National Science Foundation Update

This week the House Subcommittee on Research and Technology, which resides within the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, held a markup session on the FIRST Act of 2014 (Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology).  Among other things, this bill provides authority for the National Science Foundation.  The initial draft of this bill proposed a major cut to the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences division at NSF.  Some of these proposed cuts have since been reduced.  Prof. Rick. K. Wilson of Rice University provides a brief summary:

“This morning the House Subcommittee on Research and Technology met to markup HB 4186. The initial bill cut current funding levels for the
Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences from $243 million to $150
million. In discussions during the markup the Republican side argued
the importance of increasing money to the “real science” directorates.
This was to ensure economic competitiveness. (Amazing that economics is
not brought to bear to understand economic competitiveness.) An
amendment by Rep. Lipinski increased SBE funding to $200 million. The
amendment was accepted in an unusual sign of bipartisan support.

However, that still constitutes a cut of $43 million to the current
budget (equivalent to eliminating the Economics, Sociology and Political
Science programs at NSF). This, of course, is still $72 million less
than recommended by NSF.”

Prof. Wilson’s longer exposition on the topic is here, and provides an excellent summary as well as a prescription for action.

[Cross-posted at The Mischiefs of Faction]