Policy@Tech Event Provides Federal Budget Scoop
Support for university research remains sound in Washington, D.C., despite the bleak effects of the sequester.
That’s a key message Georgia Tech Director of Federal Relations Robert Knotts
reported in a campus briefing May 30 as part of the Policy@Tech speaker series.
“Federal agencies are taking actions to protect essential priorities, but many are delaying solicitations and reducing the number and size of awards,” Knotts said. “Long-term, research and development, and basic research will remain a top priority on both sides of the aisle, but universities can expect relatively flat research budgets for coming years. Also, public-private partnerships will remain the favored mechanism for large-scale efforts.”
Knotts presented this information along with federal funding priorities and interdisciplinary themes stemming from President Barack Obama’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget to help researchers anticipate and react quickly to new funding opportunities as Congress mulls over agency allocations.
Among top multiagency research priorities are advanced manufacturing, big data, and innovation and commercialization — common themes at Tech. Priority areas in which Tech is poised for more federal support include cybersecurity, education, and urban opportunity initiatives.
For example, although Tech has had limited activity with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Knotts stressed that the agency is rethinking its purpose and broadening its support well beyond land-grant universities. (On June 20, at 11 a.m. in room 102, Clough Commons, USDA Director Sonny Ramaswamy will conduct a seminar as part of a campus visit.)
Knotts encouraged attendees to think boldly about how their work presents broad implications for any of the priority areas and to contact the federal relations team for assistance formulating a plan of attack.
Tech’s advocacy efforts are designed around the Institute’s priorities and advocacy landscape in Washington, D.C., and focus on areas where the Institute can contribute unique perspective and expertise including research, economic development, student aid, and K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.
He also urged researchers to work closely with Tech communications staff to showcase the role that federal funding plays in fueling research and spin-off companies.