University of Nebraska System President Ted Carter today was joined by the four chancellors and more than 30 students, faculty and Nebraskans in speaking in support of NU’s proposals to invest federal American Rescue Plan funds in education, research and workforce development initiatives that would grow the state’s economy and quality of life.
Testifying before the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee, Carter said the university’s eight proposals – touching agriculture, rural health care, cancer research, STEM education, counterterrorism and more – represent “once-in-a-lifetime opportunities” for Nebraskans to work together to solve some of the state’s most urgent and complex challenges.
"Imagine being able to provide new hope to patients facing a devastating diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Or delivering new solutions to keep the brave women and men of our military safer on the battlefield. Or transforming agriculture for the next century. Or ensuring that every Nebraskan – no matter where they live – has access to quality health care," Carter told the committee. He thanked the senators who introduced legislation on the university’s behalf – Sens. Matt Williams, Robert Hilkemann, John Lowe, Mark Kolterman, Myron Dorn, Wendy DeBoer, Tony Vargas and Mike McDonnell – for their leadership and partnership.
"These are the kinds of conversations the chancellors and I have every day, and they informed the proposals you have before you now."
First announced last fall, the university’s proposals were developed following extensive conversation between the president and chancellors about what efforts could have the most wide-ranging, long-term impact on economic growth and well-being in the state, Carter said. The ideas ultimately brought forward are areas of historic strength and expertise for the university, he said – "areas where we have some of the very best talent in the world right here in Nebraska.
"And they are areas that we believe are so vital to the future of our state that we will pursue every opportunity to bring them to fruition."
A detailed description of each of the University of Nebraska System’s proposals are available here. They are:
- A companion facility to the planned USDA National Center for Resilient & Regenerative Agriculture facility at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Innovation Campus that would house research and ag-tech startup space to serve the needs of Nebraska’s most important industry. (LB703, Williams)
- A University of Nebraska at Kearney-University of Nebraska Medical Center Rural Health Complex that would expand UNMC programs offered on the UNK campus to meet urgent health care workforce needs in rural Nebraska. (LB721, Hilkemann and Lowe)
- A Pancreatic Cancer Research Institute at UNMC to advance research and care for one of the most lethal forms of cancer. (LB766, Kolterman)
- A new data center at UNL that would expand artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and the Holland Computing Center and create new workforce and research and development opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing, medicine, machine learning and other areas. (LB904, Dorn)
- Investment in UNMC’s Global Center for Health Security that would advance UNMC’s work – already globally recognized in the wake of Covid-19 and Ebola – in anticipating, preparing for and mitigating emerging infectious diseases. (LB950, DeBoer)
- Investment in the National Counterterrorism, Innovation, Technology and Education (NCITE) Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha to advance UNO’s world-leading counterterrorism research and workforce development efforts. (LB961, Vargas)
- Investment in UNO’s STEM Trail Center, which builds STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) capacity and competency in the metropolitan area to meet critical workforce needs. (LB962, Vargas)
- Investment in biomechanics research at UNO to advance the study of human movement and make a difference in the lives of people in the Omaha area and around the world. (LB1054, McDonnell)
UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen, UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green and UNO Chancellor Joanne Li all testified in support of proposals based on their campuses, as did students and faculty from across the campuses and community leaders across the state. Additionally, the Appropriations Committee received more than 80 letters of support for the university’s proposals from leaders in business, agriculture and the community.