Weekly Market Update

TWO BILLS INTRODUCED TO ADDRESS FOREIGN ESPIONAGE TARGETING ACADEMIC RESEARCH

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Two bills were introduced in the US Congress within the last month focusing on foreign espionage within the academic research community. Bill sponsors expressed concerns about academic collaboration with China, Iran and Russia and their nationals. The bill introduced on Tuesday, the "Protect Our Universities Act," would require students from those countries to undergo background screenings before being allowed to participate in "sensitive research projects." The process proposed by the bill is raising concerns about racial profiling and hinderance of collaboration.

In Other News

  • The Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that it would hold rates for now, and signaled that a cut could occur as soon as next month.
  • The signed Illinois state budget includes an 8.2% increase in higher education funding for fiscal 2020, the largest boost since 1990. The funding will support general operations, capital projects, and grants for a number of public and private universities and community colleges located in the state.
  • George Mason University is considering adding a medical school, and preliminary results of its feasibility study are expected this fall. The addition to the university's Science and Technology Campus in Prince William Park is being contemplated due to the accelerated growth of the health care industry in Prince William County.
  • According to the annual "Giving USA" report, philanthropic contributions declined by 1.7% in 2018, following four years of growth. The report notes that stock market uncertainty and changes to the tax code may be responsible for the dip.