The federal government shutdown will reduce research funding at the University as Emory officials also work to determine its potential effects on financial aid.
School officials, including Vice President of Government Affairs Charles Harman, have been working with the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to determine the precise effects the shutdown will have on Emory and ways these effects can be mitigated, according to an Oct. 3 University press release.
The shutdown will impact Woodruff Health Sciences Center research that receives funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ medical research agency, according to the NIH website.
At both the NIH and its member institutions, the shutdown will slow or stop active research for new treatments and cures for diseases, according to an Oct. 1 AAMC press release.
Though the shutdown will immediately impact research funding, federal student financial aid will not be affected as long as the shutdown ends within the next few weeks, said Barry Toiv, vice president for public affairs at the AAU. The possible future impact on financial aid, however, is currently unclear, Harman said.
Harman and Emory have been working with Toiv and the AAU to determine when larger effects might be felt in regard to financial aid, which should be known later in the week, according to Harman.
Harman said the University has been carefully monitoring the situation in Washington as each day goes by.
“Each day, we come nearer to having to deal with the fact that staff in Washington are not available for consultation, and each day as grant application deadlines come and go, [the shutdown] will have its effect,” Harman said.
Toiv said problems arise with research because new grants will not be given out as long as the situation persists. Researchers will still have access to existing funds but will not be able to talk to their contacts in federal agencies because they are not working due to the shutdown, according to Toiv.
“The larger problem is the concern we all have over the ability of our leaders to govern,” Toiv said.
At risk is the certainty of spending on education and research, which is part of Congress’ discretionary spending that has already been subject to cuts because of the sequester, according to Toiv.
Toiv added that the AAU is concerned about the future of funding, and the AAU hopes the resolution does not result in cuts to education and science spending.
The AAU would like to see a solution in which sustained funding for science and education programs increases due to their crucial nature for the future of the country, Toiv said.
University President James W. Wagner said in the Emory press release that he hopes for a “swift resolution to this situation and will keep the Emory community informed regarding significant developments.”
Emory’s Office of Research Administration has created a blog to provide a central location for research updates during the shutdown, and all current work can continue unless the federal agency has notified Emory to stop, according to the blog.
– By Alyssa Posklensky