Federal labs, CSU could face hardship from sequestration

FORT COLLINS – Federal laboratories would face budget cuts that could affect hiring of contractors if sequestration goes into effect Friday, people close to the institutions said Monday.

CSU also would see cuts to research grants it receives from the federal government, threatening jobs. That’s because agencies like the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation that issue research grants to the university face cuts, said Bill Farland, CSU’s senior vice president for research.

“It has an impact on our ability to keep people in jobs on our research teams because so much of our research infrastructure here at the university is funded by those grants,” Farland said.

The nation faces $85 billion in widespread spending cuts if sequestration goes into effect Friday. Colorado’s federal laboratories would face across-the-board cuts.

At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases in Fort Collins, the cuts could affect hiring of contractors, CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said.

“We know that sequestration will affect all programs across the board,” Skinner said. However, “the immediate plans do not call for any kinds of layoffs of full-time employees.”

Farland, who also heads CO-LABS, a consortium of Colorado’s federally funded labs, said that labs face cuts of 5.1 percent.

“The labs have been in the process of preparing for those kinds of impacts, but nobody knows exactly what that’s going to look like right now,” he said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty as to what’s going to happen.”

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