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US Researchers Dread Consequences of Possible “Fiscal Cliff”

The looming US “fiscal cliff”—which would balance the federal budget via tax increases and spending cuts if officials don’t agree on an alternative—could result in a loss of 31,000 science jobs and reductions in R&D funding. This would occur on top of R&D budget cuts caused by the sputtering US economy. The Discovery News website says fiscal-cliff-related cuts would be across the life, physical, and social sciences and would cause a 3 percent loss of jobs in these fields. Discovery News based its report on a study that George Mason University professor Stephen Fuller conducted for the Aerospace Industries Association. The state standing to lose the most federal research funding, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, would be California, followed by Maryland, Virginia, and Massachusetts. If these problems occur, observers predict scientists will spend much of their time writing grants and seeking funding rather than conducting research. “The job losses from the fiscal cliff would be tragic enough by themselves, but the loss would also set America further behind other nations in the race towards scientific and technological leadership,” said Discovery News. (SlashDot)(Discovery News)

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