Sequester cuts hurt science research, innovation in U.S., study says

Congressional sequestration budget cuts have reduced federal grants and delayed research projects, restricting the nation’s ability to innovate and grow, according to a survey of organizations representing 300 research universities.

The across-the-board cuts, which began in March, have had a "devastating impact" on academic research, scientific advances and investment in medical and technological study, according to the survey’s respondents.

The Assn. of American Universities,  the Assn. of Public and Land-grant Universities, and the Science Coalition surveyed administrators at  public and private research institutions. Officials warned of an “innovation deficit" and predicted American research would be overtaken by foreign competitors.

The most commonly cited effects of the sequester among survey respondents were a reduction in the number of new federal research grants and delays among research projects.

“Sequestration is a blunt and reckless tool that has chipped away at the core role our institutions play for the country in conducting critical research that leads to next-generation, technological breakthroughs. Even in its earliest phase, sequestration is permeating every aspect of the work that our research universities do,” said Peter McPherson, Assn. of Public and Land-grant Universities president. 

 “These effects have occurred despite the efforts of our institutions to bridge the gap and cover some of the losses resulting from reduced or delayed grants. These efforts can cushion the blow only so long. The survey trends today will worsen and then be deeply entrenched a year from now if sequestration remains in place.”

The survey had a 43% response rate and a margin of error of plus or minus 10 percentage points.


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