U fund would plug hole if grant money dropsby Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — University of Minnesota researchers will be able to tap a new pot of money to support their projects if they lose some of their federal grant funding.
The university says it is creating a bridge funding program for its researchers in response to sequestration cuts. The U of M estimates that automatic government spending cuts could eliminate $30 million to $40 million from the U's research budget between now and Sept. 30.
Brian Herman, vice president for research, said the university wants to make sure that none of its researchers have to shut down their work because they ran out of federal money.
"It may not be the same amount of funding that they had originally, or it may be a supplement if they've lost some funding," Herman said. "But the university has resources available that it can mobilize to help maintain the faculty through this current fiscal year."
Herman added: "It's a bit hard to say exactly how much money will be made available. I think the message is that the university realizes the importance of this activity to its mission. It's a high enough priority that the institution wants to do whatever it can to support the excellent research that goes on here."
Federal officials have promised to provide more information on how they will fund research projects within the next week or two, Herman said.