Research At Midwestern Universities Faces Uncertain Future Under Proposed Federal R&D Budget Cuts

August 21, 1996

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 21, 1996 -- The Midwest's economy may be damaged by projected cuts in federal R&D funding, according to a new report by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The report will be released at an August 21 meeting in Indianapolis that will focus on the forecast for the Midwest's R&D sector in the near future.

The federal government funds at least 50 percent of R&D at the large universities in the seven states of the Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Two Midwestern universities (Michigan and Wisconsin) are ranked among the top ten university recipients of federal R&D funds, and 11 are in the top 50.

The latest budget proposals from the Administration and Congress call for a 32 percent reduction in spending for defense R&D and almost a 25 percent reduction in nondefense R&D. According to the report, federal support for R&D in the Midwest -- particularly at universities -- will decline significantly if these proposals are followed.

Although the Midwest's share of federal R&D funding ($5.4 billion in FY 1994) is somewhat smaller than its shares of the nation's population and economy, federal R&D is a key driver of the region's economy because of its vital role in the support of Midwestern universities. "The Midwest universities are the sources of highly-trained scientists, engineers, technicians, and managers for the region's industrial firms as well as engines of economic growth for their communities and the region as a whole," said Al Teich, head of the AAAS Directorate for Science and Policy programs, who will present the report at the meeting. "Continued federal support for R&D is essential to maintaining the strength of these institutions."

The meeting will be held at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis from 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. It is hosted by Indiana University and will feature a panel of Big Ten university presidents who will discuss challenges and opportunities in science and technology for their universities and the Midwest region.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

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