Schapiro says federal cuts could affect research, but University will carry on

Mariana Alfaro, Print Managing Editor

During the first of two “Conversations with President Schapiro,” Northwestern’s president said he’s confident about NU’s research future, regardless of potential federal cuts to funding under the Trump administration, according to a University news release.

University President Morton Schapiro spoke Wednesday at NU’s Chicago campus. He was joined at the event by other University administrators, including Provost Dan Linzer and vice president for student affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin. He will hold his second conversation-style event Tuesday at the McCormick Foundation Center on NU’s Evanston campus.

During Wednesday’s talk, Schapiro said Northwestern’s “We Will” fundraising campaign is moving faster than expected, according to the news release.

In his speech, Schapiro said NU gets 28 percent of its annual operating budget from federally sponsored research grants, adding it is a little worrisome to think the White House may cut research funds to the university. However, he said, NU is prepared to deal with potential cuts and has the resources to “carry us through.”

“Am I worried about the future of research? You better believe it,” he said in the news release. “But if you look at the contribution to economic growth and prosperity that comes out of supporting (National Institutes of Health and) similar kinds of institutes, how do you argue against that? So I think that even if we take a look at a tough time for the next year or two, I’m not really worried about the future of research support in this country.”

Linzer, who spoke at the event, also said he remains optimistic and that it would be illogical to cut funding for research “given all the benefits the country sees from investing” in it.

“When local, state and federal governments want to see economic growth, that comes from ideas in research universities that turn into startup companies, that turn into successful new products that existing companies pick up and benefit from,” Linzer said in the release. “And that adds jobs, it adds to the health of our community, it adds to our ability to provide energy, it adds to our national security.”

Administrators at the event also emphasized the University’s commitment to protecting the more than 70 international students, professors and other NU community members who could be impacted by the Trump administration’s travel ban executive orders. According to the news release, Telles-Irvin said administrators have met with students who have been affected by the orders to “make sure they understand” that the University supports them.

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