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Science,technology Will Suffer If ­.s. Goes Over Fiscal Cliff

By HPC Wire

December 14, 2012

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With the looming fiscal cliff, the big issue for the IT industry is that the sequestration cuts, which are a result of the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts and the comprehensive spending decrease of the federal government, affect all aspects of the government, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Health (NIH), which award grants and drive the IT industry in the United States. The spending cuts would drop the grant proposal success rate in the NSF from 22 percent to 16 percent while the NIH proposal success rate would drop from 19 percent to 14 percent, according to the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS). Additionally, with the reduction of the public sector, the private corporations will be flooded with proposals.

"If you have a company that’s solely involved in government contracting and therefore their business is cut off, they’re going to try to branch out into other forms of business, at least in the near term, which will squeeze out other companies," says CompTIA director of public advocacy Lamar Whitman.

The lower grant acceptance rate will force scientists to devote more time to grant writing instead of focusing on planning and performing experiments. "In essence, they start doing less science — their time is going to preserving funding," says AIBS director of public policy Robert Gropp. This scenario could affect the number of professionals available to train young people for the jobs of the future. Going over the fiscal cliff would cut 31,000 jobs in the sciences alone, according to a George Mason University study.

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