West Virginia University stands to lose $7 million in federal funds and $400,000 from student financial aid if Congress fails to prevent across-the-board cuts to the nation’s discretionary spending, known as a sequester.
WVU has joined the nation’s research community in urging Congress to end sequestration, which would hamper what public universities like WVU do best: Educate and innovate.
Science Works for U.S., a project of the Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Science Coalition, unveiled a “Stop the Sequester” initiative today (Feb. 5) detailing details threats to the nation’s biomedical and scientific research.
As part of the initiative, Earl Scime, chair of the Physics Department at WVU, recorded a video editorial that stands firm behind the group’s message. The video can be seen here.
Scime has witnessed firsthand the changes that are already happening at WVU due to the sequester.
“I recently informed my postdoc that we can’t keep him once our current grant expires,” Scime said. “This young scientist has been instrumental in developing new diagnostic tools for the national controlled thermonuclear fusion program. Our latest grant proposal earned rave reviews, but the next phase of our research won’t be funded. The agency – the Department of Energy’s Office of Fusion Energy Sciences – doesn’t have the resources.
“Sequestration means there will be more of this on a larger scale.”
Other research universities participating in this project include Yale, Boston University, Northeastern University, Ohio State University and the University of Maryland.
Nationally, federal research funding could get cut as much as $95 billion over the next nine years. These cuts are in addition to the tight caps on discretionary spending put in place by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which will likely further reduce the funds available for research over the next decade.
Scime said sequestration will hurt not only WVU and the nation, but the state of West Virginia and its communities.
“We want to transform West Virginia into a flourishing 21st century economy that creates new ideas, products, and solutions benefitting the citizens of our state, nation, and world,” he said.
“Sequestration will result in layoffs of personnel, deny educational opportunity to our citizens and hurt West Virginia’s economy.”
For more information, go to http://www.scienceworksforus.org/.
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