I’m sure many of you are aware of today’s government shutdown in the U.S.A. Because of congress being unable to decide on a budget for the next year, federal agencies have been forced to shut down until the matter is resolved. Unfortunately, this includes bodies in overseeing science funding and research, and so this shutdown could have disastrous effects on U.S science.
This article on the Nature website goes into detail about how the situation has affected scientists in the U.S, and what it could mean for their future and the future of their research.
It is a very serious situation. Government scientists have been told to stay at home without pay, grants aren’t being processed and research is being abandoned until further notice, which could mean valuable experiments are ruined. This could have terrible consequences for vital healthcare research into the treatment of diseases, as clinical trials come to a sudden halt. Furthermore, studies into influenza will be put on hold just as the flu season is about to begin in America.
Government phones and e-mails have been taken out of service, leaving scientists unable to carry out work at home.
A NASA mission to study the atmosphere on Mars could be delayed until 2016 if the shutdown leads to its November launch window being missed. NASA have already shutdown their communications with the public, and won’t be contactable until the government resolves the issue.
Research in the U.S.A has already had to survive funding cuts imposed by the government, and the fate of many research groups was already unknown. Scientists in every country spend a great deal of their time desperately trying to churn up enough funding to keep their research going, and if this shutdown doesn’t end soon, it could spell certain disaster for U.S Science and the loss of important studies and results for the science community as a whole.
I’ll keep you posted!