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