The Sequester Could Have a Devastating Impact on Scientific Research, Too

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If President Obama and Congress refuse to reach a budget compromise by Friday, March 1st, significant spending cuts known as sequestration automatically take effect. The Takeaway has discussed sequestration's potential impact on Department of Defense employees and their communities, but the spending cuts would also affect a number of other federally-funded projects, including scientific and medical research. 

According to the nonpartisan Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, sequestration would cut $12.5 billion from federally-funded research and development this year, rendering 200,000 unemployed. Dr. Elias Zerhouni, former director of the National Institutes of Health, told the Washington Post that sequestration "would be a disaster for research" and would "impact science for generations to come."

Laurie Leshin, dean of the School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and former deputy associate administrator at NASA, explains how sequestration would affect her field and other ongoing research at Rensselaer. Dr. Larry Corey, president of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, discusses how the spending cuts would impact cancer research and his own work, developing an HIV vaccine.