Federal support essential for cutting-edge research

Scott Brandt
Vice Chancellor Scott Brandt
The University of California is at a crossroads in its push to remain the leading educational system in world-class research. Across our campuses, institutes, and partnerships, discussions are taking place regarding the drastic reductions to federal research funding being considered in Washington, D.C., that threaten to disrupt our capacity to produce invaluable research.

In fiscal year 2015-16, UC Santa Cruz received $128 million to support our research, of which $106 million originated from federal agencies. These research funds helped support our world-renowned UC Observatories, Genome Institute, our newly opened Silicon Valley campus and outstanding research across the UCSC campus.

Federal research funding also supports our graduate students, who push the boundaries of their respective disciplines, provide mentorship to our undergraduates, and engage our Santa Cruz community at large while preparing to bring new ideas and innovations to the world. It is hard to imagine both the immediate and long-term consequences of drastic changes to federal research support.

We now are focusing our attention on the FY 2018 budget Congress must pass. The White House Budget Request proposes to cut $54 billion from federal programs important to UC, such as student financial aid and medical, energy and environmental research.

Overall, UC receives approximately $1.6 billion in federal student financial aid programs including grants and scholarships, graduate fellowships, loans, and work-study.

The federal government is also the University of California’s single most important source of research funding, accounting for nearly $2.9 billion in research awards annually. The groundbreaking discoveries and inventions by UC scientists and labs improve lives and fuel economic growth in California, across the country, and throughout the world. These cuts would be devastating to California and the nation, and would stifle UC’s ability to educate students at all levels and address our country’s most pressing needs and challenges.

Recently, the UC Office of the President launched the University of California Action Network (UCAN), a community for advocates who share UC’s commitment to education, public service, and research. Providing real-time updates, newsletters, and greater information about how to get involved, UCAN is at the forefront of our efforts to shape better outcomes for federal research funding.

I urge you to sign up for UCAN as we embark on the journey ahead. Together, we can help support UCSC’s efforts and ensure that our school remains an international leader in cutting-edge research.