Thursday, February 20, 2014

Researchers Resist Pressure to Show Impact of Their Work

February 9, 2014
Aisha Labi, Chronicle of Higher Education

A few years ago, Philip Moriarty, a professor of physics at the University of Nottingham, had had enough. Mr. Moriarty was a member of a peer-review body for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, one of the agencies in Britain that control the purse strings of academic research. In 2009 the council began to require that applicants for grants include a "pathways to impact" statement outlining the potential economic and societal effects of their work and who might benefit from it and how. The professor objected, and eventually he said he would no longer review applications. "I said it would be unconscionable to take part in the process," he says.
Mr. Moriarty is one of a growing chorus of British academics troubled by the extent to which publicly financed research is now required to demonstrate its economic impact and value to society and how that emphasis may steer the direction of research.   Read more

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Poli Sci Victory, For Now

Janaury 24, 2014
Michael Stratford, Inside Higher Ed

Supporters of social science breathed a sigh of relief last week when Congress effectively repealed strict limits on how the National Science Foundation could fund certain types of political science research.

The omnibus appropriations bill that Congress passed and the President signed into law last week did not include the controversial provision that had, for more than nine months, restricted NSF funding for political science to only projects that directly promoted national security and U.S. economic interests.  Read more

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

New Reforms to Federal Grant Policies

January 17, 2014

In February last year I blogged about the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)’s request for comments on proposed federal grant policy reforms. These policies, contained in multiple documents known as circulars, contain Fed-wide regulations on spending, not just for research grants. Many grantees and stakeholder organizations came forth and contributed comments. This information was taken into account by OMB to bring a number of these changes into fruition. The new guidance, “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards”, was announced by OMB in December as one consolidated omnicircular. Here are just a few highlights:   Read more