21 February 2013

AAAS Asks You To Speak Up for Science

Bethany Johns

Bethany Johns American Astronomical Society (AAS)

Speak Up for Science

Sign the petition from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to help protect federal funding for research and development. Together we can make a difference. Speak up today!


  • On March 1, 2013, sequestration will trigger automatic across-the-board cuts to the federal budget.
  • AAAS projects that federal R&D funding will be reduced by $54 billion dollars by the year 2017.
  • Indiscriminate cuts will do significant damage to the scientific enterprise, ending promising research projects, eliminating jobs, and stalling the innovation process.

Dr. Subra Suresh, Director of NSF, wrote on Feb 4, 2013 to Senator Barbara Mikulski, Chairwoman on Appropriations, “The required level of cuts to our programmatic investments would cause a reduction of nearly 1,000 research grants, impacting nearly 12,000 people supported by NSF, including professors, K-12 teachers, graduate students, undergraduates, K-12 students, and technicians.”

NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden, wrote a similar letter stating that the Science Mission Directorate, which houses the Astrophysics, Planetary Science, and Heliophysics Divisions, would be cut by $51.1 million below the FY 2013 budget request of $4,911.2 million. These cuts would force NASA to take such steps as, "Reducing funding available for competed research (e.g., “research and analysis”) projects by about 2 percent, resulting in about a 5 percent reduction in new awards to support labor/jobs at universities, businesses, and other research entities."

The Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, wrote to Chairwoman Mikulski that the Office of Science would see "severe" funding cuts, including reduced facility operations while potentially impacting more than 25,000 researchers and operations personnel, delayed construction projects, and a reduction in the number and size of research grants.

The U.S. Senate held a hearing on the impact of sequestrations on February 14, 2013. You can read letters from those agencies testifying before the Appropriations Committee, including NSF, NASA, and DOE.