The Council on Governmental Relations was established in May 1948 when the Central Association of College and University Business Officers formed a committee to represent the five regional associations of college and university business officers.
At that time, the United States government changed from military procurement to investment in academic research. Several insightful business officers recommended that universities explore how the independent governance of academe could be reconciled with increasing federal support. The new committee was expected to develop effective principles for university government contracting, to seek acceptance of general principles in university-government relationships, and also to be a vehicle for innovation and change.
A Washington office was opened in fall 1960. COGR's activities evolved in subsequent years in response to the increasing influence of governmental regulations, policies, and practices. As these rules began to reach beyond the fiscal sector into all areas of policy affecting the performance of research at educational institutions, COGR expanded its technical expertise and broadened its scope of activities. At the same time, COGR narrowed its focus to represent primarily interests of research-intensive universities. Thus, COGR assumed a specialized function compared to the overall mission of the business officers. Since 1979, COGR has included faculty members and research administrators, in addition to business officers on its Board. COGR incorporated as a separate organization in September 1993 and began operating independently on January 1, 1994. Although independent, NACUBO (National Association of College and University Business Officers) and COGR maintain a close relationship. COGR also collaborates with other specialized higher education associations and their respective constituencies.
Today, COGR addresses the unique issues its 150 member universities face as a result of receiving a significant share of the federal funds provided by research contracts and grants. COGR serves these needs by addressing compliance issues associated with the administration of federally sponsored programs for faculty and graduate students. COGR's activities reflect an awareness of the growing interface between federal and private sector funding. A major goal of COGR is the education of federal funding agencies about academic operations and the avoidance of unnecessary regulatory burdens. COGR represents universities collectively, not individually. The positions it takes reflect a consensus of its membership and are believed to be in the general best interest of the research university community.
COGR is an association of research-intensive universities and affiliated medical centers/research institutes. It is a key source of critical information on current and emerging issues for its members, along with agencies and organizations that sponsor research activities.
COGR IS A LEADING ADVOCATE FOR POLICIES THAT SUPPORT:
- the conduct of research at the highest standards;
- sound and informed decision-making on issues critical to the research and higher education community; and
- maximum benefit from investments in research conducted at its member institutions.
COGR SERVES ITS MEMBERSHIP BY:
- seeking to balance appropriate levels of accountability with fair recognition of the interests of all parties in research policies and practices;
- promoting policies and practices in research and training that fairly reflect the mutual interests and separate obligations of universities and federal and other sponsors;
- conducting objective and timely analysis of financial, compliance, administrative and intellectual property issues in research for the benefit of its members, their sponsors and other higher education associations; and
- working with governmental agencies and other organizations to develop a common understanding of the impact that policies, regulations and practices may have on the research of its membership.