Trumping Science?

How will the research enterprise fare under a Donald Trump administration? The scientific community reacts.

By Bob Grant | November 11, 2016

WIKIMEDIA, AP/LM OTEROResearchers and science advocates are taking to social media to voice their opinions on what a Donald Trump administration may mean for science in the coming years. Out of nearly 160 respondents who voted in a Twitter poll posted by The Scientist, 42 percent said that they feared research funding would be affected by a Trump presidency. Running a close second was public support of science, which 35 percent of respondents felt would be impacted by Trump.

Comments also came in to The Scientist’s Facebook page. “I am taking a breath and trying to explain to my children that science matters, that global climate change is indeed occurring and we are watching it happen via species migration, storm intensity, and inundation on our coastlines,” wrote Deanne Caffee-Cooper. “That we have to continue to work on credible threats to international food security and water resources. That our fight is the good fight and that we do not have all the answers. That our integrity as professionals is valuable. That we have to continue to educate and not be silent any longer.”

Another Facebook commenter, Chris Stable, expressed a slightly different viewpoint. “If science falters as a result of the political sphere,” he wrote, “then it is our fault as scientists.”

Other researchers are suggesting that President-elect Trump and his advisors receive a science “tutorial” before taking office. “Some responsible scientist needs to educate [Trump’s transition team] about the importance of the scientific enterprise,” Harold Varmus, former National Institutes of Health (NIH) director now of Weill Cornell Medicine, told STAT News. “I hope we’re going to be able to accommodate the new reality. But someone needs to give the transition team a tutorial.”

Scientists abroad are expressing solidarity with their US counterparts. “I feel sad for the United States and its scientists, and would like to welcome good scientists to work and live in China,” said Peking University neuroscientist Yi Rao in a comment quoted by Nature.

Meanwhile, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is warning that academics are expressing fear that Trump “may be the greatest threat to academic freedom since the McCarthy period.”

“His remarks about minorities, immigrants, and women have on some campuses had a chilling effect on the rights of students and faculty members to speak out,” the AAUP said in a statement released Wednesday (November 9).

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Avatar of: dumbdumb


Posts: 99

November 11, 2016

This is all nonsense!

From now on,

Adam and Eve are the ancestors of all humans, all animals got on one boat, all animals and plants are there to serve us, and we don't have to worry about a thing till judgment's day.

It is not really that hard!

Avatar of: Barry J Barclay

Barry J Barclay

Posts: 16

November 11, 2016

There is a time when all of us (including scientists) have to stand up for what we truly believe in. Now is the time. The forces of darkness cannot prevail.

Avatar of: PJung


Posts: 1

November 14, 2016

In the past and overall, I think, Republican governments have not been worse than democratic governments with respect to science funding. I think it is too early to know what will happen and to worry about it.  

Avatar of: JtSimon


Posts: 5

November 15, 2016

Thank you, dumbdumb. I am so relieved that the loss of glaciers, reduced snowpacks, desertification, rising sea levels, increasing storm intensity, increasing rainfall in wet regions, habitat loss, specie extinctions, etc., are not the result of the warming trend that has been going on since the last iceage being exacerbated by industrialization and the release of green house gases. Now we know who to blame and who not to trust. We didn't do it, God did. Just like God to go and annihilate creation - narcissist.

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