Science Funding In Jeopardy

UPDATE HERE

I just received this note from Sean Otto of ScienceDebate 2008:

I am writing to alert you to efforts underway this morning to zero out a large portion of the science funding from the Senate American Reinvestment and Recovery Act as a part of a $77.9B reduction effort led by Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Susan Collins (R-ME).

As you know better than most, science and technology are responsible for half of the economic development of the United States since WWII and yet, if current trends hold, some, such as the Business Roundtable, have predicted that 90% of all scientists and engineers will live in Asia within 5 years.

The United States simply MUST renew our investment in the single greatest economic engine this country has ever known. Small federal investments in scientific research have helped produce things like the internet and the transistor that have consistently delivered multi-trillion dollar economies.

The United States is at a critical juncture, and if this concerns you we suggest now would be a time to contact your Senators and urge them to support science funding. Here is what is being proposed to be cut from the bill, according to TPM:

NASA exploration $750,000,000 = 50%
NSF $1,402,000,000 = 100%
NOAA $427,000,000 = 34.94%
NIST $218,000,000 = 37.91%
DOE energy efficiency & renewable energy $1,000,000,000 = 38%
DOE office of science $100,000,000 = 100%

More details here.

Every state (except mine) has two senators. You need to contact them immediately in order to fix this. Find your senator here

Comments

  1. #1 Chas
    February 6, 2009

    Last time I contacted my senator it took him 3 months to get back to me and by that time what I had to say didn’t mean much. He’s a busy guy (Tom Cobourn, I will NOT speak to Inhoffe) but I didn’t need a big long letter that turned into a campaign ad. Just want him to read it. Hopefully, he just reads this letter.

  2. #2 Ian
    February 6, 2009

    Meanwhile, what do they propose cutting from the DoD budget in the same bill? $100,000,000 marked for “Alternative Vehicle Tech. Procurement”. Less than 1/40 of a percent.

    Unbelievable.

  3. #3 mikey
    February 6, 2009

    And all this stuff needs to be in an “economic stimulus” bill why, exactly?

    This “stimulus” bill is a big stinking pile of democrat garbage, every wet dream they ever had all piled up in one rotting package. The whole rotten thing needs to be zeroed out.

  4. #4 Anne
    February 7, 2009

    I’m rooting for science to embrace the belt-tightening that regular American citizens are having to endure right now. Rather than whining about stimulus cuts in a general way, why not put our energy toward defining national science priorities? Let’s take a hard look at which science really benefits humanity (and, topping out my own priority list: the planet), and funnel our country’s great expertise and funds toward those things. I’m feeling the economic crisis personally, and so are people close to me. But in all cases, science included, I see an opportunity to come out leaner, stronger and more focused.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    February 7, 2009

    I don’t think there’s ever been an effort to target science funding with the intention of getting results more efficiently or effectively that has actually worked.

    Example: Infectious disease research targeted towards bacterial disease topped out the effectiveness of its results in the 1970s or 80s. When HIV came along (for all practical purposes in the 1980s) it was a huge problem that targeting has overlooked viral diseases because it was thought to be a waste of money … viral diseases were not that big of a deal.

    A larger percentage of the people who have died of HIV/AIDS would not have, most likely, if there was aggressive “research for research sake” in viruses through the 1960s and 1970s.

  6. #6 Rhodium
    February 7, 2009

    This morning at Politico.com Glenn Thrush has a list of changes in the bill that includes -200 million NSF, -150 total million NASA -100 million each NIST and NOAA, -100 million to “Science” which could be the DOE office of science (I hope not). The 3.5 billion for Higher Ed Construction was zeroed out, but most Universities don’t want to have to pay to clean and light new building anyway right now anyway.
    If the report is correct, NSF is in line to get an increase of 1.2 billion, and its about time. Usual hugh increase in NIH on a voice vote (I think) given Spector’s history. So overall, even before the House-Senate conference its looking up.

  7. #7 kiel
    February 7, 2009

    Science research funding is critical to economic stimulus: it funds jobs for students (research assistants) and degreed professionals; indirect costs from federal granting agencies (58% of total award at my U) are vital to the operating budgets of universities, allowing them to not raise tuition as much as they otherwise would, thus subsidizing the educations of all college students and the future workforce; science research ends up saving money on healthcare, defense, public policy, etc., etc.; without trained scientists in ALL fields (not just applied sciences or someone’s pet projects), our nation is at risk of pandemics, attack, energy shortages, epidemics in everything from dementia to obesity to cancer to HIV/AIDS, etc., etc., all of which will cost a lot more money to deal with later rather than sooner. People who acti like basic scientific research has nothign to do with their lives are fools.

  8. #8 natural cynic
    February 7, 2009

    I’ll take Science Funding for 20 billion, Alex.

  9. #9 SamuraiScientist
    February 8, 2009

    I am with you 100% and have gone so far as to suggest that we spend more of our budget on research and less of it on stupid wars.