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Colleges say federal cuts could cause brain drain

Saturday - 3/16/2013, 2:31pm  ET

Massachusetts Institute of Technology doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering Nikolai Begg poses in an MIT workshop in Cambridge, Mass., Friday, March 15, 2013. Begg is concerned about whether government funding losses could force undergraduates who are contemplating higher degrees to enter the workforce for financial reasons, meaning a loss of American ingenuity in the end. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) -- University officials say they're worried research funding cuts could lead young scientists away from discovery.

Brain drain is a growing concern among schools across the country that are waiting to see how automatic federal budget cuts affect research budgets.

Some fret that students will be discouraged by funding challenges and pursue careers abroad or switch fields.

Scott Zeger of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore says scientists already sacrifice lab time to seek grants, and budget cuts only make that trend more dramatic.

At Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, two genetic researchers recently decided to relocate their labs to the United Kingdom amid a climate of funding losses.

But Paul Lahti, a University of Massachusetts-Amherst chemistry professor, says it's the job of senior faculty to keep students encouraged because they're the future of science.

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