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Research News and Notes: September 2013

Sequester Strains Science Researchers

September 9, 2013
By
Michael Stratford

“The billions of dollars in cuts to federal research funding earlier this year are prompting science researchers across the country to lay off researchers, close laboratories and scramble to find other sources of funding.

The increasing scarcity of federal funding opportunities may make it more difficult for faculty to obtain tenure, according to Jonathan S. Dordick, vice president for research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

“In the end, you’re weakening young faculty members’ ability to get their research off the ground, and in doing so, you’re potentially weakening their tenure case,” he said. “It’s tough enough anyway.”

Dordick said that RPI has not had to close any labs since the university’s overall level of federal research funding has remained constant this year. But, he said, as the NIH and other federal agencies award fewer grants, the university expects to reduce the number of researchers through attrition.

Beyond the loss in research funds, the uncertainty over how severely budgets will be cut in the coming years is creating problems on campuses, Dordick said.

“It really reduces the ability of faculty to plan,” he said. “It’s hard to do other things when you’re fighting to get any money into the laboratory.”

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/09/09/effects-sequester-take-effect-scientists-worry-about-future-research#ixzz2eUwVVngu

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Curt M. Breneman

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Dean of Science (Acting)
brenec@rpi.edu
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For speaking/appointment requests, please contact Bonnie Carson carsob@rpi.edu
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David L. Spooner
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Associate Dean of Science for Academic Affairs
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Wilfredo Colón
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Associate Dean of Science for Graduate Education
colonw@rpi.edu
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