A US House of Representatives budget subcommittee has recommended that the US National Institutes of Health receive no budget increase in 2013. Any other year, this would be bad news but this year, some researchers may be heaving sighs of relief that the news wasn't worse, say Ivan Semeniuk and Helen Thompson at Nature News — at least, so far. With the presidential elections coming up in November, many funding agencies are already expecting a "post-election panic," Semeniuk and Thompson write — the major reason being an upcoming pre-programmed budget cut, called a sequester, that could effectively "starve US science-funding agencies." Congress is too divided to come to an agreement before the sequester is automatically implemented in less than six months. "And even if Congress does manage to introduce last-minute legislation, as many observers expect, the sequester will have cast a shadow over the contentious process of funding science in a time of fiscal constraints — and in an election year," Semeniuk and Thompson add.
Jul 25, 2012