Budget Battle Threatened Key Research Funds
One of the most important battles of this year's session of the N.C. General Assembly may have been
missed by most alumni - and by most
citizens of the state. That is a source of concern
because this battle represented a threat to
It is a battle that may need to be fought
again - perhaps in the near future.
What happened requires explanation
because it is fundamental to how a great Lmi-
versity functions when it has important
research activities - activities that enrich and
improve the lives of people all over North
A majority of the members of the N. C.
House of Representatives approved an amend-
ment last summer that would have taken $2.4
million of what are called "overhead receipts"
from Carolina (and $718,000 from N.C. State
University) and redistributed them to ix other
UNC System institutions. It would have been
a classic case of"robbing institution Peter to
pay institution Paul."Thankfully, the N.C.
Senate opposed sLlch a transfer and prevailed
when the budget was approved.
Overhead receipts are funds added to a
grant or contract awarded to faculty members
Tar Heel Network
for work that is being done for the
foundation, corporation or government agency providing the funds. At UNC, t:'Lculty who have
been awarded such research funding are seeking answers to questions critical to our lives.
The range is immense, from treatments for
diseases like Alzheimer's and cancer to, as
Provost Robert N. Shelton wrote in TIle News
& Observer in June,"assessing the most effec-
tive day-care practices and trying to better
understand and improve our environment,
including North Carolina waterways adversely
affected by Hurricane Floyd and otller ongoing threats."
These funds are intended to cover indirect
costs of the work - work space, utilities,
support staff and similar expenses. They help
cover library costs, such as journal subscrip-
tions; they reimburse the costs ofkeeping
records, reporting and sharing knowledge with
others, and complying with laws governing
responsible research practices involving people
and the environment.
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No ve til b e r / 0 e cellI b e r 2001