Nearly a fifth of scientists are considering abandoning the U.S.

Yep, the research funding climate is that bad

Topics: Sequestration, federal funds, scientific research, Medical Research, , ,

At a time when the U.S. arguably needs its scientists more than ever, federal research funding is way down. According to data collected by a coalition of top scientific and medical research groups, the majority are spending more time writing grants for less payoff than just three years ago. Nearly 20 percent report they’re considering more supportive climes overseas. From The Huffington Post:

More than 3,700 scientists from all 50 states participated in the study, offering online responses in June and July 2013. They offered sobering assessments of the state of their profession. Eighty percent said they were spending more of their time writing grants now than in 2010, while 67 percent said they were receiving less grant money now than they were back then. Only two percent of respondents said they had received money from their employers — predominantly academic institutions — to make up for the loss of federal funds.

According to the survey, 68 percent of respondents said they do not have the funds to expand their research operations; 55 percent said they have a colleague who has lost a job or expects to soon; and 18 percent of respondents said they were considering continuing their careers in another country.

Sequestration, which cut research and development funding by $9.3 billion, is partly to blame. But according to the report, the United States’ investment in R&D isn’t keeping up with inflation:

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Globally, the United States invests more real dollars in research and development than any other country. However, in terms of percentage of gross domestic product, the United States is reducing its investment in scientific research. In fact, of the 10 countries investing the most money in scientific research, the United States is the only country that has reduced its investment in scientific research as a percentage of GDP since 2011.

Here’s how the reduction in funding since 2004 breaks down once inflation is factored in:

 

The full, depressing report, along with testimonials from disgruntled scientists, is over at The Huffington Post.

 

Lindsay Abrams
Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email labrams@salon.com.

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