Convergence Center For Policy Resolution

Leadership Council

Matt Owens

Matt Owens is president of COGR – a membership organization of over 200 research universities, affiliated medical centers, and independent research institutes.  

 COGR is an association of over 200 public and private U.S. research universities and affiliated academic medical centers and research institutes.  COGR is a national authority on the financial and regulatory infrastructure and the corresponding compliance requirements associated with managing federal research grants and contracts within research institutions. COGR focuses on the impact of federal regulations, policies, and practices on the performance of research conducted at its member institutions, and it advocates for innovation and change to foster a robust partnership between research institutions and the federal government in which regulations are sound, efficient, and effective and avoid unnecessary barriers and burdens to conducting research essential to the nation’s health, security, and prosperity.  Owens became COGR’s president in March 2023. 

From 2002-2023, Owens served at the Association of American Universities (AAU) in several positions. He twice served as Interim President (2016, 2020). From 2018-2023, he was AAU’s Executive Vice President & Vice President for Federal Relations. In these roles he provided strategic leadership and management to the association’s priorities and oversaw AAU’s federal relations activities. His primary issue responsibility was federal budget and appropriations policy and advocacy, and he twice testified before Congress on budget process reform. During his tenure he staffed the AAU board of directors and membership committee, as well as the association’s chief academic officers, senior research officers, federal relations, and graduate deans constituent groups.  

While at AAU, he led the association’s efforts in higher education policy and advocacy, including the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act from 2002-2008, as well as AAU’s response to post-September 11, 2001 immigration and visa policies and procedures affecting international students and researchers. From 2003-2007 Owens served on the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Committee for the Study of Eastern Europe and the Independent States of the Former Soviet Union.  He also served on the Group of Advisors to the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Security Education Program from 2002-2006.   

Prior to his AAU service, Owens was the Assistant Director of Government and Community Relations at Stanford University from 1992-2002. In this role he worked on federal higher education, research policy, and funding issues, as well as town-gown relations and the university’s land use plans.   

Owens began his professional career in higher education with the AAU in 1994, where he served until 1997 when he left to pursue graduate studies. He also served as an intern for a U.S. Senator and worked in the mortgage industry from 1993-1994. 

Owens earned a Master of Public Administration (1999) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Bachelor of Arts in English (1993) from the University of California at Davis, and an Associate of Arts in English (1991) from Santa Rosa Junior College. 

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