Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

02/21/2019 09:00 AM EDUCATION

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08:59:48 AM Start
09:00:04 AM SB53
09:17:18 AM Presentation: the Power of University Research
10:23:58 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
-- Teleconference Listen Only --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
+ Presentation Rescheduled from 2/19/19: TELECONFERENCED
University of Alaska: "The Power of University
Research" by Dr. Larry Hinzman, UAF Vice
Chancellor for Research
-- Teleconference Listen Only --
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 21, 2019                                                                                        
                           8:59 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Shelley Hughes, Vice Chair                                                                                              
Senator Chris Birch                                                                                                             
Senator Mia Costello                                                                                                            
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                              
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 53                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the duties of the Board of Regents of the                                                                   
University of Alaska."                                                                                                          
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PRESENTATION: THE POWER OF UNIVERSITY RESEARCH                                                                                  
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB  53                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: UNIV. REPORTING REQS FOR ACCREDITATION                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) STEVENS                                                                                                  
02/11/19       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/11/19       (S)       EDC, FIN                                                                                               
02/21/19       (S)       EDC AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
TIM LAMKIN, Staff                                                                                                               
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced SB 53 for the bill sponsor.                                                                    
MILES BAKER                                                                                                                     
Associate Vice President of Government Relations                                                                                
University of Alaska                                                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:  Testified   on   University  of   Alaska's                                                             
accreditation reporting requirements.                                                                                           
LARRY HINZMAN, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor of Research                                                                               
University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF)                                                                                            
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented the Power of University Research.                                                               
MARK BILLINGSLEY, Director                                                                                                      
Intellectual Property and Contracts                                                                                             
University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF)                                                                                            
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented the Power of University Research.                                                               
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:59:48 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GARY   STEVENS  called   the  Senate   Education  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 8:59  a.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were Senators Costello, Birch,  and Chair Stevens. Senators                                                               
Begich and Hughes joined shortly thereafter.                                                                                    
         SB  53-UNIV. REPORTING REQS FOR ACCREDITATION                                                                      
9:00:04 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  announced the  consideration of  SB 53.  He stated                                                               
his intention to  introduce the bill, hear  public testimony, and                                                               
hold the bill.                                                                                                                  
9:00:48 AM                                                                                                                    
TIM   LAMKIN,  Staff,   Senator   Gary   Stevens,  Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska,  said SB 53 is a result  of the loss                                                               
of accreditation by the University  of Alaska Anchorage School of                                                               
Education. There  are currently  other reporting  requirements in                                                               
place.  The most  recent,  AS 14.41.190,  requires  the Board  of                                                               
Regents  to  submit a  report  to  the  legislature by  the  30th                                                               
legislative day  biannually on their efforts  "to attract, train,                                                               
and retain qualified  public school teachers." He  noted that the                                                               
report was due Friday, but  the Senate Secretary's office had not                                                               
received that yet,  to his knowledge. He said he  did not prepare                                                               
a sectional  for the bill  because it  would simply say  that the                                                               
bill   would   require  a   biannual   report   on  the   various                                                               
accreditations  across the  UA system.  He pointed  out that  the                                                               
committee  packets  have  a summary  of  current  accreditations.                                                               
There is zero fiscal note.                                                                                                      
9:02:51 AM                                                                                                                    
MILES BAKER,  Associate Vice  President of  Government Relations,                                                               
University of Alaska,  Juneau, Alaska, said AS  14.41.190 has two                                                               
reporting requirements  for the  University of Alaska.  The first                                                               
is  a long  report submitted  every year  as part  of its  budget                                                               
submission  to  the  legislature  regarding things  such  as  the                                                               
condition of university property,  receipts and expenditures, and                                                               
unobligated university receipts. The  second is commonly referred                                                               
to  as  the  SB  241 report,  Alaska's  University  for  Alaska's                                                               
[Schools] Report. He  said he believed Chairman  Stevens was part                                                               
of  passing   that  law  in   2008.  That  report   is  completed                                                               
biennially.  This  report  updates  the  legislature  on  teacher                                                               
preparation, retention, and recruitment  programs. He said it was                                                               
submitted  this  year. He  offered  to  provide  a copy  for  the                                                               
CHAIR STEVENS  said the education committees  would probably meet                                                               
jointly to discuss that report.                                                                                                 
MR. BAKER said  this legislation would require  a third reporting                                                               
requirement.  As  part of  its  biannual  report, the  university                                                               
would  update   the  legislature  on  the   status  of  regional,                                                               
national, and  programmatic accreditations  at the  university no                                                               
later than the 30th day  of the legislative session. The existing                                                               
board policy  requires each  of the  major campuses  to regularly                                                               
assess  all  institutional  programs   to  evaluate  quality  and                                                               
effectiveness.  These program  reviews are  designed to  meet the                                                               
standards  of  applicable   accrediting  bodies.  Annually,  each                                                               
university must  provide a  report to  the Regents'  Academic and                                                               
Student  Affairs  Committee on  the  status  of program  reviews,                                                               
including an  extensive discussion of academic  accreditation. UA                                                               
already has  an internal  process to  compile, track,  and report                                                               
this information annually  to the board, so  that information can                                                               
be provided to  the legislature in a biannual  report. He pointed                                                               
out that  the packets have  information on the status  of ongoing                                                               
accreditation at all the universities                                                                                           
MR.  BAKER  said  this  committee  has  its  regularly  scheduled                                                               
meeting  today.  One  agenda  item is  a  discussion  of  program                                                               
accreditation and  a review of  the status document.  The regents                                                               
want to  be aware  of any accreditations  that are  challenged or                                                               
having  difficulty.  There  will  be an  interest  in  clarifying                                                               
current  regent  policy  regarding accreditation.  The  situation                                                               
with UAA regarding initial licensure  was that while reports were                                                               
being provided to  the board subcommittee in the  fall, they were                                                               
not detailed  enough for the  Board of  Regents to have  the full                                                               
story  of the  potential  situation with  the accreditation.  The                                                               
board will want to update that policy.                                                                                          
9:08:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  said the  impetus for  this bill  was the  loss of                                                               
accreditation at  the Anchorage  campus. "And  that's a  very big                                                               
thing,  as   we  all  know.   Universities  don't   usually  lose                                                               
accreditation. This is the only  one I've seen in my experience,"                                                               
he said.                                                                                                                        
CHAIR STEVENS continued,  "It's a very, very  important thing and                                                               
it's  particularly important  because  of  the students.  Because                                                               
we're putting  them in jeopardy,  asking them to pay  tuition and                                                               
go through all  the work of getting their classes  done, yet when                                                               
they  leave the  University of  Alaska,  they are  going to  have                                                               
trouble, particularly if they transfer out of state."                                                                           
CHAIR STEVENS said, "The only reason  for this bill is because of                                                               
that  loss of  accreditation.  Something went  terribly wrong  in                                                               
this  process." He  said he  chaired  an accreditation  committee                                                               
before he retired  from the university so he knows  it is a long,                                                               
involved process,  but all the  questions and concerns  should be                                                               
answered at the end of the process.                                                                                             
CHAIR STEVENS  said, "Again, something  went terribly  wrong. The                                                               
president  of the  university, who  I have  the greatest  respect                                                               
for--I'm so glad he's there  during these tough financial times--                                                               
yet he did not know of  the jeopardy the university faced because                                                               
of that accreditation  study. The Board of Regents  did not know.                                                               
Mr. Baker,  it is a  terrible situation.  We're not going  to run                                                               
the university.  We don't want  to do that,  but we want  to know                                                               
what's going  on. We want to  know why the university,  the Board                                                               
of Regents,  the president, the  entire administration,  were not                                                               
monitoring  that process  or not  responding to  it. If  they had                                                               
known   about  it,   I  assume   there  would   have  been   some                                                               
CHAIR STEVENS continued,                                                                                                        
     I'm a little  annoyed as a citizen, as  a senator, that                                                                    
     that  this occurred.  And it  can't  happen again.  All                                                                    
     we're  asking in  this bill  is for  the university  to                                                                    
     monitor the situation,  to let us know,  and you should                                                                    
     already be doing  that. And I keep  hearing people say,                                                                    
     'Hey, we're  doing that. Why  would you have  this bill                                                                    
     because we're  doing it.' But  you're not doing  it. It                                                                    
     fell apart. Somebody  was asleep at the  switch. It's a                                                                    
     terrible  black eye  on the  university  and we  simply                                                                    
     cannot have  this happen in  future. I mean,  are there                                                                    
     other areas that are in  jeopardy in the university for                                                                    
     loss of  accreditations. I'm sorry. I'm  just not happy                                                                    
     with this at all. I  think it's a terrible situation to                                                                    
     be  in.  I'm  ashamed.  I  know you  are.  I  know  the                                                                    
     university  president is  ashamed  that this  happened.                                                                    
     All we're  saying, for heaven's  sake, is  monitor this                                                                    
     and let us know what is going on.                                                                                          
9:12:10 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES said  she shared his frustration.  The fiscal note                                                               
states that the internal processes  already exist and the reports                                                               
are  happening annually  to the  board,  but Mr.  Baker said  the                                                               
Board of Regents will be  revisiting that policy. She assumed the                                                               
board would be  considering whether to increase  the frequency of                                                               
checking in  on that type of  thing. She would hope  that any red                                                               
flags would be reported to  the Board of Regents immediately. The                                                               
legislature  would  not hear  as  soon  as  the board,  but  that                                                               
information would be included in the  report to them. The idea of                                                               
the   bill   is   that    having   some   oversight   establishes                                                               
accountability. She  asked whether the legislature  would receive                                                               
the report every two years.                                                                                                     
CHAIR STEVENS answered twice a year.                                                                                            
SENATOR HUGHES said that would help.                                                                                            
9:13:52 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH  said  when  the  committee  first  talked  about                                                               
accreditation, he put  a conflict of interest on  the record, but                                                               
after checking with ethics, he found  he does not have a conflict                                                               
of interest with this bill.                                                                                                     
CHAIR STEVENS  said that is an  issue these days with  changes in                                                               
law. He  has no conflict.  He last  worked for the  university 20                                                               
years  ago  and  retired  as  a tenured  professor  and  has  not                                                               
received any renumeration from the university for 20 years.                                                                     
MR. BAKER  said as currently  drafted the bill would  require the                                                               
report at the  start of each legislature, so every  two years. He                                                               
clarified  that the  university  does not  review every  academic                                                               
program every year. Most of  the institutions are doing five-year                                                               
reviews, but  the status  of those program  reviews and  how they                                                               
relate  to accreditation  are reported  to the  Board of  Regents                                                               
every  fall.  UA  has  an  internal  process  for  compiling  and                                                               
reporting that information  to the Board of  Regents, but regents                                                               
would share  Senator Stevens' concern  that the reports  have not                                                               
been adequate  to keep the  regents informed. UA will  be working                                                               
on that internally.                                                                                                             
9:15:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS opened  public  testimony  and after  ascertaining                                                               
there was none, closed public testimony.                                                                                        
SENATOR HUGHES asked if the intention  is to change the report to                                                               
twice a year.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR STEVENS said he thought twice a year would be best.                                                                     
SENATOR HUGHES agreed.                                                                                                          
SENATOR BEGICH  asked if his  intent was to change  the reporting                                                               
from  biennial to  biannual and  to get  an update  on a  regular                                                               
basis. He agreed that twice a year would be better.                                                                             
9:16:57 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS answered that that is  the intention. He held SB 53                                                               
in committee.                                                                                                                   
9:17:12 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
^Presentation: The Power of University Research                                                                                 
         Presentation: The Power of University Research                                                                     
9:17:18 AM                                                                                                                    
Chair  Stevens   announced  the  Power  of   University  Research                                                               
9:19:42 AM                                                                                                                    
LARRY HINZMAN,  Ph.D., Vice  Chancellor for  Research, University                                                               
of  Alaska  Fairbanks  (UAF), Fairbanks,  and  Mark  Billingsley,                                                               
Director,  Intellectual  Property  and Contracts,  University  of                                                               
Alaska   Fairbanks    (UAF),   Fairbanks,    Alaska,   introduced                                                               
DR.  HINZMAN said  that  the  University of  Alaska  (UA) has  an                                                               
unexcelled reputation  for Arctic  research. They do  more Arctic                                                               
publications, more  research, than  any other institution  in the                                                               
world. In the  last eight years UA has generated  over $1 billion                                                               
in research benefits  to the state of Alaska. They  take on a lot                                                               
of pragmatic  research that  pays off  in economic  diversity for                                                               
the state.                                                                                                                      
DR. HINZMAN displayed a slide  showing return on investment. Last                                                               
year,  for every  dollar received  from the  state, UA  generated                                                               
$6.3  from external  resources.  People think  that removing  one                                                               
dollar from the  state, will leave $5 to do  other research work,                                                               
but that  is not  the way it  works. University  personnel cannot                                                               
write proposals using federal money.  It is necessary to have the                                                               
one dollar to  generate the $6. If the university  loses that one                                                               
dollar,  they  lose the  $6.  The  money  does  not come  to  the                                                               
university;  they must  go after  the  funds. The  one dollar  in                                                               
state  support  is  critical to  maintain  this  strong  research                                                               
program the university has built over the years.                                                                                
DR. HINZMAN reviewed the benefits of research:                                                                                  
        • In 2018, UA brought in $141 million in external                                                                       
          research expenditures                                                                                                 
        • $23 million in state research funding multiplied by 6                                                                 
        • $90 million direct wages and salaries; 1250 direct                                                                    
        • Another $27 million indirect income, 350 jobs from                                                                    
          multiplier effects of direct employment                                                                               
        • $70 million in purchases, contracted services, travel,                                                                
          student aid and equipment                                                                                             
DR.  HINZMAN said  most of  the $70  million in  the last  bullet                                                               
point is spent in Alaska.                                                                                                       
DR. HINZMAN  said apart  from the economics,  there are  also the                                                               
pragmatic effects and value to the state:                                                                                       
        • Research opportunities attract outstanding faculty                                                                    
        • Research integral to curriculum that reflects up-to-                                                                  
          date knowledge                                                                                                        
        • Undergraduate and graduate student involved in                                                                        
        • Quality of UA research institutions attracts out-of-                                                                  
          state students and retains Alaskan students                                                                           
        • Builds a pipeline of outstanding students who become                                                                  
          employees of Alaska businesses                                                                                        
DR.  HINZMAN  said students  are  also  drawn to  the  university                                                               
because of  research. Eighty  percent of  those students  stay in                                                               
the  state. It  is  an important  attraction  for some  wonderful                                                               
people. Most  graduate students and  40 percent  of undergraduate                                                               
students are involved in research.                                                                                              
DR. HINZMAN  said instruction, mentoring, research,  and outreach                                                               
are all wrapped together. It  benefits the state, the nation, and                                                               
students, all of which has lasting value to the state.                                                                          
DR.  HINZMAN  reviewed  BLaST: Biomedical  Learning  and  Student                                                               
Training,  a   $23  million  project   funded  by   the  National                                                               
Institutes of  Health (NIH).  The purpose is  to bring  rural and                                                               
Alaska Native  students into health professions.  It received one                                                               
of the  highest rankings from  the NIH  and was just  renewed for                                                               
another  five  years. NIH  is  using  it  as  a model  for  other                                                               
DR. HINZMAN  said UA research  makes communities  healthier. They                                                               
have done  a lot  of work with  respect to  wildlife populations.                                                               
They  have also  done  a  lot of  work  regarding mental  health,                                                               
suicide  prevention, and  opioid addiction.  Alaska is  unique in                                                               
solutions that must be applied.  A lot of techniques developed in                                                               
the  lower 48  for suicide  prevention are  counterproductive. UA                                                               
solutions   are   numerically   effective.   UA   will   continue                                                               
researching suicide prevention and opioid addiction.                                                                            
9:26:09 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  HINZMAN  said  UA  has   been  working  on  the  One  Health                                                               
initiative for five years. The concept  is that the health of the                                                               
people  depends  on  the  health of  the  environment,  which  is                                                               
dependent on the  health of the animals. Urban  and rural society                                                               
are tied  to nature.  The health of  the environment  does affect                                                               
the  health of  the people.  Things  such as  a rabies,  zoonotic                                                               
diseases,  brucellosis and  other environmental  factors such  as                                                               
mercury toxicity  have an  impact on  Alaska's population.  It is                                                               
all wrapped  together. The  university has  taken a  national and                                                               
international lead on this.                                                                                                     
DR.  HINZMAN  reviewed  the  work  of  the  Pollock  Conservation                                                               
Cooperative Research  Center. The  seafood industry  is investing                                                               
in UA research to improve the  quality of their product, make the                                                               
work they  do safer, and  get a  higher return on  investment. He                                                               
noted that the  foregoing three programs bring  in about $300,000                                                               
a year for research.                                                                                                            
DR. HINZMAN  said the  Wilson Alaska  Technical Center  (WATC) at                                                               
the  University   of  Alaska  Fairbanks   (UAF)  just   became  a                                                               
Department  of  Defense   (DoD)  University  Affiliated  Research                                                               
Center. Seventeen of  these centers are under the  Navy, Army, or                                                               
the Air  Force, but the  Wilson Center  is the only  one strictly                                                               
under DoD, so they can take  on any project under DoD. Since 2008                                                               
the  center  has  focused   on  monitoring  above-ground  nuclear                                                               
detonations.  Being  a   University  Affiliated  Research  Center                                                               
(UARC)  opens doors  for a  lot of  other DoD  research. Everyone                                                               
working in the Wilson Center  has national security clearance. He                                                               
noted that  some of  their students have  gotten jobs  with high-                                                               
level  national  security  defense  agencies.  This  facility  is                                                               
having a real impact on the state and nation.                                                                                   
DR. HINZMAN  noted that  State Seismologist  Michael West  gave a                                                               
presentation on the Alaska Earthquake  Center a few weeks ago. He                                                               
said the  Center is  trying to expand  the network  of monitoring                                                               
stations in the central and  northern part of the state primarily                                                               
for an early warning system. Even  a warning of a few seconds can                                                               
be  used to  shut  down  the pipeline,  trains,  and natural  gas                                                               
facilities. They  can achieve  this. It is  the system  in Japan,                                                               
and it ought  to be in Alaska  to make the state  safer. They are                                                               
pushing  to get  more  funding for  the  USArray. The  Earthquake                                                               
Center is  working with United  States Geological Survey  and the                                                               
National Science  Foundation to  continue funding  those stations                                                               
for the next five years.                                                                                                        
DR.  HINZMAN  said  that  UA  has been  doing  research  for  the                                                               
military  with the  U.S.  Navy ICEX  ice camp.  For  the past  20                                                               
years, the  Navy has been  using the University of  Washington to                                                               
provide information  about the safety  and security of  their ice                                                               
camps. Last  year a disaster  occurred when  the ice broke  up. A                                                               
lot of equipment  was lost and people had to  be evacuated during                                                               
the emergency.  Now the Navy has  come back to UA,  which has the                                                               
world's  expertise in  ice  forecasting. He  said  he hopes  this                                                               
continues for a  long time. UA is  doing a lot not  only with ice                                                               
forecasting  but  ice  concentrations for  navigation  and  other                                                               
processes, such as weather predictions.                                                                                         
SENATOR BIRCH  said this is great  news and great work.  He noted                                                               
that Alaska's senior U.S. senator  mentioned that construction of                                                               
an ice breaker might  be in the works. He asked  if UA is engaged                                                               
in those efforts.                                                                                                               
DR.  HINZMAN  replied absolutely.  UA  has  advocated for  a  new                                                               
icebreaker  for  at  least  30 years  and  participated  in  many                                                               
workshops to  design the characteristics  of a new  icebreaker. A                                                               
new  icebreaker would  be  a  Coast Guard  asset,  but they  want                                                               
scientific capabilities to  be part of it also.  It is critically                                                               
important for  so many aspects  of Alaska. He mentioned  the need                                                               
to use  a Russian icebreaker  when Nome had  a fuel crisis  a few                                                               
years ago. There  is increasing activity in the  Arctic with very                                                               
few rescue capabilities.                                                                                                        
SENATOR HUGHES said  UA's research on unmanned  aircraft was part                                                               
of  the  effort  to  bring  fuel to  Nome;  a  drone  guided  the                                                               
icebreaker to port.                                                                                                             
DR.  HINZMAN  said  that  ACUASI,   Alaska  Center  for  Unmanned                                                               
Aircraft Systems  Integration, has over  200 drones. They  can do                                                               
remarkable work with wildlife population  surveys and mapping out                                                               
ice leads.  Most unmanned aerial  vehicles cannot fly out  of the                                                               
line of  sight of the operator.  ACUASI is one of  the few places                                                               
with permission  from the Federal  Aviation Administration  to do                                                               
this. He called that a tremendous coup for the center.                                                                          
9:35:26 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES said ACUASI was also  the first in the nation with                                                               
permission to  fly in the  approach area  of an airport,  in this                                                               
case the Deadhorse Airport.                                                                                                     
DR. HINZMAN said ACUASI is a leader for the nation.                                                                             
DR. HINZMAN  reviewed the Arctic Domain  Awareness Center, housed                                                               
at the University of Alaska  Anchorage. The only customer for the                                                               
center is  the Coast  Guard. It  is funded  by the  Department of                                                               
Homeland Security to  make Coast Guard operations  safer and more                                                               
effective  and efficient.  Every  project must  be something  the                                                               
Coast  Guard  values,  needs,  and   wants  to  be  part  of  its                                                               
operations. It is  renewed annually. He showed an  image from the                                                               
work of using underwater drones to map oil spill plumes.                                                                        
DR. HINZMAN said the Alaska  Satellite Facility (ASF) is an asset                                                               
for the nation.  Most days of the year, the  facility receives at                                                               
least 60  percent of NASA's  data. ASF is  trying to put  up more                                                               
satellite  dishes at  Oliktok  Point on  the  North Slope,  which                                                               
would increase the polar orbiting  satellites they could observe.                                                               
The  facility has  done a  wide range  of research  projects. ASF                                                               
wants  to put  up  an  army of  CubeSats  to  detect ships  going                                                               
through the  Arctic Ocean that are  not broadcasting transmitting                                                               
signals.  Then  they  could  detect those  ships  and  track  and                                                               
monitor  all vessel  traffic throughout  the world.  It could  be                                                               
used for tracking drug smugglers or other nefarious vessels.                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS said  the CubeSats,  the small  satellites, are  a                                                               
major technological  innovation. He  understands that  the Kodiak                                                               
rocket launch facility can launch up to 50 at a time.                                                                           
DR.  HINZMAN  responded that  UA  has  the only  university-owned                                                               
rocket  launch  facility  in  the  world.  It  is  becoming  more                                                               
important to  DoD and  other agencies because  they have  a large                                                               
area  where the  launch vehicle  can land  and be  recovered. The                                                               
White Sands  facility can only  recover launch vehicles  over 100                                                               
miles. ASF can  recover them over 600 miles, so  DoD is utilizing                                                               
the facility more.                                                                                                              
DR. HINZMAN said UA is doing  work across the state with economic                                                               
geology.  They are  helping to  enhance recovery  of gold,  zinc,                                                               
coal,  silver,  and  more.  They   are  trying  to  increase  the                                                               
resources  used   for  geothermal  and  looking   at  rare  earth                                                               
minerals. They  are trying to  enhance the  resource capabilities                                                               
of the  state. The mining industry  values the work they  do, and                                                               
the university is being responsive to their needs.                                                                              
DR.  HINZMAN  said  UA  is  using dense  polymer  in  a  flooding                                                               
experiment  to enhance  the recovery  of heavy  oil. The  work is                                                               
funded   by  the   National  Energy   Technology  Laboratory   in                                                               
partnership with Hilcorp and BP.                                                                                                
DR.  HINZMAN introduced  Mark Billingsley,  who  is a  mechanical                                                               
engineer  and the  only licensed,  practicing patent  attorney in                                                               
the state.                                                                                                                      
9:41:30 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BILLINGSLEY,  Director, Intellectual Property  and Contracts,                                                               
University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF),  Fairbanks, Alaska said the                                                               
core  work of  the  office is  identifying intellectual  property                                                               
that is a  result of university research,  protecting it, getting                                                               
it licensed, and getting it out  into the public for the public's                                                               
benefit. He  said turning research  into reality  benefits Alaska                                                               
in a number  of ways. The plan  is to bring in  problems from the                                                               
community, solve them, and give the solution to the community.                                                                  
MR.  BILLINGSLEY noted  a Senate  resolution  last year  declared                                                               
2019  the  year  of  innovation. He  reviewed  some  examples  of                                                               
research  in  the  process  of being  commercialized.  One  is  a                                                               
project to  use mushrooms for microremediation  of diesel spills.                                                               
If there  is a diesel  spill in  a village in  Alaska, techniques                                                               
used  down south  are  not feasible.  The  Kodiak Marine  Science                                                               
Fisheries Center  has been working with  the Pollock Conservation                                                               
Research  Center  to  find  uses  for  fish  waste  from  pollock                                                               
processing.  One  potential  use  is  making  dog  food.  Another                                                               
project  is  to  find  a  remote,  noninvasive  wireless  way  of                                                               
measuring blood  oxygenation in  lab mice.  This is  essential in                                                               
research regarding strokes and heart attacks.                                                                                   
MR. BILLINGSLEY  reviewed a  graphic showing  Alaska's innovation                                                               
pipeline.   The university cannot  do basic and  applied research                                                               
in a  vacuum. They are  working with  people across the  state to                                                               
build an ecosystem.  It must grow if they want  to be competitive                                                               
with the  lower 48.  Their core  work is  protecting intellectual                                                               
property  and licensing  it, but  they  are trying  to work  with                                                               
partners across  the state. They  have a number  of complementary                                                               
programs. The  federal government has shown  interest in building                                                               
economic and energy resiliency in Alaska.                                                                                       
MR.  BILLINGSLEY  reviewed  how   UA  feeds  Alaska's  innovation                                                               
        1. Direct licenses to existing companies for UA-developed                                                               
          IP (Intellectual Property)                                                                                            
        2. Forming spin-off companies to commercialize UA-                                                                      
          developed IP                                                                                                          
        3. Working with industry to develop new ideas and                                                                       
        4. Supporting   student    innovation   to    build    an                                                               
          entrepreneurial workforce for tomorrow                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS said  that  in order  to  continue innovation,  he                                                               
assumes there must be some sharing of the rewards.                                                                              
MR. BILLINGSLEY answered yes, that is  set up by Board of Regents                                                               
policy. The first $10,000 and  50 percent thereafter that come to                                                               
the  university is  returned to  the inventors.  All universities                                                               
have their own  policies, but it is usually in  that range. A lot                                                               
of academics  just want to see  their work get out  into the real                                                               
world. Hopefully  some will make  money, and others will  want to                                                               
pursue commercialization of their research.                                                                                     
MR. BILLINGSLEY  said V-ADAPT, Inc.,  was the  university's first                                                               
big   startup  in   2013.  Eighteen   researchers  developed   32                                                               
technologies.  V-ADAPT  is  a  suite  of  technologies  to  track                                                               
volcano ash  clouds. The market  applicability is  commercial air                                                               
traffic, among  other things. It was  a product of many  years of                                                               
research  with  funding  from  the Air  Force.  This  summer  the                                                               
university will offer its first  class of Hacking for Defense. It                                                               
started at Stanford,  and a dozen schools around  the country are                                                               
offering this  course. The military  procures problems  and gives                                                               
them  to  schools  so  that   students  can  work  on  real-world                                                               
problems. The  university wants to  procure problems  from within                                                               
the state  because of the  large military presence in  Alaska and                                                               
to take advantage of Arctic research.                                                                                           
9:53:03 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BIRCH  said he was  intrigued by V-ADAPT, as  everyone in                                                               
Alaska who flies should be as well. He asked how it works.                                                                      
DR.  HINZMAN said  it  is based  on both  seismic  models of  the                                                               
volcano and weather  models to simulate the  plume movements. The                                                               
chemical characteristics  of the plume  are just as  important as                                                               
its  position.  Various components  went  together  to make  this                                                               
happen. It is a complex, physical problem.                                                                                      
9:54:32 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO asked if there is  any way to involve middle and                                                               
high school students in the  model of solving real-world problems                                                               
that the military  is starting to do. She opined  that age is not                                                               
a barrier to ideas and innovation.                                                                                              
MR.  BILLINGSLEY  said  innovation  education  absolutely  starts                                                               
early. It's a  mindset. The Hacking for Defense  ("Hacking") is a                                                               
well-established program  that is  openminded. Since  the program                                                               
is  in the  early  stages  of being  spread  across the  country,                                                               
Hacking is welcoming new things  because it needs to permeate and                                                               
be  successful. Some  of  that involves  getting  the support  of                                                               
state  legislatures.  He said  he  would  take  the idea  to  the                                                               
faculty member leading this effort.                                                                                             
SENATOR  COSTELLO  mentioned  that   a  small  country  that  has                                                               
afterschool, intergenerational clubs is the  best in the world as                                                               
far as  innovation and new ideas.  She said she is  interested in                                                               
ways  to  bring generations  together  in  Alaska. She  described                                                               
young  people  as  natural  innovators,  pointing  to  the  ideas                                                               
generated  by  elementary  school  Lego Leagues.  She  asked  how                                                               
involved and costly the process is to patent an idea.                                                                           
MR.  BILLINGSLEY said  he cannot  give legal  advice except  to a                                                               
client,  but  he  does  talk  to people  who  come  in  from  the                                                               
community. Patent search firms shouldn't  charge more than $1,750                                                               
to  get  80-85  percent  of  the answer  with  a  high  level  of                                                               
confidence.  The  last 15  percent  is  dealing with  the  patent                                                               
examiner on  the grey areas in  the law and the  reasons they may                                                               
reject the claims.                                                                                                              
SENATOR COSTELLO mentioned that she  is the government cochair of                                                               
the Pacific  NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER)  Foundation, which                                                               
has an  innovation working group. One  of the goals is  to have a                                                               
national  lab of  the Arctic  named in  Alaska. She  said it's  a                                                               
natural   fit   because   the  university   already   has   these                                                               
relationships. She  asked if the  university would  be interested                                                               
in pursuing that.                                                                                                               
10:00:37 AM                                                                                                                   
DR. HINZMAN answered  that UA has been working on  many fronts in                                                               
that regard.  They hosted  a National  Lab Day  last May  and has                                                               
been collaborating closely with  national labs across the nation.                                                               
For a  while the  university tried hard  to establish  a national                                                               
lab in  Alaska, but other  national labs were resistant  to that.                                                               
But  a lot  can be  accomplished through  collaboration with  the                                                               
other national labs. The university  is also doing things such as                                                               
trying to create Arctic Centers  of Excellence. The Arctic Domain                                                               
Awareness Center, which  is funded by the  Department of Homeland                                                               
Security,  is  one  of  those  centers  of  excellence.  Work  is                                                               
underway  to  expand  that  to   an  Arctic  Maritime  Center  of                                                               
Excellence. UA  is also working with  the DoD to create  a Center                                                               
of Excellence for Arctic Research.                                                                                              
SENATOR  COSTELLO  said  another  goal   this  group  has  is  to                                                               
declassify  DoD information  when  it's appropriate  and make  it                                                               
available   to  the   general   public   for  entrepreneurs   and                                                               
innovators. She asked if he had heard of that.                                                                                  
DR.  HINZMAN  answered that  UA  has  had great  success  getting                                                               
access  to classified  imagery of  sea ice  with incredibly  high                                                               
resolution. It  doesn't necessarily have a  military application,                                                               
but it  us useful to  do the  dynamics of lead  propagation. They                                                               
have  been   more  successful  on   the  marine  side   than  the                                                               
terrestrial side, but they are still pushing for that.                                                                          
SENATOR  HUGHES  said Dr.  Helena  Wisniewski,  who is  with  the                                                               
University of  Alaska Anchorage,  established the  Alaska chapter                                                               
of  the  National Academy  of  Inventors.  She  asked if  he  had                                                               
thought of  starting a  chapter in  Fairbanks to  inspire faculty                                                               
and students. Since  2019 is the year of  innovation, they should                                                               
get  the word  out about  the  exciting things  happening at  the                                                               
universities.  She also  asked  if he  was  doing anything  about                                                               
public awareness.                                                                                                               
MR. BILLINGSLEY replied  that UAF has limited staff  but is doing                                                               
what it  can. They look at  this as a grassroots  effort and urge                                                               
legislators  to  encourage their  constituents.  UAF  has a  good                                                               
relationship with  Dr. Helena Wizinksi  and Dr. Kamberov,  who is                                                               
leading that effort now.                                                                                                        
DR. HINZMAN said he agrees  with everything Senator Costello said                                                               
about  intergenerational engagement.  Students can  capture this,                                                               
but they must be exposed.                                                                                                       
10:10:35 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  BILLINGSLEY  presented  information  on  the  grid  bridging                                                               
system, which  addresses issues using multiple  sources of power.                                                               
Alaska Village Electric Cooperative  (AVEC) has been working with                                                               
the   Alaska   Center  on   Energy   and   Power  to   create   a                                                               
hardware/software  set   that  can   be  used   as  off-the-shelf                                                               
technology.  AVEC came  to the  university about  this consistent                                                               
problem. A  field demonstration  is being  launched this  fall in                                                               
St. Mary's.  It is an  example of procuring challenges  in Alaska                                                               
by  going to  communities  and companies  and  asking what  their                                                               
problems are and how the university can help.                                                                                   
SENATOR  BEGICH  said his  office  has  been working  with  small                                                               
communities to develop long-term battery  storage. The big nut to                                                               
crack has  been how to  take a small  utility and retrofit  it to                                                               
take  in different  levels  and  types of  energy.  He asked  for                                                               
information about the system be provided to his office.                                                                         
SENATOR COSTELLO  asked if he  could share the list  of community                                                               
problems with the committee.                                                                                                    
MR.  BILLINGSLEY  replied  that  he would  and  that  the  Alaska                                                               
Community Challenge could also be found online.                                                                                 
MR.  BILLINGSLEY  said  the  innovation   pipeline  needs  to  be                                                               
supported from  early stage  research to  commercialization. They                                                               
have partnered with Wells Fargo and  the 49th State Angel Fund in                                                               
Anchorage  to  deploy  prototype  funding.  It  just  rolled  out                                                               
yesterday and applications are due April 14.                                                                                    
MR.  BILLINGSLEY  said  NemaMetrix  is an  example  of  licensing                                                               
technology  in  the  lower  48.  C. elegans  is  a  common  model                                                               
organism used  to test  drugs. There  is a  whole industry  on c.                                                               
elegans nematodes. University of  Alaska Fairbanks researchers, a                                                               
graduate student and  an undergraduate, came up with  a cheap way                                                               
to sort c. elegans. They were able  to license it to a company in                                                               
SENATOR BIRCH asked how it works.                                                                                               
MR. BILLINGSLEY  answered that it is  a process that uses  a type                                                               
of filter  that catches or does  not catch the organism  based on                                                               
10:15:42 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  BILLINGSLEY  recounted  the  story of  Coupi.  A  researcher                                                               
worked for DoD  in Fairbanks and then worked  for the university.                                                               
He needed  a tool  to model  how items  interact at  the granular                                                               
level. He modeled tire traction on  the Mars Rover before it went                                                               
to Mars. He  built a piece of software  simulating interaction at                                                               
the granular level  by working on multiple  research projects. He                                                               
retired  and  licensed the  technology  from  the university.  It                                                               
returns some  revenue to the  university and created  a high-tech                                                               
company  in  Alaska.  It  is   located  at  the  UAF  Center  for                                                               
Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship.                                                                             
CHAIR  STEVENS  asked where  the  money  generated from  research                                                               
MR. BILLINGSLEY answered that Board  of Regents policy determines                                                               
what percentage goes to the  inventor. An internal memo addresses                                                               
distribution after  the first $10,000 and  50 percent thereafter.                                                               
A large percentage  goes to the researcher's  department in order                                                               
to  encourage the  department to  continue thinking  innovatively                                                               
and entrepreneurially.  Some of the  money goes to the  office of                                                               
the Vice Chancellor for Research.                                                                                               
10:18:03 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  BEGICH said  earlier in  the  presentation he  mentioned                                                               
that suicide techniques from the  lower 48 are not very effective                                                               
in  Alaska. He  is on  the Suicide  Prevention Council  and would                                                               
like to  see that research.  He also noted  that the peak  of the                                                               
economic crisis in 2014 led  to substantial cuts. He wondered how                                                               
their capacity for innovation has been affected.                                                                                
DR. HINZMAN  responded that the  suicide research is  very recent                                                               
work.  Stacy Rasmus,  Director of  the Center  for Alaska  Native                                                               
Health Research,  found that approaching  a community  asking why                                                               
the suicide rate  is high is counterproductive.  The approach now                                                               
is to  tell the community it  is a strong  and ask how it  can be                                                               
made  stronger.   This  has  been  surprisingly   effective.  The                                                               
project, called  the American  Indian-Alaska Native  Clinical and                                                               
Translational  Health Research,  is in  partnership with  Montana                                                               
State University.  He offered  to put  Senator Begich  in contact                                                               
with Ms. Rasmus.                                                                                                                
DR. HINZMAN  said the cuts have  had an effect. In  the last five                                                               
years, the  university has lost  1,200 people. He showed  a slide                                                               
on  UA research  return on  investment. He  noted it  is hard  to                                                               
track research activity  from the funds coming  in because grants                                                               
are for various periods of time.  It is easier to report how much                                                               
is spent each year on research  activity. The amount spent in one                                                               
year  depends on  the success  of previous  years. He  noted that                                                               
losing 1,200 people has an impact.                                                                                              
SENATOR BEGICH said the graph shows  peaks in Fiscal Years 17 and                                                               
18. He asked if that number would  go down in the next few years,                                                               
if there is  the capacity to keep  those numbers up, or  if it is                                                               
the  legislature's  responsibility  to   make  sure  he  has  the                                                               
capacity to keep those numbers up.                                                                                              
DR.  HINZMAN said  the  university has  been  scrambling to  keep                                                               
those  numbers  up. The  research  institutes  have cars  in  the                                                               
parking lots at three in  the morning because people are working.                                                               
Losing a lot of faculty and  staff is tough. They have invested a                                                               
lot  of their  resources in  training  people how  to write  good                                                               
proposals so  they will  be successful.  They have  put a  lot of                                                               
effort into  external reviews.  That training  pays off  over the                                                               
years. Their success rates have gone  up. In the short term there                                                               
are  payoffs   for  that  training,   but  there   are  long-term                                                               
repercussions from working people at this intense rate.                                                                         
CHAIR STEVENS expressed appreciation  and admiration for what the                                                               
presenters are doing.                                                                                                           
10:23:58 AM                                                                                                                   
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Stevens  adjourned the Senate Education  Standing Committee                                                               
at 10:23 a.m.                                                                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB053_UnivAK_AccreditReporting_BillText_VersionA.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB053_UA_Accred_Reporting_SponsorStatement_20Feb2019.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB053_UnivAK_AccreditReporting_FiscalNote01_UnivAK_16Feb2019.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB053_UnivAK_AccreditReporting_Research_CAEP_RevocationLetter_11JAN2019.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB053_UnivAK_AccreditReporting_Research_CAEP Report_Dec2018.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB053_UnivAK_AccreditReporting_Research_BOR Policy_April2014.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB053_UnivAK_AccreditReporting_Research_Existing UA Accred Summary_21Feb2019.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SEDC_Presentation_Power Of Research_ 21FEB2019.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SEDC Presentation - Univ AK - Power of Research - Feb 21, 2019