Almost 20% of American scientists consider moving out of the country in order to carry out their research due to the poor funding climate in the US. According to a recent study headed by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (PDF), the stalemate in Washington and the draconian sequester are feeding directly into this problem.
Certainly the brain drain has begun. Downward trends in scientific research investment at the federal level over the last ten years are having a profound impact on the ability of America to remain competitive in the world. Eighty percent of the 3,700 respondents say they spend more of their time writing research grants now than in 2010. 67% were receiving less grant money resulting in fewer researchers being paid. This has a significant affect on the economic impact of federal research spending, not to mention the ability to make new discoveries in science, technology and medicine.
Sweeping federal cuts due to the sequestration has hit federal granting agencies to the tune of about $9.3 billion. Cuts to the National Institutes of Health alone have resulted in 700 fewer grants being funded this year. While the United States does invest significant real dollars in research and development, it is the only country that has seen a reduction in federal investment as a percentage of the GDP in the last two years. In contrast, other countries, particularly in Asia, are investing heavily.