Sequestration cuts millions from university research dollars

Excerpt of an article published by The Salt Lake Tribune on sequestration’s impact to research institutions in Utah.


Paul Fraughton | The Salt Lake Tribune

Carl Thummel was about $200,000 short.

The University of Utah professor of human genetics had already won the money, about one-third of his lab’s annual budget, from the National Institutes of Health. It was due to begin paying out in December — just as the country went off the so-called fiscal cliff.

More than six months later, the money still hadn’t come, the victim of federal budget cuts known as sequestration. So he cut his own salary by 25 percent, as well as his technicians’ pay.

“They’re putting their salaries on the line, and some of them are family breadwinners,” he said in July, staring ahead. “That’s what we’ve got to do.”

Thummel, who studies diabetes, obesity and metabolism at his 10-person lab, wasn’t alone. The U. lost $32 million in research funding in fiscal 2013, dropping from about $393 million to $361 million, due primarily to sequestration. Though Thummel got word this month that his cash would be forthcoming, he said other labs haven’t been as lucky. “Each grant for a small lab is essential. In the past years, two grants was not hard to maintain, but it became more difficult and now it’s very difficult,” he said.

Read the full article here.

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