U.S. Science Programs Could Fall Behind Via Fiscal Cliff's Sequestration of Federal Funds
November 26, 2012 10:12 PM
The top states that would be hit are California, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts and Washington D.C.
Science programs in America may take a very hard hit if sequestration of federal funds takes place, according to a new study.
The study, conducted for the Aerospace Industries Association by Center for Regional Analysis Director Steve Fuller, shows that large cuts in employment in U.S. science programs could affect scientific progress and even non-scientific jobs across the country.
Currently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 1,082,370 U.S. citizens work in the life sciences such as biology. However, if the fiscal cliff's sequestration of
becomes a reality, 31,000 of these citizens could lose their jobs.
"The 31,000 figure does not include the indirect job losses, such as subcontractors, suppliers and vendors, or the induced job impacts," said Fuller. "Induced jobs are those supported by employee's spending on goods and services, so these are unlikely to be STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) type jobs but rather retail, consumer services, education and health, construction and those types of occupations.
"The direct jobs are clearly the immediate losses and encompass most of the STEM-type jobs. There will be some subcontractor job losses, including some STEM type jobs. For DOD contracts in general, subcontractor jobs are about 26 percent of the total where the direct jobs are about 30 percent. The remaining job losses, 44 percent, are induced."
Furthermore, a potential $56.7 billion cut to the Department of Defense (DOD) would eliminate 14,982 science jobs out of the total 325,693 lost. Another $59 billion cut to the U.S. Geological Survey would mean another 15,980 science jobs lost.
Matthew Hourihan, director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), further added that certain states like California would be hit the hardest with a potenial $11.3 million loss. The other four states in the top five included Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts and Washington D.C.
An even more troubling outcome pointed out by Hourihan would be that American science would be set back by about a decade.
Another issue is grant proposals. Scientists will spend more time writing these grant proposals to keep their labs running and staffed rather than working on actual science. Also, a cut in federal spending could mean a $586 million loss for the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and a grant proposal success rate drop from 22 percent to 16 percent.
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