New website highlights importance of federally funded research

November 19th, 2012

Three organizations representing America’s research universities today launched a website that aims to inform policymakers and the public of the impact that the upcoming budget sequester would have on federal funding for university research.  The organizations – the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and The Science Coalition (TSC) – urge Congressional leaders and the President to act quickly to develop a comprehensive, balanced solution to America’s fiscal crisis that avoids steep cuts to scientific research, which pays a substantial return on investment in the form of job creation, workforce development and economic growth.

Collectively, the three sponsoring organizations represent more than 200 of the country’s leading academic research institutions.  Their website, ScienceWorksForUS, provides data on the impact that sequestration – the across-the-board spending cut scheduled to take effect on Jan. 2, 2013 – is likely to have next year on academic research in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  While the estimated reduction in research funding ranges from the hundreds of millions of dollars for large, research-intensive states to less than $10 million for smaller states, every state will experience a significant impact given the catalytic effect research universities have on local and state economies.  The website also provides numerous examples of the essential role that federally funded university research plays in today’s economy and the impact it has on society at large.

Federal funding for research is currently at the lowest level in the past decade in real dollars.  The caps on discretionary spending mandated by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 will likely further depress research funding over the next decade.  And sequestration requires additional cuts in federal spending on research and development – beyond those that will result from the BCA spending caps – of more than $12 billion in 2013 and nearly $95 billion over the life of the sequester.

ScienceWorksForUS is a project of the AAU, the APLU and the TSC to demonstrate the tremendous impact that federally funded university based research has on the nation and on the lives of all Americans, particularly the role it plays in improving health and spurring economic growth.

Boston University recently joined the AAU, an organization of leading research universities in the United States and Canada. Membership is by invitation only, and is based on the quality of programs of academic research and scholarship; undergraduate, graduate, and professional education in a number of fields; and general recognition that a university is outstanding by reason of the excellence of its research and education programs.

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