Column: Proposed federal policy would cripple university research


Over the past 20 years, technologies based on university research have launched entire new industries, cured fatal diseases and even put new foods on your grocery store shelves. Since 1996, these technologies have contributed an estimated $1.3 trillion and 4.2 million jobs to the American economy. In 2015, Florida’s state universities spun out 48 startups and achieved a multitude of scientific breakthroughs in health, engineering, agriculture and basic sciences.

The partnership between America’s research universities, industry and the federal government is the envy of the world, but a proposal by the federal Office of Management and Budget to severely cut the reimbursement government agencies make to universities for shared research costs threatens to destroy it.

University research expenses are typically divided into two buckets of money. Money in the first bucket pays for the direct costs of the project — salaries for researchers and stipends for graduate assistants, lab equipment and supplies and travel.