For much of the past year, policymakers in Congress have focused on Republican plans to slash government spending and balance the federal budget.

Richard Atkins STRATEGY: UC president Richard C. Atkinson says he plans to continue to "seek the very best people".

Whatever the funding levels for fiscal 1996, the Republicans have proposed deep cuts in federal spending for scientific research into the next millennium. Such spending has amounted to roughly $73 billion annually in recent years. But the "Contract With America," endorsed by House Republicans, calls for slicing $11.2 billion in federal science funds, or more than 15 percent, over the next five years. By some estimates, as much as 33 percent could be slashed during the next seven years.

The academic institution with arguably the greatest stake in the outcome is the University of California (UC) system, which is widely regarded as the flagship of public education in the...

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