The US Congressional "supercommittee" — a group of 12 lawmakers charged with making cuts to the US budget — has failed to come to terms on a deal, which has triggered a previously set group of budget cuts totaling $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. This will mean cuts for every department, including cuts to science and research budgets, says New Scientist's Peter Aldhous. "Exactly what that means for science won't become clear until next year, but the required cuts are so large that major projects and research facilities are likely to find themselves on the chopping block," Aldhous says. "Space missions, national laboratories and 'big science' efforts in fields like ecology could all be threatened."
Michael Lubell, head of public affairs with the American Physical Society, tells Aldhous the cuts are expected to be "real bloodletting." Aldhous adds, some in Congress are working to find ways to prevent the automatic cuts from taking place, so they may never materialize.
Our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more here.