Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Consortium warns U.S. policymakers against clear-cutting selected science budgets

Date:
July 12, 2011
Source:
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Summary:
More than 140 scientific societies and universities today sent a letter urging U.S. policymakers, in their need to cut spending, to avoid singling out specific programs -- such as the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences -- and to refrain from bypassing independent peer review.

More than 140 scientific societies and universities has sent a letter urging U.S. policymakers, in their need to cut spending, to avoid singling out specific programs -- such as the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences -- and to refrain from bypassing independent peer review.

Related Articles


The letter, routed to key lawmakers who are preparing to debate the Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill for fiscal year 2012, opposes any attempts to eliminate or substantially reduce funding for particular research programs. Defunding specific grants or entire scientific disciplines "sets a dangerous precedent that, in the end, will inhibit scientific progress and our international competitiveness," the group warned.

"Everyone understands that legislators face tremendous challenges related to the deficit and the national economy," said Joanne Carney, director of the Office of Government Relations at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). "But recently, selected research areas have been unfairly trivialized based on misinformation intended to challenge the scientific review process."

Clear-cutting of support for key fields of research "could have a chilling effect on scientists and young people considering a future in science," the group said in its letter dated July 11.

Unfamiliar or seemingly exotic research topics have long been subjected to ridicule, AAAS has previously noted. From 1975 to 1989, for example, the late Sen. William Proxmire (D-Wisconsin) mocked research projects with titles such as "The Sexual Behavior of the Screw-Worm Fly" -- a parasitic insect whose larvae, or maggots, attack livestock and even people, with devastating results. More recently, Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) and John McCain (R-Arizona) have mislabeled as frivolous important projects related to understanding addiction, global climate change, biodiversity and antibiotic mechanisms.

Interdisciplinary research -- integrating the physical and biological sciences with insights from social and behavioral fields -- has become increasingly essential to scientific progress and innovation, Carney pointed out. The National Science Foundation is unique among federal agencies in that its research portfolio supports all science and engineering disciplines.

The computer revolution, for example, and the transformation of analog data into digital records has spanned the biological and social sciences and could lead to better brain imaging techniques. Similarly, major national investments in U.S. technology will require insights to how people interact with machines. The multi-billion dollar Geographical Information Systems (GIS) industry, which resulted from National Science Foundation (NSF) research, now routinely supports effective disaster-response efforts in the wake of events such as the September 11, 2011 attacks in New York City.

Social, behavioral, and economic research also sheds light on U.S. demographic trends, criminal behaviors, decision-making processes essential to military and national security operations, prosperity indicators such as Gross Domestic Product, and much more.

"Simply put, we need all scientists and scientific disciplines working -- alone and together -- to advance our knowledge base," the group concluded. "Allocating federal investments competitively through scientific merit review is the very process that has led this country to be a world leader in science."

The letter was supported by AAAS and an array of other top professional societies, including the Association of American Universities (AAU), the American Chemical Society, the American Economic Association, and the American Physical Society, among many others. Universities participating in the letter are located in California, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, and elsewhere.

Fiscal year 2011 funding for NSF's Directorate for Social, Behavior, and Economic Sciences (SBE) has been estimated at $255 million, the same amount invested in 2010. For 2012, NSF has requested $301 million for its SBE directorate, which is 3.9% of its total budget proposal.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Association for the Advancement of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Association for the Advancement of Science. "Consortium warns U.S. policymakers against clear-cutting selected science budgets." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110712105815.htm>.
American Association for the Advancement of Science. (2011, July 12). Consortium warns U.S. policymakers against clear-cutting selected science budgets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110712105815.htm
American Association for the Advancement of Science. "Consortium warns U.S. policymakers against clear-cutting selected science budgets." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110712105815.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins