Scientific research in Michigan may be affected by ongoing federal shutdown | Michigan Radio
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Scientific research in Michigan may be affected by ongoing federal shutdown

Jan 4, 2019

MSU researcher at work
Credit Danny Ducat

University researchers in Michigan are concerned that if the federal government shutdown drags on, it could affect future scientific projects.

On their first day in the majority, House Democrats passed a plan to re-open the government without funding President Donald Trump's promised border wall.

The largely party-line votes Thursday night came after Trump made a surprise appearance at the White House briefing room, pledging to keep up the fight for his signature campaign promise.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump and Senate Republicans should "take yes for an answer" and approve the border bill, which was virtually identical to a plan the Senate adopted on a voice vote last month. Pelosi told reporters: "We're not doing a wall."

Trump has taken just as firm a stance not to re-open the government unless money is provided for a wall on the border.

Meanwhile, scientific researchers in Michigan are waiting see when the budget impasse will be resolved.  

The University of Michigan spent a billion and a half dollars on scientific research. More than half the funding for that research came from the federal government.

Jack Hu oversees research work at the University of Michigan.  

He says, because of the shutdown, many faculty members are having to wait to submit new research proposals to the National Science Foundation.

“Hopefully after NSF reopens, they will speed up the review process, so that the real impact will not be as significant,” says Hu.

Currently, Michigan State University has approximately 100 grant submissions in various stages of submission.

“Grant submissions are still in effect for all departments, which means MSU can continue working on and submitting grants for new projects,” says MSU spokeswoman Emily Guerrant.

Several federal agencies are exempt from the shutdown. These include the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense, all of which are still providing new research grant funding to Michigan’s universities.