ST. LOUIS, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- If sequestration occurs, a U.S. science group estimates federal research and development funding will be reduced by about $54 billion by 2017.
Mark S. Wrighton, chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis, and Dr. Larry J. Shapiro, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, said the American Association for the Advancement of Science calculated what the sequester would do to scientific research.
Wrighton and Shapiro said they were deeply troubled by the potential impact of the sequester and the harm it would bring to education, healthcare, scientific research, innovation and the economy.
"Our leaders in Washington must make a critical decision that will have far-reaching consequences for America's colleges and universities and the federal dollars they depend upon," Wrighton wrote in a letter expressing his concerns to Missouri's congressional delegation.
"These dollars represent lost opportunity for the nation. Students would find it more difficult to attend educational institutions of their choice. Scholars would find it harder to receive support for ground-breaking research. But ultimately, it would be our long-term national economy and security that would suffer without a well-trained workforce ready to invent and utilize ideas and technologies for the future."
Wrighton and Shapiro said they were encouraging people to consider signing an online petition begun by the American Association for the Advancement of Science that urges the White House and Congress to achieve a bipartisan budget compromise that avoids sequestration and "moves the country on to sound fiscal footing without sacrificing our nation's crucial investments in science and technology."