EIU faculty grants could be affected by shutdown

Analicia Haynes, Editor-in-Chief

Grants for faculty-led research face the possibility of being affected if the government shutdown continues, but as of right now Eastern has not seen an immediate problem.

Robert Chesnut, the director of grants and research for research and sponsored programs, said there really is not a huge emergency on campus so far in regards to faculty grants.

“But obviously we want (the government shutdown) to wrap up as soon as possible,” Chesnut said.

A faculty grant usually starts with a faculty idea, and if they are able to find funding as an opportunity, they write a proposal, and it is submitted in the name of Eastern.

The money comes to Eastern, not to the faculty, but it is distributed to the faculty, Chesnut said.

There are some private foundations that provide grants to faculty-led research, but Chesnut said the federal government is a main source for a lot of grant money.

“Even if money comes from a grant from the state, that money may have originally been federal (money),” Chesnut said.

Though Chesnut said there is not a big emergency with grants on campus, there is one organization that provides grant money that has seen a delay in reimbursements.

The National Science Foundation is going to be slowed down, Chesnut said, because it is not at normal operations and therefore not awarding any money.

This could pose a problem for Eastern.

“The way NSF funding works is we spend our own money up front and then we provide them with receipts,” Chesnut said. “We get the money slightly after we spend it. We’re used to that kind of thing anyway.”

Chesnut said if there is a project ongoing, NSF is not be offering any reimbursements or expenses during the shutdown.

He also said there is a possibility that Eastern would have to wait longer for a reimbursement for money spent on an existing project, but that is not a problem at this time.

In the end, he said the government shutdown might not affect Eastern in the long run if it ends sooner than later.

He said so far he would not say anything has paralyzed grants or the university as a whole, but if the shutdown continues, it could become a problem.

“If the shutdown goes on much longer, the situation could be much more serious,” he said. “We could have people who would lose opportunities for funding and would have to wait an additional year or cycle to start going again.”

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].