As the government shutdown drags on for more than a month, it has begun to affect scientific research on campus, already forcing some faculty and students to adjust their plans.
“The shutdown has definitely affected my ability to do collaborative projects,” said Patsy Dickinson, Josiah Little professor of natural sciences. “The other potential impact for a lot of faculty is that the National Science Foundation (NSF) is shut down. I have a proposal that was submitted last fall, and I was expecting an answer by early March. But now I suspect that notification will be delayed.”
Dickinson’s research plans were heavily affected over break, as she and two Bowdoin students flew to Arizona only to discover that the research lab where they planned to study lobsters was closed due to the shutdown. She and the students expected to conduct molecular biology and receptor research, but the shutdown forced them to simply conduct some data analysis.
“It wasn’t completely wasted time. We got a lot done,” said Dickinson. “But we could have gotten just as much done here and not have to sit on a plane. It was very frustrating.”
Dickinson currently doesn’t expect the shutdown to have a noticeable impact on on-campus research during the summer, but notes that the shutdown has already affected job and internship prospects for current students. The government shutdown has closed the NSF and NASA, meaning that students cannot currently apply to those agencies.