As Con­gress is preparing to make dra­matic cuts in home­land secu­rity research funding, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun is urging Sens. John Kerry and Scott Brown to help pre­serve the funds.

As pres­i­dent of a uni­ver­sity that is home to one of only a few Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity Cen­ters of Excel­lence in the country, Aoun wrote in a letter to Kerry and Brown that Northeastern’s Aware­ness and Local­iza­tions of Explosives-​​Related Threats (ALERT) Center is “doing extremely impor­tant work that will help pro­tect our sol­diers and our citizens.”

Reduc­tions in DHS funding are part of the res­o­lu­tion adopted last week that will keep the gov­ern­ment funded for a two-​​week period. Mean­while, even more sig­nif­i­cant DHS cuts are pro­posed in a sep­a­rate appro­pri­a­tions bill.

The recently passed con­tin­uing res­o­lu­tion would elim­i­nate sup­port for this crit­ical research,” Aoun wrote. “I ask that you con­tact DHS to oppose these cuts and any sim­ilar cuts in sub­se­quent appropriations.”

In his March 7 letter, Pres­i­dent Aoun argued that invest­ments in home­land secu­rity research sup­port vital, mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary projects aimed at improving secu­rity — one of Northeastern’s top research themes, along with health and sustainability.

Northeastern’s ALERT Center covers four fun­da­mental areas of research: explo­sives char­ac­ter­i­za­tion, explo­sives sen­sors, explo­sive detec­tion sensor sys­tems, and blast mitigation.

I under­stand the nation faces dif­fi­cult bud­getary con­straints, but cut­ting the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity and the Cen­ters of Excel­lence pro­gram could jeop­ar­dize the nation’s secu­rity infra­struc­ture at a time we can ill afford such a move,” he wrote.

This out­reach con­tinues Pres­i­dent Aoun’s lead­er­ship on issues crit­ical to higher edu­ca­tion in gen­eral and to Northeastern’s mis­sion in par­tic­ular. In Feb­ruary, he led a coali­tion of higher edu­ca­tion leaders throughout the country in sup­port of the Perkins Stu­dent Loan Pro­gram, which ben­e­fits more than 500,000 low-​​income col­lege stu­dents each year.

Last April, he led a group of col­lege pres­i­dents in urging offi­cials at the U.S. Depart­ment of Labor to recon­sider a plan to reg­u­late unpaid internships.