As Pentagon Downsizes, Research Budgets Shrink

David is a Deputy News Editor specializing in coverage of science policy, energy and the environment.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is proposing to trim spending on basic research by nearly 7% as part of an overall downsizing. Congress still has to approve the $150 million cut for the 2015 fiscal year that begins 1 October, but universities are already preparing. Academic scientists get nearly $1 billion a year from the Pentagon for basic science, with certain fields especially dependent. The Pentagon funds about one-half of basic electrical engineering research, for instance, and one-fifth of math and physics studies. And the cuts come as universities get a growing share of research budgets from the military. DOD accounted for 12.3% of the $40.1 billion in federal research dollars universities received in 2012, up from about 8% a decade ago.

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