In DepthU.S. Funding

Shutdown starts to take a bite out of science

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Science  11 Jan 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6423, pp. 109-110
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6423.109

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The partial U.S. government shutdown, now in its third week, is creating chaos for tens of thousands of U.S. scientists. The shutdown, which began on 22 December 2018, began after Congress refused to give President Donald Trump the $5.7 billion he wants for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The impasse has all but halted work at more than a half-dozen agencies that fund or conduct research, including NASA, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and parts of the Smithsonian Institution. Many of the scientists at those shuttered agencies have been furloughed without pay, barred from working at home, and prohibited from checking their government email. A travel ban has hurt attendance at several major conferences and caused organizers to cancel other events. The shutdown is also creating chaos for university researchers, private contractors, and others who collaborate with idled federal scientists, or depend on affected agencies for funding, facilities, and data.

  • * With reporting by Daniel Clery, Kelly Servick, and Paul Voosen.