Senate Bill 17, effective January 1, 2024 – Research


As the end of the fall semester approaches, hopefully everyone will soon have the opportunity to catch their breath and look forward to enjoying the holiday season. At the same time, I know the start of the next semester looms large, and you may have questions about impacts associated with recent legislative activity.

Texas A&M remains committed to advancing the research success of all individuals and the research community through ideation, scholarship, new discoveries and inquiry, creativity, expressions, perspectives, and experiences.

As you are aware, the 88th Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 17 (SB 17), which contains certain prohibitions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion at institutions of higher education, effective Jan. 1, 2024. SB17 restrictions do not apply to “scholarly research” or a “creative work” by an institution of higher education’s students, faculty, or other research personnel or the dissemination of that research or work.

However, SB17 does not define scholarly research or creative work. In the absence of these definitions, below are references to System regulations that provide guidance.

System Regulation 15.99.03 Ethics in Research Scholarship and Creative Work, Definitions, ( states that research, scholarship and creative work – includes all basic, applied and demonstration research or creative work in all fields of scholarly inquiry, including science, engineering, mathematics, the humanities, arts, social sciences and professional fields including business and education. System Regulation 15.01.03 Financial Conflict of Interest in Sponsored Research ( states that research or research activities are any systematic investigation, study or experiment designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. The term encompasses basic and applied research, scholarship (e.g., a published article, book, or book chapter) and product development (e.g., a diagnostic test or drug). The term also includes educational activities funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) or proposed for funding by NSF.

As background related to broader impact, Texas A&M is a land-grant institution, established in 1876 through the Morrill Act of 1862. The purpose of land-grant institutions is to open higher education opportunities to everyone, focusing initially on agriculture, mechanics, military tactics, and classical studies. First-generation college students (the first in their families to attend college) have benefited greatly from this assistance. The broader impact expectations from NSF and other federal agencies for providing research funding to universities can be met within this land-grant mission by serving first-generation college students, persons from rural areas, those from disadvantaged backgrounds, historically underserved communities, and individuals with disabilities.

Please continue to share any concerns and/or feedback with your units, leadership, and the Texas A&M research community, as we continue to advance research efforts together.

For additional guidance on SB 17, see:

For additional guidance on the definition of research, see: