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Sequester Cuts University Research Funds

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University of Maryland assistant professor Jeremy Munday

Sequester budget cuts might affect photovoltaic research by assistant professor Jeremy Munday and his team at the University of Maryland in College Park.

Credit: The Washington Post

The federal government is reducing support for academic laboratories across the United States to satisfy the sequester mandate to cut spending. Although about $30 billion in federal funding recently has gone to universities for research and development each year, the federal budget sequester is likely to shrink that amount by more than $1 billion.

Opponents to the spending cuts say they could hinder U.S. leadership in science and engineering. The U.S. National Science Foundation says it expects to make 1,000 fewer grants this year than it normally makes. The sequester also makes it harder for students to enter doctoral programs in science and engineering.

Universities are urging Congress to stop the sequester because it jeopardizes the discovery and innovation that drive economic growth. "To put it kindly, this is an irrational approach to deficit reduction," says Association of American Universities president Hunter R. Rawlings III. "To put it not so kindly, it is just plain stupid."

Federal funding for university research has a long history of bipartisan support. "We are concerned that we don't see more of a cooperative spirit in Washington," says Dennis Hall, Vanderbilt's vice provost for research. "It's a little scary."

From The Washington Post
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