A Kansas State University official is concerned about the budget proposal presented by President Donald Trump's administration earlier this month because it slashes funding for the sciences.
Peter Dorhout, vice president for research at Kansas State University, said the proposal includes "dramatic cuts" to science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM areas.
"To significantly reduce the federal budgets in funding basic science or applied science, really hampers our ability to continue to be at the forefront of discovery and workforce development," he said. "There's no question about that impact."
Over 10 years, the proposed budget would decrease domestic spending by $2.7 trillion, the Associated Press reported.
Dorhout said K-State, the University of Kansas and Wichita State University benefit from federal dollars that fund research and help train students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
"Our ability to use those technologies to be able to improve people's lives, those are some of the great discoveries that are happening on our campus here at K-State," he said.
At K-State, researchers are involved in using CRISPR for gene editing to develop wheat that is more drought resistant and to potentially find ways to prevent swine fever.
Research is helping improve outcomes for Kansas farmers, Dorhout said, and cuts to investment into new discovery and ideas put the university and the country at a disadvantage.
Food production and agriculture is about a $40 billion industry in Kansas.
Innovation can reduce costs to producers and consumers, and falling behind with changes puts the industry at risk, he said.
The state's economy also relies on the health care and animal health industries.
"I think for the continued success of, particularly the northeastern part of Kansas and the growth of the biotech industries, relying on those new discoveries is particularly important," Dorhout said.
Trump's proposed budget includes a 13 percent cut to the National Science Foundation, a 12 percent cut at the National Institutes of Health and the elimination of projects at the Department of Energy and NASA, according to The Washington Post.
China continues to increase spending in research and development at a faster pace than the US.
"It's really a change that has me and many others concerned about the leadership role that the United States has typically played over the years in research and development," Dorhout said.
A survey by Hart Research and Echelon Insights concluded that 73 percent of those polled believe falling behind China in science and technology would be a big concern.
The study also found bipartisan support for science and technology research, especially for new medical technologies and cybersecurity.
Dorhout said he is confident that Kansas' Congressional delegation will oppose the cuts that affect research at the state's universities.
"It really does impact KU, K-State and Wichita State in fairly significant ways if federal funding dollars were to disappear," he said. "That science funding and funding in R&D is critical to us in the United States for our own security, food security ensuring a safe and reliable food source to national security to cyber security."