How a Government Shutdown Screws Up Scientific Research

Thousands of scientists were sent home on temporary non-paid leave, what does it mean for the research they had to leave behind?

The U.S. is in the middle of a government shutdown - and if it doesn’t end soon it will be the longest in history. But to be clear this is a “partial” shutdown which means that 75% of the government was approved for funding in the new year and the rest got caught up in the demands from President Donald Trump to build a wall on the southern border for over 5 billion dollars.

Since the shutdown began at the end of December 2018, it has affected thousands of scientists and made lasting impacts on the scientific community.Even for a partial shutdown we’re looking at 9 government departments affected with nearly four hundred thousand federal employees furloughed, meaning they’ve been put on leave without pay.  

Only those deemed “essential” are left to be part of the skeleton workforce that operate the facilities, also without pay. And scientific communities are taking a toll. The agencies affected include NASA, NOAA, the National Science Foundation, the , and the National Parks Service, just to name a few.  These are some of the biggest funders of grants and projects across the country.

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