Sequester Will Cut $30 Mil. In UW Research Grants


Researchers at the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison say federal budget cuts taking place as a result of the sequester may cripple basic research and result in a loss of jobs in the state.

A dozen researchers met with Democratic Congressman Mark Pocan this week in Madison to describe what they say will be the devastating effect of more than $30 million in impending cuts to scientific research grants at the university. The cuts will kick in as the sequester takes effect between now and September 30.

The cuts will affect everything from innovations in pain management for cancer patients to advances in educational gaming technology. Constance Steinkuehler co-directs the Games Learning and Society Center at the UW School of Education: “Long term what I think that means is our ability to compete in terms of the screen time for kids gets really diminished.”

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

She says the commercial online and video gaming industry is not ready to risk money on innovative learning games, so public funds are needed to get them on the market.

“The kind of innovations that we need to do to build media that actually can positively impact the lives of young people in the states that starts to really shrink down because at this point industry is not necessarily interested in developing those kinds of technologies.”

Congressman Pocan says if basic research funds are cut and private industry does not pick up the slack, the United States will lose the jobs it helps create to countries that are doing the research.

“It’s not necessarily that the private sector will pick this up as one new expense because their main goal is about profit. But instead we’re going to have real competition coming from overseas and that completion is what’s going to cost us jobs.”

Pocan says he will take the researchers’ stories back to the floor of Congress to use in his fight to prevent the across-the-board cuts that the sequester calls for.