The so-called “fiscal cliff” — an increase in income tax rates, expiration of many tax benefits and automatic federal spending cuts known collectively as sequestration — still looms as a possibility come January 2. Unless a deal is reached, universities across the country will face unprecedented cuts in federal funding, including cuts to research and development funding. Kevin Stacey spoke with Clyde Briant, vice president for University research, about the implications of the fiscal cliff.
If no deal is reached, how would the fiscal cliff affect federal research funding?
It could trigger sweeping cuts to agencies across the federal government, including agencies like the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and others that provide the vast majority of the nation’s research and development funding. These are considerable, across-the-board cuts. The American Association for the Advancement of Science estimates that federal research and development spending nationwide could be cut by at least $50 billion over five years. Research universities all depend on those funds to support faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate students, as well as to provide for equipment and facilities. If the level of support drops as dramatically as is called for under sequestration, it would profoundly change the way in which universities have to approach their research endeavors. (more…)