Posts Tagged ‘sequestration’

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?

Save us from Sequestration!

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-02-2013

Now that the US government has shutdown and the NIH has ceased conducting research at its headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, the issue of sequestration and the impact it is having on science looms larger than ever. Here’s a video produced by MIT graduate students that earned them a $10,000 prize in FASEB’s Stand Up for Science contest. Perhaps they should loan their winnings to their peers in Bathesda who seem to have more time on their hands for producing videos than for conducting scientific research.

Obama Blasts Congress Over Sequestration’s Impact on Science

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 04-30-2013

Yesterday morning (April 29, 2013), President Obama addressed the National Academy of Sciences on the occasion of the academy’s 150th anniversary. While any organization has the right to celebrate 150 years of existence, this particular anniversary has been darkened by the dark cloud of sequestration and looming funding cuts to our country’s research and development programs.

During his speech, Obama promised that he was committed to investing in science, however, he hinted that the funding should come from private investment, since the sequester is expected to shave close to $1.5 Billion dollars off of the all-important NIH budget. Such cuts pose a real threat to scientific progress and Obama mentioned that

Instead of racing ahead … our scientists are left wondering if they’ll be able to start any new research projects at all, which means we could lose a year, two years, of scientific research.

Scary stuff. Are you worried about your research? How do you think sequestration will affect your research?

Sequestration Will Result in $9.5 Billion Cut to Science Funding

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 04-08-2013

Watch What Do Federal Spending Cuts Mean for Science, Researchers? on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.