Tuesday, April 29, 2014

NSF’s Board Fights Back Against Threat of Tighter Legislative Control

Paul Basken, Chronicle of Higher Education
April 24, 2014

The governing board of the National Science Foundation spoke out on Thursday against a Congressional proposal to limit its grant-writing authority, saying the changes would needlessly hinder scientific research.
The National Science Board, in a rare public response to a piece of pending legislation, said in a written statement that it saw no need for a plan to give Congress division-by-division authority over its budget allocations. In rejecting the idea, the board also promised stepped-up internal oversight of transparency and accountability processes at the NSF.
The dispute concerns a bill, known as the First Act, that would set policy rules and authorize two years of budget levels for the NSF and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The House science committee is expected to vote soon on a version of the bill, after a subcommittee approved it last month.  Read more

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Don’t Rob the Social Sciences of Peer Review and Public Dollars

March 31, 2014
Editorial by Edward Liebow, Chronicle of Higher Education

Legislation making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives would significantly reduce National Science Foundation funds for the social sciences and interfere with the agency’s peer-­review process. The alarming proposal, known as the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology Act of 2014, or FIRST Act, threatens to dismantle social- and behavioral-science research in the United States.

Under the bill, Congress would, for the first time, fund each individual directorate in the NSF rather than the agency as a whole. As proposed, every directorate would see its budget increase or stay essentially flat, with the exception of the directorates for social, behavioral, and economic sciences and for international and integrative activities. Those directorates would experience a 25-percent and a 17-percent decrease, respectively.  

Read more