Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Two NSF Grants That Have Drawn Republican Scrutiny

Paul Baskin, Chronicle of Higher Education
December 8, 2014

The Republican leadership of the House science committee has repeatedly criticized the National Science Foundation’s research choices. In many cases, detailed examinations have shown that, while there may be partisan reasons underlying the complaints, the disputes are often marked by misunderstandings. Two examples concern projects involving the environment and mechanics.  Read more

What Do House Republicans Want From the NSF?

Paul Basken, Chronicle of Higher Education
December 8, 2014

Republicans leading the House science committee have spent much of the past two years ratcheting up the pressure on the National Science Foundation. They’ve sought information on several dozen grants awarded by the NSF. They’ve made increasingly strident attacks on some of its choices. And for several weeks now, committee representatives have been trekking out to NSF offices in Arlington, Va., to inspect grant paperwork.

The oversight campaign has left researchers worried that the committee is trying to impose partisan priorities on scientific processes. But a committee aide involved in the work said the panel’s escalating pressure could ease soon. All it would take, the aide said, is for the NSF to meet a demand made by Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the committee’s chairman: that each new grant award include a brief summary explaining the project’s value.  "Immediately, it would change the nature of the dialogue," the aide said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.  Read more

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Spending Down, Atlantic Philanthropies to Share Lessons Learned

Philanthropy News Digest
November 4, 2014
With $1 billion left to spend before it closes its doors in 2016, Atlantic Philanthropies is planning to award even larger grants and fellowships than it has in the past and to share the lessons it has learned in the process of giving away $7.5 billion over more than thirty years, the New York Times reports.  Read more

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New Rules for Human-Subject Research Are Delayed and Debated

November 3, 2014
Christopher Shea, Chronicle of Higher Education

When I. Glenn Cohen, a professor at Harvard Law School and director of a bioethics center there, helped to organize a conference in 2012 about the future of research on human subjects, he says he worried about being "late to the party."
In 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services had floated some ideas for changes in the rules governing such research. The aim was both to better protect the subjects and to reduce the much-resented bureaucratic burden on professors and university staff members.  Mr. Cohen needn’t have worried about tardiness. Today, more than two years after the conference, the regulations remain just where they were in 2011: still under development.  Read more

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Columbia U. to Pay $9-Million to Settle Federal Claims Over AIDS Grants

Andrew Mytelka, Chronicle of Higher Education 
October 29, 2014
Columbia University has admitted wrongdoing and agreed to pay $9-million to settle a federal lawsuit accusing it of mismanaging federal grants for AIDS research, reports Capital, an online news service covering New York.

According to the office of the federal prosecutor that handled the case, the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs, a unit of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, filed claims for reimbursement citing work that was not done. Columbia received millions of dollars under more than 75 federal grants to prevent AIDS and HIV, but it was required to track the work of employees and submit that tally in order to obtain the grant money.  Read more

Monday, October 27, 2014

NSF-Backed Scientists Raise Alarm Over Deepening Congressional Inquiry

Paul Basken, Chronicle of Higher Education
October 16, 2014

Two years into the latest round of attacks by Congressional Republicans on federally sponsored research, an escalating effort by the House science committee to find fault with the National Science Foundation is taking a growing toll on researchers.
NSF grants to some 50 professors across the country are now being investigated by the Republican-controlled committee. More than a dozen of the researchers, in comments to The Chronicle, said they had little idea what the politicians were seeking, but warned of a dangerous precedent in what they described as a witch hunt.  Read more

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Harvard University’s Climate Change Solutions Fund

HKS Research Administration Office
July 16, 2014 

Harvard University’s Climate Change Solutions Fund will begin accepting proposals from Harvard University faculty (and students with confirmed faculty mentors) that shape progress toward a sustainable future. Research proposals are encouraged from applicants in the sciences, as well as those who are experts in public policy, law, business, economics, and other relevant domains. For more information, please visit the kink below, and please see President Faust’s announcement letter about the program.