Adding Insult to Injury

The US government shutdown further hampered a research enterprise already struggling because of the sequester.

By Kerry Grens | November 11, 2013

WIKIMEDIA, AGNOSTICPREACHERSKIDFor more than two weeks in October, thousands of scientists employed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, and other federal agencies stayed home as lawmakers bickered over government budgets. In a new report, the White House's Office of Management and Budget details the impact of the shutdown—from delaying field testing on invasive carp species in the Great Lakes to blocking the initiation of seven new clinical trials.

As if prohibiting astronomical observations, trashing field work in Antarctica, and putting a stop to new grant funding weren't enough, research in the U.S. was already working under the constraints of a sequestration that chopped federal funding earlier in the year. A new survey, conducted by the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and The Science Coalition, of 74 leaders at research universities has found that 70 percent of responding institutions are experiencing delays in research projects as a result of the sequester. Federal cuts have also led to layoffs: 30 percent of survey participants said that part-time staff have had to go; 24 percent said that postdoctoral researchers have been fired; and 16 percent said that the sequestration has forced them to reduce permanent research staff.

“There is a clear and present danger that sequestration will damage America's pre-eminence in scientific research and higher education over the long-term,” Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun, said on behalf of The Science Coalition in a press release. “Given the impact we already have seen, we urge the members of the House and Senate who are negotiating funding for FY [fiscal year] 2014 and beyond to end sequestration, enable investments in scientific research and higher education, and restore the dividends these investments produce for our economy and society.”

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Avatar of: JohnnyMorales


Posts: 31

November 12, 2013

As long as publications like The Scientist keep adhereing to the both sides are to blame equally by NOT naming names of those who are directly to blame for this, Scientists deserve all the cuts coming their way.


Cowadice on the part of the scientific establishment is the handmaiden of extremism in politics and society.


Those forces dominating the Republican party see the scientific community as a self-interested collection of individuals pursuing their own agenda but expecting the gubment to pay their way justifying their work with opinions rather than scientifically validated facts.


That The Scientist thinks it can remain above the fray by publishing generic calls to fix DC when the problem lies with the clear and unashamed anti-science politicians dominating the Republican party today is shocking. 

It is a pathetic irony that a publication meant for the smartest in society chooses to practice a polcy so profoundly ignorant, self-defeating and stupid.

You gain nothing by pretending those who hate science are reasonable, and you lose tremendously by not joining with those who know the promise of science is real in order to curry favor with Republican extremists.

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