The Letter

“Why should I sign?”

End Sequestration Research Cuts and Prioritize Science Funding

TO: The United States Congress

Dear Member:

We are students, scientists and supporters studying in fields from biomedical science to ecology to electrical engineering and economics. In recent years, we have seen federal funding for basic research eroded. According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), in real dollars federal funding for basic research has declined by 10% since 2010. Last year, the Budget Control Act cut $1 trillion from discretionary spending, which included cuts to R&D.  We are very concerned about the $1.2 trillion in additional cuts in domestic and defense discretionary spending to take effect on January 2, 2013, since this process will mean additional, major cuts to federal research and development (R&D). We ask you to avoid Sequestration.

AAAS experts calculate that Sequestration will reduce funding for R&D by more than $12 billion in 2013 and nearly $60 billion through 2017. The research budgets of agencies including the National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, NASA, and National Institutes of Standards and Technology will be deeply affected by these cuts.

These cuts to research are narrowing the pipeline of future researchers and squeezing existing research labs. The resulting decrease in scientific talent and discovery will negatively impact the economy. In fact, because of the direct relationship between R&D, technological innovation and economic growth, a study released in September by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) projected that a decline in R&D investment of the magnitude outlined in the Sequester will reduce GDP by some $203 billion in the short term and up to $565 billion over the longer term. According to the report, the short-term R&D loss is the economic equivalent to eliminating all sales of new motor vehicles for a half year. In order to solve our deficit problems, we must restore strong economic growth and cutting R&D will do the opposite.

We are the next generation of scientific researchers and innovators who will fuel the nation’s economic engine and push the frontiers of scientific knowledge, but the deep Sequestration cuts threaten the entire system. We hope you can work for a bipartisan approach to deficit reduction that will assure, as part of that solution, sound funding for federally-funded research and training for graduate research talent since both are key to America’s economic future.

Sincerely,

Stand With Science

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