In the 2021 budget request sent to Congress yesterday (February 10), President Donald Trump has requested that the National Institutes of Health’s budget drop from more than $41 billion this year to $38.7 billion, a 7 percent cut, and that the National Science Foundation’s budget drop by 6 percent to around $6.3 billion, Science reports.

Science advocates are not pleased. “The administration’s proposed budget cuts to research risk slowing our nation’s science just when it is reaping benefits for all Americans in the forms of better health, a stronger economy, a more sustainable environment, a safer world, and awe-inspiring understanding,” Sudip Parikh, the chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), tells The Washington Post.

Among other items on the chopping block, the number of new NIH research grants would drop, Ross McKinney, the chief scientific...

In previous years, Congress has rejected such reductions and has actually increased science spending in recent years. “Trump is being Trump,” City College of New York physicist Michael Lubell tells Nature. “He can ask for what he wants, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.”

The spending proposal is not all reductions. The President also calls for increases to NASA’s budget over the next five years to help sent astronauts to the moon again and to Mars for the first time, Reuters notes.

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist. Email her at jakst@the-scientist.com

Interested in reading more?

The Scientist ARCHIVES

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?