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Archive for the ‘life science funding’ Category

Guess Who Else Will be Hurt by Sequestration?

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 11-19-2013

Elliott Negin, Director of News and Commentary for the Union of Concerned Scientists, recently wrote an article in the Huffinton Post warning of the dire financial impact that the recent government shutdown and almost-year-long sequester will have on industry and the private sector.

On many occasions we have discussed how recent government actions are harming academic science in the United States, but we have never discussed what consequences it may have on industry. In general, when one thinks about government funding, university labs and research institutes come to mind. That certainly makes sense as thoughts of the NIH shuttering their doors for several weeks is still fresh in our minds. However, as Negin writes, research and discovery in academia and government laboratories are often the catalyst for industry and commercialization. Take away government research and you will definitely harm the downstream commercial environment.

As Negin writes:

The sequester, and inconsistent funding by a fickle Congress is taking its toll on the public scientific enterprise


What are your thoughts on this connection? Do you believe that poor government policy will have a significant impact on the commercial sector?

To read Negin’s commentary visit Don’t take federal science for granted.

One Month Left to Win $5,000 from FASEB

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-30-2013

What a great initiative by FASEB. You can win $5,000 while helping science at the same time. Enter the contest today!

Sequestration Explained in Two Minutes

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-28-2013

We’ve posted several articles about sequestration over the past few months (see 12,000 Labs to Close Due to Sequestration, Sequestration May Mean Years of Research Wasted, Sequestration Will Result in $9.5 Billion Cut to Science Funding, Obama Blasts Congress Over Sequestration’s Impact on Science, Save us from Sequestration!, Is the American Government Killing Science? and Poor Morale Continues Among Scientists Despite End to Government Shutdown.

However, one question that we never answered is:

What exactly IS Sequestration?

Thankfully, the Huffington Post attempted to give an answer before us. Below is their response.

Poor Morale Continues Among Scientists Despite End to Government Shutdown

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-21-2013

After failing to enact legislation on the 2014 fiscal budget, the US government shutdown and furloughed approximately 800,000 federal workers. For seventeen nerve-racking days in October, (October 1-17), many routine government services were closed, costing the economy a whopping $24 Billion dollars. While the shutdown affected many public services and universities, it had a particularly crippling effect on one of America’s largest research institutes, the National Institute of Health. Despite the fact that the shutdown ended several days ago, many scientists continue to wonder what long-term impact the fiasco will have on their funding. Considering that the NIH supports more than 50% of American research projects, this question is completely justified.

In an article posted to the NIH website on October 17th, Sally Rockey, the NIH’s Deputy Director for Extramural Research, inforomed scientists that October grant submission deadlines will be rescheduled to November and missed reviews may or may not be rescheduled depending on the particular reviewer’s personal situation.

How do scientists feel about this setback? From the comments posted to the NIH blog, not very happy.

One PI wonders if it is even worth applying for NIH funding for the coming year. He correctly states that although the shutdown has ended, the sequester continues to loom large and hasn’t left much hope for scientists looking for grants in 2014. Even more worryingly, the commenter tells us of the impact that the shutdown/sequester has had on the next generation of American scientists which his best junior scientist moving to Malta where she has been promised more lucrative scientific funding.

Another scientists worries that:

five month delay in grant reviews may be career-ending for many scientists

Or as another scientist wrote:

Years of preparations by researchers who’s careers are dependent on these reviews will be put in peril because the agency closed for a couple of weeks

Will American science ever recover from these setbacks? How long can we sustain our position as a world leader in scientific discovery? If the responses from NIH scientists are any indication, we are entering a deep dark tunnel and it may take us years to dig out.

Is the American Government Killing Science?

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-15-2013

As the government shutdown enters its third week and the 2013 sequestration looms large, many are wondering just how much pain the US government can cause to American scientists. How deep does the political system reach into academic scientists’ pockets? Is the deadly sequester killing current research? Moreover, what effect are these budget cuts having on the scientific aspirations of budding young scientists?

According to a video that appeared in yesterday’s Huffington Post m four out of the five Nobel Prize winning scientist currently working for the government have been furloughed and many experiments have been destroyed due to the 2 week gap in their research projects (think dead cells). More importantly, the Huff Post quotes a source as saying that

we are going to lose a whole new generation of young scientists since many will turn away from science

In a well written blog post from a master’s student in the trenches, Kevin Boehnke attempts to answer the question how hard has the sequester and government shutdown affected both faculty and students. In an (unscientific) poll, Kevin reveals that most of those asked believe that the current government actions will have a small to moderate impact on their research. According to the article, the cutbacks will affect junior faculty more than tenured staff and doctoral students are becoming more sensitive to the political risks involved in pursuing a scientific career.

So what’s the solution? Boehnke suggests that more scientists need to run for political office.

What are your thoughts?