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UW sees $75M cut in research funding

The UW is anticipating the effects of $85 billion in federal budget cuts, activated Friday as part of the sequestration.

The UW research program expects to lose between $75 million and $100 million in federal funds, and the Financial Aid Office will lose approximately $33,000 in work-study funding during 2013. The cuts, known as sequestration, will continue through 2021.

In a campus-wide email Friday, UW President Michael Young said the offices prepared for these cuts.

“Planning ahead will be crucial to our success,” Young wrote.

The UW Office of Federal Relations released a brief on Feb. 28 outlining the effects of the cuts on the UW. Under the sequester, nondefense programs, including research funding, will be cut by 5.1 percent. But the brief estimates that the impact felt over the coming months will be more drastic, more like approximately 9 percent, due to the short timeline to implement them.

Currently the UW receives $1.05 billion in federal funding from agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. However, there is currently not much knowledge about how these agencies will respond to the cuts.

Young advised that researchers be conservative with their federal research awards until they know more. He also wrote that some labs might have to lay off employees as a result. Mary Lidstrom, UW vice provost for research, told The Seattle Times that the cuts will primarily affect student researchers who will find fewer opportunities in research projects. 

“At the moment, everybody’s just hoping the ax isn’t going to fall on them,” Lidstrom told the Times.

Young said the UW will continue to advocate against the research cuts.

“We remain firmly opposed to these reductions and … will continue our advocacy efforts in the nation’s capital to implore the President and Congress to reach agreement on a long-term budget deal that will protect the country’s investments in research and innovation,” Young wrote.

Young said the cuts to the financial aid program will be less dramatic. Need-based Pell Grants will not be affected in 2013, and other funding will work to replace the $33,000 cut from the work-study program.

“Because this relates so closely to our commitment to keep UW education affordable for low-income families, we will be watching this area very closely,” Young wrote.

Reach News Editor Jillian Stampher at news@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @JillianStampher

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