Emory's Advocacy Work on Capitol Hill Highlights Importance of Research, Collaboration

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

As Congress continues its legislative work this year, I want to provide updates on two issues that affect Emory University: the annual appropriations process and increased attention to concerns of illegal foreign influence impacting federal funded research.

Members of Congress are holding hearings and releasing bipartisan reports to address increasing concerns about potential espionage and Chinese influence in the nation’s higher education system. Emory’s Office of Government and Community Affairs is closely following these discussions; and is working with university senior leaders to ensure that Emory’s message to federal leadership is clear.  

We inform our national leaders that one of Emory’s greatest strengths is our embrace of academic freedom and the quality education we deliver. The University is a stronger, more vibrant place because of the diversity found in our students, post-doctoral fellows, faculty and staff. Emory remains committed to supporting our international community and strongly values our collaborations with researchers from other countries. Emory’s largest international student and international visiting scholar populations are from China and the country is a top destination for faculty who work abroad.

As a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grant awardee, we also make sure federal leaders know that Emory takes its compliance and stewardship obligations seriously. Emory has strong protocols in place to protect and secure research and intellectual property and we are working with the NIH and other national agencies to better understand and address emerging threats.

Emory will continue to monitor these discussions and will provide updates. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out if there are questions or concerns. 

In other Congressional news, the annual appropriations process reminds us once again how important research dollars are to Emory and the communities it serves. Resources allocated by the federal government enable Emory to create impact in Atlanta, in Georgia, and throughout the nation and world. Over the past 10 years, external research funding at Emory has increased nearly 52 percent.

We should be proud of the dedication and expertise of our outstanding faculty; and appreciate Emory’s recognition as one of the nation’s leading research universities. It is important for us to be aware that government resources continue to be challenged, while demand continues to grow; and Emory must become ever better stewards of precious research, education and training dollars.

Emory supplements federal dollars to develop cutting-edge research that improves lives today, as well as research that is either too basic or risky for the private sector. In FY2018, Emory researchers received $734 million dollars in total research funding: $440.8 million of that funding came from the federal government; the remaining 40% came from non-federal sources. In turn, Emory invested more than $161 million of its own resources in research costs unrecovered from sponsors last year. 

Emory also leverages financial aid dollars: last year alone, Emory contributed $297 million in grants/scholarships to our students, while the federal government provided $13 million in grants/scholarships. In addition, Emory annually contributes an estimated $78 million to supplement the training necessary for the next generation of physicians. Emory provides more than half of the residency training positions in Georgia. 

Investments in research, education, and training are an efficient and powerful use of government dollars. Research at Emory pays off today and tomorrow; it’s human return on investment in very real terms. I am grateful that our congressional delegation, agency partners, and Georgia state legislators trust Emory University as a partner and a steward of key financial resources. All of us care deeply about the educational and research initiatives that are helping us partner together to create a brighter tomorrow. Together, we can continue to advance discovery, embrace innovation, and lead in education — in our city, our state, our nation, and globally.