Last month, we analyzed the raw numbers published by the National Institutes of Health regarding the effects of sequestration. Each institute was able to set its own budget, and each institute has implemented very different strategies to compensating for these cuts. Aside from knowing that the NIH had to cut roughly $1.5 billion from its budget, we have not had specifics on how this would affect the NIH overall.
Yesterday, the NIH released its own agency-wide fact sheet on the effects of sequestration. The sheet says that approximately 700 fewer grants will be awarded, stipends for National Research Service Awards will not increase, and the National Clinical Center will accept roughly 7 percent fewer patients. Other than this, the sheet is fairly light on the specific effects of sequestration. The programs that are to be cut or curtailed have been left to the discretion of the individual institutes and are not mentioned in this fact sheet. Nor are specific cuts to the NIH intramural research program, even though NIH suggests this program will sustain a spending cut similar to that of the extramural community.
While the biomedical community focuses on the NIH and how it responds to sequestration, the real effects of budget cuts will be felt around the country in individual research labs by students, postdocs and faculty members. The ASBMB has created a survey to try to capture how sequestration is affecting the American research enterprise. We strongly encourage you to fill out the survey and tell us your story about how budget cuts have affected you and those around you. Then send the survey to all of the scientists you know—biologists, physicists, sociologists and beyond. We’re interested in everyone’s story! We will compile these stories and take them to Capitol Hill to help make a convincing argument that budget cuts are having a devastating effect on the research enterprise.