MU Research Faces Funding Cut

1 decade 4 months 2 weeks ago Friday, August 03 2007 Aug 3, 2007 Friday, August 03, 2007 9:23:47 PM CDT August 03, 2007 in News
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The Department of Defense pays MU for all kinds of research. Other necessary expenses for the facilities, like utility bills administrative costs, are also paid for by the department.

With the Iraq War costing billions, the Defense Department wants to cut back, and a school like Mizzou will feel the effects.

There are some costs of research that often get overlooked, like the cost of electricity for elevators, lights, and computers within the research facilities. The overhead costs for the MU Life Sciences building tallied up to around $4 million last year.

"Which I can tell you is probably, pretty much, necessary to keep the building and the investigators in it running, so if that were cut in half or even less I think it would become increasingly difficult to do business here," said Jack Shultz, Director of the MU Life Sciences Center.

For every $100,000 of research costs, the overhead costs come to nearly $50,000. The Department of Defense pays researchers for their work and also pays the university to keep them.

The Department of Defense would still pay for this research, but if the proposed budget change goes through, the university would have to contribute $30,000 for every $100,000 it gets in research. The Defense Department would limit overhead costs to 20 percent.

"There's a breaking point though, a point at which the university can no longer keep it's head, fiscally, above the water," said Robert Hall, MU Vice Chancellor of Research.

This cut in grants is only from the Department of Defense, but surprisingly, this department funds research in everything from nanotechnology to breast cancer.

"We all worry that other federal agencies might follow suit," said Shultz.

He thinks this budget debate in Washington is drilling at the core of a much larger problem.

"We need to take a look at how we fundamentally pay for research in the U.S.," said Shultz.

The problem is not unique to Mizzou. All research universities that conduct business with the Defense Department face the same type of cuts.

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