM education and broaden participation in STEM fields at tribal colleges and universities.

• Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research at NASA – $5 million – Supports UAS research at the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) six UAS test sites, including the Northern Plains Test Site, in collaboration with the UAS Center of Excellence, which is co-led by UND.

• Economic Development Administration (EDA) – $254 million – Supports job growth and local economies by building the capacity of communities to support innovation and regional collaboration. Includes $100 million to support brick-and-mortar projects in distressed communities.

• Regional Innovation Program – $20 million – This EDA program strengthens regional innovation clusters and business startups, including the Center for Innovation at UND and the Upper Missouri Tribal Environmental Risk Mitigation cluster, headed by the United Tribes Technical College.