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?