Friday, February 28, 2014 at 6:00 AM
When Congress passed its spending bill for 2014 in mid-January, it restored $1 billion in funding to the National Institutes of Health. In Cleveland, that meant Case Western Reserve University saw some research funding previously lost through sequestration restored. But, as ideastream's Sarah Jane Tribble reports, it's still short of what it had been BEFORE the across the board cuts took effect.
Pam Davis, dean of Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine, says it is wonderful Congress avoided the second year of drastic across the board cuts brought on by the sequester.
But weeks after the budget was passed, she joins researchers across the nation in voicing her belief that Congress didn't do enough.
"Of course we'd hope that we'd get back to the 2012 levels but we only got halfway back and you know that still is painful because the costs of biomedical research continue to rise and the dollars are not keeping pace with that," Davis says.
Much of the $400 million Case spends on research annually is funded by federal grants. Congress' new budget continues to mean cuts in departments across the campus.
The school's largest federally funded project called the Clinical and Translational Science Award lost $800,000.
"We did let people go in our clinical laboratory and we did let people go as support staff in our clinical research units. Eight-hundred-thousand dollars is more than we can make up from non-salary. Now fortunately some of them could be picked up from other grants but, you know, we can't support everybody," Davis says.
In 2013, Case's School of Medicine began marketing research programs to attract commercial investment. They asked faculty members to pass up raises for extra time off. And there is now a university wide committee that reviews open positions before deciding to hire.
In addition, the school's leaders continue to lobby Capitol Hill for more support.