The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s report titled “Unlimited Potential, Vanishing Opportunity” highlights the data gathered from a survey of more than 3,700 scientists from all fields of research. The survey was conducted by ASBMB and 15 partner organizations during the summer. The report, released Aug. 29, chronicles the effects of federal budget cuts on the American research enterprise from the perspective of the individual scientist.
In a news release, ASBMB Public Affairs Director Benjamin Corb said, “For the first time, we are able to definitively tell the story of the federally funded scientist. The data show that deep cuts to federal investments in research are tearing at the fabric of the nation’s scientific enterprise while
having a minimal impact on overcoming our national debt and deficit problems.”
The data paint a grim picture for scientists conducting federally funded research. Eighty percent of survey respondents reported spending more time writing grants today than in 2010, but 67 percent of
respondents said they are receiving less grant money than in 2010.
The report also features some poignant quotes from scientists about how federally funded research produces technological benefits, creates high-paying jobs, protects federal investments and maintains U.S. global research leadership. From physicists talking about job losses and geophysicists talking about missed education opportunities to biologists concerned about finding funding to further crucial disease research, scientists from all fields shared their concerns about the future of American science under tight funding conditions.
However, the outlook is not entirely bleak. Despite the adversity confronting scientists, only 5 percent of respondents indicated they were considering abandoning science careers. This indicates that, despite the
adversity confronting scientists, 95 percent are enthusiastic about continuing careers in science.
Survey respondents hailed from every state in the nation, and nearly every scientific field was represented.