The question of how sequestration will impact our research programs is, as yet, largely unanswered. The political process has been unable to reach compromise and across-the-board budget cuts have been initiated. Across the Federal government, approximately $85 billion in budgetary resources have been canceled.
As a consequence, most federal agencies will have to implement funding cuts, beginning in the current fiscal year. These agencies are taking steps to mitigate the effects of these cuts, but most admit that grants and cooperative agreement awards may be affected. Examples of this impact could include: not issuing continuation awards, or negotiating a reduction in the scope of awards to meet the constraints imposed by sequestration. Moreover, plans for new grants or cooperative agreements may be re-scoped, delayed, or abandoned depending on the nature of the work; the extent to which it supports the Agency’s mission; and the availability of resources.
The impact of sequestration on UNH’s research enterprise depends principally on how federal agencies implement budget cuts. Those efforts are proceeding across the government and more information is being shared every day. National Science Foundation Director, Subra Suresh, recently explained that the sequestration order will reduce the NSF’s FY’13 budget by 5% and outlined the agency’s intention to make reductions in a manner that minimizes disruption to established commitments. The core principles Suresh articulated for guiding the NSF’s sequestration strategy include: protecting commitments to NSF’s core mission and maintaining existing awards; protecting the NSF workforce; and protecting STEM human capital development programs. The most significant anticipated impacts for the NSF will likely be 1,000 new grant awards that will not be made.
The UNH Research Blog (/research/blog) and SRA International (www.srainternational.org/sra03/template/tntbAB.cfm?id=5632) have quick links to letters and locations from federal funding sources (including NASA, NIH, USDA and others). Several other national research/higher education associations are compiling agency communications on behalf of the research community including:
In addition to the sequestration, the federal government is currently operating under a continuing resolution, which funds the government through March 27. A budget must be passed by then to avert a complete government shut down. There has been some movement toward compromise in Congress, but there is still work to be done to avoid a shutdown.
We recognize that sequestration and federal budget gridlock will challenge us. Your cooperation in helping us manage this regrettable state of affairs is appreciated. We value the important work that you do and appreciate your dedication and commitment to UNH.
Important news concerning sequestration and the federal budget will be posted to the Research Blog. See /research/blog
In the meantime, we recommend:
- PIs maintain contact with their program officers for specific information
- PIs and BSCs monitor accounts closely for potential overruns
- PIs share information, as it becomes available, with staff who may be worried about how proposed cuts may affect them
As always, contact us with any questions, concerns, or ideas.