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Major cuts in US science funding in 2018?

Scientists are among the many groups spooked by the Trump Administration. President Trump is a self-proclaimed nonbeliever in human-caused climate change who has vowed to cut funding to climate change programs, roll back environmental regulations, and dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency while encouraging fossil fuel development.

On January 23, 2017, the Trump administration ordered a freeze of all grants, contracts, and communications from the EPA, stoking widespread concern about the role of science in the new administration. The freeze was lifted a week later, but as of February 2017, EPA officials have been told to prepare for a flurry of executive orders subsequent to the expected confirmation of Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator.

Further worrying signs to the science community: President Trump has pledged to eliminate NASA's earth science division, responsible for earth-facing satellites and climate research. While the president has not yet formally named a science advisor, the leading candidates under consideration are both skeptical of climate change.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has compiled United States research and development spending, with records in some agencies extending back as far as 1953. Spending varied between $60 and 70 billion over the past ten years, with an overall increase of around 10% over the same time. In FY2017, the nondefense research and development budget was $66.57 billion. Spending levels are shaped by a number of forces, however, with political pressures a possible factor alongside economic conditions and general national priorities.

By what percent will nondefense research and development funding change in the FY 2018 budget, as compared to the FY 2017 budget?

This question will resolve on October 1, 2017, the first day of FY 2018. Resolution will be calculated as FY 2018 nondefense R&D funding (as reported by AAAS) minus FY 2017 nondefense funding, divided by FY2017 funding and multiplied by 100. Note that the AAAS figures are given in constant dollars, i.e. inflation-adjusted.


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