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Sequestration affects research

On March 12, 2013

The $85 billion across-the-board federal spending cuts that took effect last month, known as sequestration, could significantly affect research funding at Brandeis as well as many research universities, according to University President Frederick Lawrence at last Thursday's faculty meeting.

"I think the sequestration business coming out of Washington is just a good example of sometimes things are going to be out of your control, that can give us a pretty solid kick in the head," said Lawrence. "That's not just a Brandeis story, that's research universities generally. I can tell you that my inbox is filled with correspondence from fellow presidents in the [Association of American Universities] about how are we going to deal with this. ... None of us is in a situation to simply absorb that without taking pretty careful attention."

"About three-fifths, or $40.8 billion, of all university research funding in Fiscal Year 2011 came from the federal government," according to a Huffington Post report on the recent National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics survey.

Brandeis' peer research institutions are facing similar cuts to research funding. Stanford University, for example, is planning for reductions of about $51 million of its $685 federal research revenues, reported the Stanford Daily.

According to the Harvard Crimson, Harvard University received $650 million from the federal government during the last fiscal year, meaning that "researchers across the University will have to cope with the impact of sharply constricted federal funding in the form of both decreased availability and reduced size of federal research grants." Harvard President Drew Faust traveled to Washington earlier this month to urge government officials to avoid cutting research funds.

Boston University receives $300 million in federal funds "mainly from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation," which "goes to federally funded research expenditures in grants," according to the Daily Free Press.

The University did not respond to requests to provide information about the federal funds that Brandeis receives by press time.
-Andrew Wingens


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