The scientific community is trying to manage a flurry of anxiety over the president-elect's support for scientific endeavors.
The nomination of Donald Trump as the next commander-in-chief is causing chaos in the scientific community. His anti-scientific political views towards progressive research are leaving many experts wondering if he will reverse current policies.
“Trump will be the first anti-science president we have ever had,” said Michael Lubell, director of public affairs for the American Physical Society, published in Nature on Wednesday. “The consequences are going to be very, very severe.”
Trump’s stance on climate change is of primary concern for scientists. While campaigning, the president-elect pledged to “cancel” the Paris climate change agreement endorsed earlier in the year and promised to wipe out environmental regulations.
Lecturers such as Joshua Drew with the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology at Columbia University, are concerned. “It doesn’t look like it’s going to be great,” he said. “The class I’m teaching right now is coastal and estuarine ecology, and we cover a lot of topics including global climate change, sea level rise, ocean acidification. The fact that Trump doesn’t believe in that does not bode well toward having a U.S. policy that addresses those issues.”
There’s also skepticism that Trump will slash federal spending towards scientific research. Scholars rely on grants from government agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. As a guest on Michael Savage’s conservative radio talk show, he said, “I hear so much about the NIH, and it’s terrible.”
Historically, however, these agencies have received more subsidy under Republican administrations. But Democrats increased spending towards NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation while they reduced spending on the NIH, NSF and the U.S. Department of Agriculture according to a study conducted by the Journal of Science Policy and Governance conducted a study in 2015.
Yet Trump is unpredictable and hard to define leaving much uncertainty.
“I have tenure, so if I have a gap between grants, it wouldn’t be disastrous. But I know a lot of people who are earlier in their careers and are really worried about what it means for funding right now . . . about what a reduction in funding would mean for their ability to have a career as a scientist,” said Meghan Duffy, a disease ecologist at the University of Michigan.
He has, however, vowed to support NASA exploration. “Observation from space and exploring beyond our own space neighborhood should be priorities,” he said in a retort to ScienceDebate.org and expressed that space research will encourage studies in STEM and lead to investment in our nation and job creation.
How health policy and management will be governed is also a mystery, though. Howard Kurtzman, acting executive director for science at the American Psychological Association, voiced the organization’s willingness to work with the new administration despite Trump’s assertions that vaccines cause autism.
But his immigration policies might preclude influential scientists from coming to the country.
Source: The Washington Post