The partial federal government shutdown, which began Dec. 22 and is ongoing, has impacted a number of Vanderbilt operations, bringing the national issue close to home despite the geographic distance from Nashville to the nation’s capital.
Vanderbilt’s Office of Contract and Grant Accounting and Sponsored Research Administration issued a message to the community Jan. 3, announcing the major impacts of the shutdown on their offices. The primary warning in the message was the effect on payments and funding awards from agencies impacted during the shutdown; payments of current awards from agencies like the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will likely be suspended, as will the issuance of new awards, the message noted.
An extended shutdown could impact Vanderbilt directly, as many university projects are funded by federal agencies. For example, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is closed during this time, which could affect projects such as a five-year $500,000 grant for the Wond’ry awarded in 2017. Extended timeline grants, such as this one, are likely to be impacted as the shutdown continues, according to a January article from Inside Higher Ed.
Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos elaborated on the expected impacts of the shutdown in a Jan. 7 column. The message urged lawmakers to find a solution to the current stalemate.
“Regardless of your stance on the issues that brought about the situation, those of us in higher education can agree that a prolonged shutdown poses a threat to our ability to conduct research,” Zeppos said in the column. “The partial shutdown could stall research funding from certain federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, NASA, EPA and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and delay discoveries that benefit Americans and society at large.”
When the Hustler reached out to Vanderbilt communications, they reiterated the published messages.
“Our Federal Relations office remains open and is monitoring the situation in order to keep members of the campus informed about potential impact,” Director of Communications Princine Lewis said.
We will continue to update this article as we learn more about the shutdown and its impacts on funding at Vanderbilt.