Federal Governmental Relations
News stories regarding the impact sequestration and federal funding delays have had on the University of California.
As Congress and the Obama administration try to reach agreement on a spending plan for 2014, University of California leaders are urging that the repeal of sequestration be a top budget priority. "Promising science is being delayed or terminated. Labs are being forced to lay off highly trained staff," they write. "Perhaps most troubling, young researchers are questioning whether to pursue research careers because vital fellowships are threatened and it is taking increasingly longer for them to obtain their first independent research grants."
Gene Block, chancellor of the University of California Los Angeles (and a former provost of the University of Virginia), estimated that UCLA has lost about $50 million this year in federal research revenue because of the sequester. For perspective, UCLA received about $674 million in federal research awards in 2012.
About a week before geology professor Dawn Sumner was supposed to embark on her three month trip to Antarctica with the United States Atlantic Program, it was abruptly cancelled.
In the eight months since the sequester has taken effect, there have been dramatic cuts to both competing and non-competing grant renewals, placing a significant burden on labs here at UCSF.
Naomi Tamrat only worked two days of her internship at the U.S. Department of Education before the department was shut down, putting her work on indefinite hiatus.
Classes and instruction go on as usual at UCLA, but those of us dedicated also to scientific research are increasingly squeezed by the United States budget sequestration and the federal government shutdown.
As a result of the government shutdown, students under contract with UC Berkeley Army ROTC did not receive the cost-of-living stipends due to them Tuesday from the federal government.
UC Berkeley graduate Zigmund Kermish should be preparing to launch a balloon-based telescope from Antarctica… He would be on the ice by Nov. 1 if the U.S. government hadn’t shut down.
Two national laboratories in the Bay Area are set to furlough employees and halt research operations by Oct. 21 if the government shutdown remains unresolved.
At UCSB, funds for federal financial aid offerings, such as Pell Grants, could be jeopardized if the government fails to end the shutdown.
The shutdown has significantly limited student and faculty access to scientific data sponsored by the federal government, said Steven Clarke, a UCLA biochemistry professor… Researchers across the country will also have to wait for an unknown period of time for new money to pay for supplies and salaries for assistants and post-doctoral researchers in their lab, said David Eisenberg, director of the UCLA-DOE Institute for Genomics and Proteomics.
"We haven't even seen the beginning yet, I can tell you," said neurology professor Carl Cotman, founder of UC Irvine's MIND Institute. "What worries me is that the one thing we haven't completely screwed up in this country is biomedical research. If you stop basic discovery, we lose."
Sequestration has likely sliced federal research funding to UC Davis by $50 million, according to Vice Chancellor Harris Lewin, stifling unprecedented growth by the campus’ research enterprise.
Funding for construction of the first building at the joint UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory satellite campus in Richmond has faced a setback due to the federal budget cuts known as sequestration. The Department of Energy, which financially supports Berkeley lab, was unable to allocate money for new building projects because of the sequester.
Federal budget cuts are throwing a wrench into Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's plan for a new biosciences campus in Richmond, possibly delaying construction for a year or longer.
According to a state-by-state sequester fact sheet issued by the White House detailing projected losses if the sequester were to continue, in 2013, California is projected lose $87.6 million in funding for primary and secondary education and approximately 9,600 fewer low-income students will receive financial aid for college.
The war on cancer is only one example of the societal benefits of nationally funded research — work that fuels our economy and keeps us on the cusp of technological innovation.
Sequester, now entering its second month in effect, has begun to strain opportunities for research at UCSB.
Federal cuts spell out trouble for UCM’s research because about 50 percent of the research depends on federal funds. UCM currently receives funds from agencies such as The Department of Energy, The Department of Defense, The National Institute of Health, The National Science Foundation, and NASA.
Researchers and university officials worry the lost funding will slow or halt research on everything from cancer treatments to contaminated soil and water. They also fear it will dissuade young scholars from pursuing scientific careers.
“The federal government is a valuable partner and is critical to UC San Diego’s success as a leader in education, research and health care,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.
At UCSC, the sequester could hit in other ways. At least 1,000 faculty, staff and students have salaries partly funded by federal research grants. If those grants expire, and the federal government declines to issue new grants, a portion of that group would be affected.
With the imposition of across-the-board federal spending cuts – or sequestration – research and discovery such as that conducted by the UC Irvine team is in jeopardy.
Sequester is particularly unfortunate for California, which is only just beginning to emerge from a yearslong budget nightmare and will now need to grapple with severe fiscal constraints.
UC’s Gary Falle said sequestration could cost scientists, researchers, graduate students and post-doctoral students their jobs.
“It means less resources, less money to the lab and personally, it means I will not be taking a graduate student this year, “ said professor John Huelsenbeck of the campus department of integrative biology. “It’s the training aspect that concerns me the most. When you don’t have money, you can’t train new researchers.”
“Some critics say that the sequester cuts only a small part of the entire budget, “Furman said. “But these cuts over a small window of time would be devastating.”
According to the UCOP, if the cuts take effect, it will “disrupt UC researchers’ ability to contribute scientific discoveries and innovations, reduce support for graduate and postdoctoral students, and damage job creation and economic recovery in our state and nation.”
The looming cuts mean serious trouble for government-funded organizations, like University of California system.