March 19, 2015

Sen. Durbin supports research funding increase

SIU President Randy J. Dunn was among a group of university leaders from Illinois present on March 16 in Chicago when U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin called for a funding increase in basic scientific research. 

Dunn, Kyle Plunkett, an assistant professor in chemistry and biochemistry, and Eric Chitambar, an assistant professor in physics, represented the university during the news conference in Chicago. Durbin is proposing a $100 billion boost in research funding with legislation he plans to introduce to lift federal budget caps, according to reports. The funds would go to the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy Office of Science, the Department of Defense Science and Technology Programs, the NASA Science Directorate, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology Scientific and Technical Research. 

While there, Durbin received the Science Coalition’s “Champion of Science” Award. The award is for his commitment to “funding the basic research that keeps the United States and the state of Illinois at the forefront of scientific and medical discovery and technical innovation.” SIU, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago and Northern Illinois University are coalition members. 

“Senator Dick Durbin has built a legacy that encompasses so many issues and his unwavering support of scientific study and funding federal research is an important component of his record of service,” Dunn said. “And just as those of us in higher education work constantly to find new methods, processes or cures, Senator Durbin has never rested on his previous accomplishments, but continually looks for new opportunities to improve the lives of those he represents.”