Some experts say the long-term effects on scientists' research and the government's ability to retain the best researchers took a hit.
(Image source: WGCL ) BY CLIFF JUDY Now that the U.S. government shutdown’s over, the inevitable stories begin to come out asking what was the actual fallout? In the field of science, experts say we may not know for years. Gaps in studies and statistical analysis could be devastating, but it's just too early to tell. The cuts hit everywhere from NASA — where LiveScience reports less than four percent of staff stayed at work — to cancer studies or research teams in Antarctica. (Via Space.com & LiveScience ) Thursday morning, local TV stations across the country showed workers returning to government labs like the CDC in Atlanta where scientists now go back to preparing for flu season. “This facility had been working on a skeleton crew ever since the shutdown started a couple of weeks ago. Now, those researchers and scientists can resume work of trying to stay ahead of the next outbreak.” (Via WGCL ) Politico reports some in the industry worry the U.S. can’t keep the best and brightest researchers from leaving for the private sector if shut down — and therefore, paycheck and research — threats continue. (Via Politico ) The executive director at the American Public Health Association, Georges Benjamin, asked Politico, “Would you go work for someone where the funding is squishy?” USDA researchers in Ames, Iowa, told reporters they wanted to volunteer to keep their projects going even while worrying about pay. (Via WOI-TV ) USDA federal scientist Thad Stanton: “I think to say that the last three weeks have been stressful would be an understatement.” Politico notes of the five researchers working for the federal government with Nobel Prizes to their names, four were furloughed during the shutdown.