Sequestration begins on Friday, and this time for real… it is, ironically, Hubble Space Telescope Proposal Deadline Day, but then everyday is a Proposal Day.
I’m guessing that this year the “Hubble Constant” will decrease.
The Agencies are now revealing their plans to deal with sequester.
As you recall the amount is $83 billion from the current fiscal year’s budget.
We are almost half way through the current fiscal year.
There is not actually a budget yet for the current fiscal year, the US is operating on a Continuing Resolution through to late March, and if a budget is actually approved, which is iffy, the numbers may change, up or down.
Net is that the Agencies, along with the rest of the non-discretionary civilian spending side of things, have to find about 5% in cuts.
Sounds not so bad.
But, we’re half way through the year, a lot of money is already spent or obligated, so the cuts have to come out of the rest.
The marginal cuts will be larger than one might think from naive extrapolation.
The NSF has announced its plans – it is going to sustain current grants and cut new grants – their letter says to plan on 1,000 fewer research grants awarded this year. They normally award about 10,000 per year, so this is a 10% cut in new awards.
That actually sounds too small, so there maybe more coming.
NIH is apparently taking their cuts out of existing grants, if I am parsing the journalese correctly, they will be smaller for the next round of distribution – effectively rescissing grants in progress – nasty.
They will also be making fewer new grants. Which fits.
NASA: well, NASA is not furloughing employees!.
So, the Centers will be largely protected, at least for civil service staff.
That means the cuts have to come from Contracts: that’d be Center contractors, and, University research grants.
We’ll now soon how bad it will hit and how much will be taken from current vs future funding.
Either way, if this goes through, there will be a few thousand fewer people doing research in the US by summer.