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.