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UB & Roswell: Don't cap federal spending on medical research overhead

The presidents of the University at Buffalo and Roswell Park Cancer Institute are urging congressional leaders to resist a Trump administration proposal to cap federal spending on medical research overhead costs.

Capping federal spending on facilities and administrative costs is not only detrimental to future research but also shuts off the lights in the labs we have now, UB's Satish K. Tripathi and Roswell's Candace Johnson wrote in a letter.

The Trump administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 seeks to cap spending on so-called "indirect" research costs by 10 percent. Universities and research institutes rely on this funding to open labs, purchase equipment, pay staff and utilities and maintain research facilities, according to the letter.

"These federal dollars help support and maintain the vital research infrastructure that individual institutions build," Tripathi and Johnson wrote to the representatives.

Even imposing what may be considered a generous cap ignores that every research institution is different and should have the freedom to negotiate its own cost rate with federal agencies, the letter noted.

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