Grant applications were delayed or deadlines missed, funding sources were depleted, college careers and jobs threatened, experts say. There were risks to research into juvenile diabetes and women's health, to time-sensitive missions to
Some lost headway is recoverable, experts say, but some may not be. It will take weeks, months or longer to figure out the full impact.
Ten days into the shutdown, the frustration for one assistant professor at the
"This is a huge mess," said
Schniepp said he and a colleague at
"You have to know that entire scientific careers built up over many years depend on federal funding," Schniepp said. "It is clear that in some cases this will be as bad as destroying entire careers -- for instance, if a researcher cannot get a grant at a critical time, she/he may be denied tenure at their academic institutions and lose their jobs."
NSF is the largest grant source for the college, said
October is a big month for grant deadlines, experts say, so the timing of the shutdown was unfortunate. Some professors grew concerned as they waited for news about their proposals, Lopez said, "but they knew, like everybody else, to sit back and wait."
With the government now reopened, she said, NSF and other agencies do have some flexibility to reset deadlines, an option typically exercised after a natural disaster such as a hurricane or massive tornado.
As bad as the shutdown was, she said, a worse crisis was averted when
"Thank goodness we got stopped short of the cliff," Lopez said, "when it might really have started getting ugly."
'What can go awry?'
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