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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Federal spending bill provides over $80 million for UW-Madison

A $1.5 trillion federal spending plan has been signed into law by President Joe Biden, appropriating over $80 million to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The bipartisan agreement — which was passed by the House and Senate earlier this month, and signed into law by Pres. Biden on Tuesday, March 15 — is set to fund the federal government through September 2022. 

Initiatives such as the construction of new research facilities, continued support for university-rural partnerships, and poverty and educational research at UW-Madison are supported by the bill. 

“We applaud Wisconsin’s congressional leaders for their commitment to funding research and programs that invest in the future of our state and university,” said Chancellor Rebecca Blank in a statement

“This legislation provides crucial funding for cutting-edge university research and projects, and will improve health, drive innovation and create a more prosperous Wisconsin,” she continued.

The spending bill commits millions of dollars to the following UW-Madison-specific programs:

  • $39.7 million: Construction of the new Plant Germplasm Facility
  • $15 million: Center on Exposome Studies in Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias
  • $10 million: Institute for Rural Partnership
  • $5 million: Center of Excellence for Extreme Events in Structurally Evolving Materials
  • $5 million: Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Propulsion
  • $5 million: PANTHER, a biomedical research program addressing traumatic brain injuries
  • $2 million: Agricultural Genome to Phenome Initiative
  • $1.2 million: Next Generation Scanning High-resolution Interferometer Sounder (S- HIS)
  • $1 million: Retirement and Disability Research Consortium
  • $500,000: Odyssey Project
  • $174,000: Small Business Accounting Projections Clinic
  • Up to $10 million for research and development on two stroke opposed piston engines

In a statement to The Daily Cardinal, Assistant Vice Chancellor of University Communications John Lucas emphasized the university’s support for the bill at a national and university level. 

“We’re particularly happy the National Science Foundation (NSF) has established the Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships,” Lucas said. “This is NSF’s first new directorate in over 30 years.” 

In the federal legislation, $8.84 billion — a $351 million dollar increase — was provided to the NSF, which is a university research partner

Lucas also highlighted the UW-Madison administration’s enthusiasm for the bill’s investments in federal research agencies. 

“This funding is sure to lead to new breakthroughs that will ultimately save lives and fuel economic growth,” Lucas emphasized. 

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While the university administration is content with the number of programs funded, the amounts are less than expected, according to Lucas.  

“UW is glad Congress increased funding for programs like Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Federal Work Study and TRIO programs, though these overall increases for programs that will help students with college affordability are much less than the president requested and the House passed last summer,” Lucas said. 

Blank provided praise for local officials for their role in securing funding for the different UW-Madison projects and initiatives, and national programs. 

“Congressman Mark Pocan and Senator Tammy Baldwin, both members of the Appropriations Committee, were particularly instrumental in crafting this legislation and championing priorities for UW–Madison and the state of Wisconsin,” Blank emphasized.

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