If Congress has its way, the next round of grants by the National Science Foundation, a hallmark of government funding for graduate students and scientists, will no longer be based on scientific merit. Proposals will not be reviewed by panels of preeminent scholars across the United States, as they have been for more than a half-century. Instead, they would all be “in the national interest,” with strict new rules adopted earlier this month by a Republican House committee.
More, the foundation would be stripped of its control of its $7.3 billion budget. Congress has told the foundation exactly how much money to allocate to specified areas of research. Funding in social sciences and economics, for example, would be cut in half to $150 million. Climate-change studies, including crucial research in the Arctic, would be cut 8 to 12 percent. And, despite House claims that the U.S. must beef up its science, technology, engineering and math education workforce, the foundation education budget stands to be cut by 10 percent.This is a very bad idea!
See my recent post on Lamar Smith, Chair of the House Science Committee.