ACE Responds to Request for Information on the American Research Environment
February 03, 2020

ACE submitted comments last week in response to a request for information from the National Science and Technology Council on the work of the Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE) and how to maximize the quality and effectiveness of American research.

The comments, submitted along with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, focused on two issues: 1) strengthening the security of the science and technology research enterprise; and 2) fostering safe, inclusive, and equitable research environments.

On the first, as the higher education community has said many times, we take the concerns raised by federal policymakers regarding undue foreign influence and potential illicit technology transfer extremely seriously. The groups recommended that JCORE continue engaging with diverse groups of stakeholders, coordinating among the federal agencies, and working collaboratively with institutions to bring them into compliance with existing regulations.

Regarding the second question, the associations noted that college and universities have clear and unambiguous responsibilities under Title IX, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and other federal requirements to respond to allegations of sexual harassment, including sexual assault. Referring JCORE to comments sent to the National Science Foundation in 2018 and to NASA in 2019 on the same issue, they urged the committee to take into account existing federal and state regulations as well as the pending update to Title IX rules.

"Overlapping but different requirements imposed by new terms and conditions from the federal science agencies will cause confusion and create conflicting obligations for institutions that are committed to complying with all applicable law," the groups wrote. “Once again, clear and consistent federal requirements will enhance compliance.”

To read the comments in full, click here.