An 8 percent cut in NIH funding would not only slow cutting-edge research into deadly and debilitating diseases, it would also likely cost an estimated 2,600 jobs in Massachusetts, said Erwin, who also worries that America could lose bright young talent to nations that are investing heavily in medical research.
‘‘We risk losing a generation of scientists,’’ he said.
Even a budget solution short of sequester is likely to involve some degree of spending cuts as a divided Congress grapples with a growing deficit and federal debt. Brett of The New England Council said it would not surprise him if lawmakers chose a short-term approach often described as ‘‘kicking the can down the road’’ — delaying the sequester for several more months but only exacerbating the long-term issues.
‘‘Unfortunately the can is going to become a barrel,’’ Brett warned.