Sequestration: California may lose $180 million in science research

Protesters in Los Angeles march in 2011 against federal budget cuts. Scientists have expressed concern about 2013 cuts.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

California stands to lose about $180 million in medical and scientific research funding under sequestration cuts, the most of any state, according to a group of biomedical researchers.

Sequestration, which went into effect March 1 after Congress failed to reach a budget compromise, cuts $85 billion across government departments, agencies and programs.

The National Institutes of Health, which will lose $1.6 billion of its $30-billion budget through the sequester, is the world’s largest supporter of biomedical research, funding $2 billion in programs at the University of California system alone.


The cuts will halt current research and hinder innovation in the biomedical field, including potential breakthroughs in cancer, diabetes and neurological diseases, said the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

“I think the suddenness of [sequestration] and the depth of it would be a disaster for research, which is not an activity that you can turn on and off from year to year,” said Elias Zerhouni, president of Global R&D; at Sanofi-Aventis and former director of the NIH. “It will impact science for generations to come.”

The organization used 2011 NIH funding data, the most recent year with complete state funding information, with a 5.1% loss to calculate the effects of sequestration on the sciences nationwide.

Following California among the states most affected according to the study were Massachusetts and New York, which were expected to lose $128 million and $104 million, respectively.

Wyoming would lose the least at $316,000, according the federation.


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