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Math Bad economy and funding in science and maths?

  1. Dec 21, 2008 #1


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    Assume the economy is in a recession. How badly will decrease in funding be in the sciences and maths research? Which area will be worse hit science or maths? For the worst hit, which area in it would be hit worst?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2009 #2
    I have a feeling that the maths will be hit worse, because the sciences will be where the technological innovation comes from. Maths will be incredibly useful to the economic redevelopment though. Hard to say which will be hurt worse. We really will need both of them.
  4. Jan 7, 2009 #3


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    The hit in science funding already began long ago with the Bush administration.

    It is widely reported that the new Obama administration will supposedly increase funding for science and that the funding will be shifted away from biological/life sciences back into physical sciences. This is because the life sciences have had their heydey of yearly funding increases in the late 1990s through mid-2000's, so now it is widely reported that the government will shift the funding for science back into physical sciences. (yay for us)

    However. So far for this fiscal year (FY09), which began in October, in november congress passed a continuing resolution for most of the science funding agencies meaning that even though the president had proposed funding increases for NSF, DOE, and other agencies, the respective congressional committees failed to pass the appropriations so these agencies have not actually received any of the funding increases they were supposed to get and are instead operating on previous year's budget (which actually means a loss of funding since every year operating costs go up so if your budget stays the same as the past year that means you are actually operating at a loss).

    So far, only the DOD has had their FY09 budget passed and they saw an increase in their budget. So that must mean that DOD is the place to go to for science funding at this moment. That is what I am operating on at least, as I am trying to get funding from DOD right now. But I imagine so is everyone else.

    So far NSF and DOE are operating on last year's budget (meaning they are operating at a loss). So that must mean it is very difficult to get funding from them because the competition is now over an ever shrinking pool of money.

    There is a lot of speculation among scientists right now as to what will happen with science funding in the near future. on the one hand there is optimism that the Obama administration might still pass the FY09 appropriations that will give the NSF, DOE, NIST and other science agencies the big funding increases that they were slated for after all...However, there is equal amount of pessimism going around that the new adminsitration may just opt to let the continuing resolution carry on til the end of the fiscal year since they may channel all the available trillions of dollars into saving the auto industry and they will also have the upcoming FY10 budget to worry about. And if history repeats itself - in the past two years that is what the Bush adminsitration did, i.e. they had proposed increases in physical science funding but in the end couldnt' handle two FY budgets at the same time so they passed continuing resolutions forcing some agencies to operate on previous year's budgets meaning operate at a loss. And that means less funding available for research groups and individual scientists.
  5. Jan 8, 2009 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    And L62 means the first Bush administration. It's been sliding since then.

    Congress made a hash of science funding. They passed the America COMPETES Act which called for a doubling of science funding over 10 years. (This is big -but not as big as it sounds: it's an increase of 4% per year above inflation) It passed 367-57 in the House and 88-8 in the Senate.

    In last year's budget wranglings, the outcome in Congress was not to fund this. Congress simply did not allocate the money that six months earlier they said they would. The political details belong in another section, but if each party were trying to show they could act more irresponsible and immature than the other, the outcome would not have been much different.

    Note that this had nothing whatsover to do with the economy.

    This year, Congress refused to pass a budget, and instead operates the government under a continuing resolution - essentially extending last year's budget. They might (or might not) pass a budget in spring.

    They are, however, telling their constituents that they support science because they voted for ACA. At least mine are. They have conveniently forgotten to mention that they didn't actually do any of that.

    Again, note that this had nothing whatsover to do with the economy. While there are problems with science funding, the DJIA is not one of them.
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