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Many U.S. government scientists and federally funded researcher breathed a sigh of relief last month after the partial shutdown of the U.S. government began. That’s because the budget impasse between Congress and President Donald Trump didn’t affect some of the largest federal research agencies, including the $39 billion National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the $35.6 billion Department of Energy (DOE), because their spending had already been approved.
This week, however, it became clear that the shutdown is affecting even agencies that are open—sometimes in unexpected ways.
NIH - Example - Officials - Rule - Notice
At NIH, for example, officials have been scrambling to comply with a rule that requires them to publish notice of upcoming proposal review meetings in the Federal Register, the public notice publication for federal agencies. But the agency that publishes the Federal Register is closed, threatening NIH’s grant making process.
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At DOE, managers are reportedly telling some employees to cancel travel because of the shutdown, even though the department is fully funded. The reports have prompted members of Congress to ask DOE to explain.
Shutdown - Havoc - Agencies - NASA - Yesterday
Meanwhile, the shutdown also continues to wreak havoc at agencies, such as NASA, that are mostly closed. Yesterday, 181 postdoctoral fellows working at five NASA research centers were placed on leave after their funding dried up.
Here are more details on this trio of shutdown stories:
NIH - Shutdown - Time - Agency - Peer
NIH, which was closed during the last shutdown, hasn’t been spared entirely this time around. The agency has already had to reschedule at least three peer review panels, and is scrambling to avoid moving others, because of its Federal Register problem.
Typically, NIH study sections, or peer review panels, must publish a notice of an upcoming meeting at least 15 days in advance. Because the Office of the Federal Register is shut down (it is part...
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