Illinois General Assembly’s veto session begins today, and the University of Illinois’ legislative priority is to obtain $15.8 million in funding for the State Scientific Surveys.  These Surveys conduct and apply research that affects all people living in Illinois – research that is conducted at the request of the state.

We urge you to contact your legislators in person, over the phone, and/or through Illinois Connection’s e-advocacy network and urge them to provide this funding during the veto session.

Issue overview:
For over 150 years, the Illinois State Scientific Surveys have applied cutting edge science for the people of Illinois to build their economy, promote public health and safety, and steward their abundant resources.

In 2008, the state realized that the University could provide a more appropriate home for Survey research than the IL Dept. of Natural Resources, and the Surveys were transferred to the U of I.  With the promise that the state would fund the Surveys through a general revenue fund (GRF) transfer each year, U of I established the Prairie Research Institute to conduct the Surveys’ work.

After three years of funding to the Institute, the state did not live up to its obligations this fiscal year.  It did not transfer the promised $15.8 million to the University.  The University is already struggling to manage its finances without the $392 million in operating funds currently owed to U of I by the state -- the University cannot continue to shoulder the cost of the Surveys and needs the state’s financing.

What’s at stake? Without state funding, Institute projects will be seriously jeopardized.  In particular:
•    Strategies for controlling Asian Carp
•    Monitoring and prevention of diseases like West Nile Virus
•    FEMA-funded flood plain mapping, a project led by staff paid by these funds
•    Critical water-use planning for communities in NE Illinois and throughout the state
•    A very important $100 million grant from US Department of Energy that funds the Geological Survey’s world-leading carbon dioxide storage program with Archer Daniels Midland in Decatur is carried out by GRF-funded staff and will be jeopardized
•    More than a billion dollars’ worth of energy research, such as FutureGen, could be jeopardized

Key points in support of funding
•     U of I is housing the State Surveys at the request of the state – the state must live up to its obligation and pay the University.
•    The direct and indirect impact of the Institute’s expenditures on the state economy yields an estimated 11:1 return on the state’s $15.8 million.
•    The $15.8 million payment from the state leverages $62 million in outside funding (federal and state agencies, and federal grants); many of these grants require a state match.
•    230 employees are paid by the $15.8 million payment, and the other 750 employees of the Institute work for them.

Read the Prairie Research Institute's Information Page

Please contact your legislators TODAY and express your support for funding for the Scientific Surveys.


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