Thursday, April 14, 2011

DOE Office of Science Sparred Severe Cuts

The tentative agreement on the US 2011 budget presented the most optimistic scenario that one could ever imagine in this climate. It is reported that the DOE Office of Science budget will be cut only by 0.6% from 2010 level, when compared to the originally-proposed 18%. One can hear a collective sigh of relief from not only the National labs, but also a lot of universities and industries that make use of the many user facilities within those labs.

However, this is only a temporary reprieve. We are already in the battle for the 2012 budget, and a lot of people, especially politicians of a certain persuasion, simply are ignorant of the value of basic research and how it affects the economy. This is a continuing effort and a continuing struggle to make people be aware of such impacts.

In particular, DOE-funded scientists are worried about the office's 2012 budget request, now before Congress. "It's been an educational year," Isaacs says. "We learned that the argument [about the value of basic research] is still on the table and that we still have to make that argument."

So if you had written to your representatives during this last budget debacle to support science funding, thank you! But please, do not let up your support for basic science research if you truly believe in it. Continue to write to your representatives and ask them to consider what drives our economy and how science research has been a major player in that.


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