White House cabinet pick questions value of sponsored research
- South Carolina Congressional Rep. Rick Mulvaney has been tapped to head the White House Office of Budget Management under the Donald Trump administration. And according to Vox, his views about scientific research and federal support for the same could have major implications for higher education.
- Vox cites a now-deleted Facebook post from Mulvaney, in which he questioned the veracity of research of the Zika virus and its role in curing or preventing birth defects in children born to mothers infected by the virus during pregnancy.
- Mulvaney's claims, in tandem with comments from other appointees on climate change and other scientific phenomena, could be a signal of budget implication for colleges and universities receiving federal funding for certain research centers and initiatives.
While political ideologies sometimes extend into views about scientific theory, sponsored research has typically weathered storms of ideological change. Among the Big 12 research institutions, largely stationed in conservative states, the institutional research imprint is among the best in the country and receives major support from lawmakers and agencies for work.
Funding could change for very specific areas of research like climate change or illnesses which do not significantly impact American populations, but overall, there would be little reason for college leaders or researchers to expect shifts in the nation's research imperative, beyond elected officials challenging the veracity of the research itself.