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Battle between NSF and House science committee escalates: How did it get this bad?

Battle between NSF and House science committee escalates: How did it get this bad? | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Staffers get an unprecedented look at confidential material; ranking Democrat lobs new criticism at panel chair.

 

Four times this past summer, in a spare room on the top floor of the headquarters of the National Science Foundation (NSF) outside of Washington, D.C., two congressional staffers spent hours poring over material relating to 20 research projects that NSF has funded over the past decade. Each folder contained confidential information that included the initial application, reviewer comments on its merit, correspondence between program officers and principal investigators, and any other information that had helped NSF decide to fund the project. (...) - by Jeffrey Mervis, Science, 02/10/2014

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Data check: Not so EAGER for NSF funding?

Data check: Not so EAGER for NSF funding? | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Why a program that offers a near-sure bet on winning a grant has so few applicants.

 

How do consumers react after learning that an online bank account has been hacked? Do they take their business elsewhere? Do they limit their online activities to reduce their exposure to such invasions?

Those were some of the questions that intrigued Rahul Telang, a professor of information systems and management at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who studies the economics of information security. With data breaches an increasingly common problem, he suspected the behavior of hacked consumers could be having a significant impact on global commerce. But Telang didn’t have enough preliminary data to win a grant to study the issue from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which last year funded only 22% of the nearly 50,000 proposals it received. (...) - by Jeffrey Mervis, Science, 20 August 2014

 

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U.S. Senate Panel Gives NSF a Small Boost

U.S. Senate Panel Gives NSF a Small Boost | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Legislators meet president's request but fall short of House level.

 

A U.S. Senate spending panel has met the president’s 2015 request for the National Science Foundation (NSF)—and that’s depressing news for the agency. (...) - by Jeffrey Mervis, Science, 3 June 2014

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U.S. Political Scientists Relieved That Coburn Language Is Gone

U.S. Political Scientists Relieved That Coburn Language Is Gone | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

NSF will revert to traditional criteria in reviewing proposals in political science.

The 2014 spending bill that the U.S. Congress passed last week renders moot part of Justin Esarey’s recent grant application to the National Science Foundation (NSF). But Esarey, an assistant professor of political science at Rice University in Houston, Texas, couldn’t be happier.

Esarey was one of hundreds of researchers who tweaked their pending proposals to accommodate a directive from Congress that any awards made by NSF’s division of political science must foster national security or economic development. The language, crafted by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), was adopted last March as an amendment to a bill setting out NSF’s 2013 budget. (Like most policy “riders” to appropriations bills, it applied only to that fiscal year.) (...) - Science, by Jeffrey Mervis, 2014-01-23

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U.S. Science Agencies Get Some Relief in 2014 Budget

U.S. Science Agencies Get Some Relief in 2014 Budget | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Physical science wins bigger increases than biomedical research.

The ghost of former President George W. Bush permeates the 2014 budget that Congress released last night.  His presence is good news for physical scientists, but less cheery for biomedical researchers, as Congress reserved some of the biggest spending increases for NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE). The National Institutes of Health (NIH), meanwhile, got a $1 billion increase that is drawing mixed reviews from research advocates. (...) - Science, by Jeffrey Mervis, 14 January 2014

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US: Inaccurate predictions

Peer review fails at predicting success.

 

Peer reviewers for biology grant proposals submitted to the US National Science Foundation (NSF) do not accurately predict the apparent success of projects, according to a study (S. M. Scheiner and L. M. Bouchie Front. Ecol. Environ. 11, 406–407; 2013). Reviewers' scores and rankings for 41 environmental-biology projects funded by the NSF in 2002 did not correlate well with productivity measures, including the number of publications produced by 2012 and the mean number of citations per year. But reviewers do provide value by weeding out flawed proposals and suggesting improvements, says co-author Samuel Scheiner, programme director for the environmental-biology division of the NSF in Arlington, Virginia. - Nature 502, 713, 30 October 2013

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NSF Advises Political Science Applicants to Pay Heed to Senator's Amendment

NSF Advises Political Science Applicants to Pay Heed to Senator's Amendment | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Coburn language requires NSF to consider economic and national security implications of proposed research

New rules.Acting NSF Director Cora Marrett explains how the agency will review the next round of political science grant applications.

Political scientists trying to win a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) should explain how their research will contribute to the nation’s economic development or security. (...) - by Jeffrey Mervis, ScienceInsider, 2013/11/05

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USA: NSF Is on a Budget Roll

USA: NSF Is on a Budget Roll | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

What sequester?

 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has escaped the worst ravages of the mandatory spending cuts, known as sequestration, that went into effect on 1 March across the federal government. And based on preliminary action in Congress, NSF's hot streak could continue into 2014.

 

According to a final spending plan recently posted by the agency, NSF's budget for the current fiscal year ending on 30 September is $149 million lower than in 2012. But that drop of 2.1%, to $6.884 billion, is less than half the 5% decline for the entire civilian government triggered by the sequestration mandated in the 2011 Budget Control Act. That 5% cut is a fact of life for most other research agencies, including the $30 billion National Institutes of Health. (...) - ScienceInsider, by Jeffrey Mervis on 9 July 2013

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USA: Pressure Builds on Congress to Kill NSF Bill

Several former top officials at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the chairs of its oversight body yesterday wrote to Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) urging him to withdraw a bill proposing changes to grant-making at the agency.

In one of two 8 May letters to Smith, the former officials say that the draft legislation, entitled "The High-Quality Research Act," "will have a chilling and detrimental impact on the merit-based review process." Smith, who is chair of the House of Representatives science committee, has said that the legislation is intended to weed out projects not worthy of federal support. But the letter writers say that "rather than improving the quality of research, [the changes] would do just the opposite." (...) - ScienceInsider, by Jeffrey Mervis on 9 May 2013

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Obama Promises to Protect Peer Review in Salute to NAS

Obama Promises to Protect Peer Review in Salute to NAS | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

President Barack Obama faces plenty of critics in Washington these days. But he found an appreciative audience today at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS), where he delivered a speech celebrating the august body's 150th anniversary. In addition to touting his administration's support for research, Obama took an oblique swipe at political adversaries in Congress who want to require the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other funding agencies to adopt new grant funding criteria.(...) - ScienceInsider, by David Malakoff on 29 April 2013

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USA: Current NSF Grantees Are Protected From Sequester

USA: Current NSF Grantees Are Protected From Sequester | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Existing National Science Foundation (NSF) grantees won't be affected by the government-wide funding cut, known as the sequester, scheduled to go into effect on Friday.(...) - ScienceInsider, by Jeffrey Mervis on 27 February 2013

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Research and development: Falls in funding

US research and development still suffering from budget battles.

 

US federal spending on scientific research and development is projected to have fallen by 4% from 2011 by the end of this year, according to a report from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) in Arlington, Virginia. The report, which collected data from the 27 US science-funding agencies, shows that spending reached US$140 billion in 2011 and is expected to slip to $134 billion this year. The 2014 total is likely to be even lower, says an NSF spokesperson, because it does not account for a 2013 across-the-board cut to discretionary spending. - Nature 513, 451, 17 September 2014

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US: A radical change in peer review

US: A radical change in peer review | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

A pilot project to ease pressure on NSF's vaunted peer-review system required grant applicants to review seven competing proposals.

 

A recent pilot project by the National Science Foundation (NSF) aimed at easing the strain on its vaunted merit review system featured an unusual twist: Grant applicants were required to review seven proposals from peers competing for the same pot of money. The approach created a captive—and highly motivated—pool of reviewers for program managers within NSF's Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation Division, saving them time. And using mail reviews rather than panels also saved NSF money. The quality of the reviews also seemed to be comparable to what is generated with NSF's traditional approach to peer review. NSF officials are weighing whether to expand the pilot to other programs. (...) - by Jeffrey Mervis, Science, 17 July 2014

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NSF's Science Board Criticizes Bill to Alter Agency's Programs

NSF's Science Board Criticizes Bill to Alter Agency's Programs | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Unusual step by NSF's oversight body highlights ongoing dispute with Congress.

The presidentially appointed oversight body to the National Science Foundation (NSF) has taken the unprecedented step of publicly criticizing pending legislation that it feels would be harmful to the $7 billion research agency. (...) - by Jeffrey Mervis, Science, April 24 2014

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Final 2014 Budget Helps Science Agencies Rebound

A $1.1 trillion spending plan for 2014 that Congress is expected to approve this week is getting mixed reviews from research advocates. They are applauding budget increases awarded to many agencies that fund the physical sciences, including NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy. But biomedical lobbyists are less enthusiastic about a $1 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health, saying it goes only partway to undoing the damage caused by the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration made in 2013. (...) - by Jeffrey Mervis, Science, 17 January 2014

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US: NSF Launches Internal Review to Mend Relations With Congress

US: NSF Launches Internal Review to Mend Relations With Congress | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Panel will address concerns that NSF does a poor job of giving reasons for funding decisions.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is taking another shot at explaining itself to Congress and the public. And it has a lot riding on the outcome.

In recent years, several Republican legislators have criticized the $7 billion agency for funding research that they consider to be frivolous or undeserving of federal support. Last month, the science committee in the House of Representatives held a hearing on draft legislation that would impose new requirements on NSF before it makes any award. (...) by Jeffrey Mervis, Science, 10 December 2013

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Social scientists hit back at grant rules

Social scientists hit back at grant rules | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Researchers seek to fend off restrictions on National Science Foundation grant programmes. 

It is not unusual for conservative politicians in the United States to question the value of social-science research. Studies of anything from global social networks to the history of conservation in South America have proved irresistible to Republicans keen to argue that funding would reap greater rewards elsewhere. But this year, researchers in the field received a sharp shock when those criticisms morphed into tangible restrictions. (...) - Nature, by Sarah Zhang, 12/11/2013

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House Science Committee Drafts Controversial Bill on U.S. Research Funding

House Science Committee Drafts Controversial Bill on U.S. Research Funding | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

A key congressional committee is planning a hearing next month on legislation that could give several U.S. science agencies new marching orders. The details are still a secret, but expect fireworks. (...) ScienceInsider, by Jeffrey Mervis, 27 September, 2013

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House Panel Questions Obama's Plan to Reorganize Science Education

House Panel Questions Obama's Plan to Reorganize Science Education | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Democrats and Republicans on the House of Representatives science committee agreed yesterday that the federal government needs to take a more coordinated approach to improving science education. But that's about the only aspect of the Obama administration's proposed reorganization of 226 programs at a dozen agencies that they liked. (...) - ScienceInsider, by Jeffrey Mervis on 5 June 2013

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Aux Etats-Unis, les Républicains veulent tenir la science en laisse

Aux Etats-Unis, les Républicains veulent tenir la science en laisse | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

L'homme sur la photo ci-dessus s'appelle Lamar Smith. Et depuis quelques semaines, ce Républicain, qui préside depuis 2012 le Comité sur la science, l'espace et la technologie de la Chambre des représentants (où les Républicains sont majoritaires) inquiète le monde de la recherche américaine. Pourquoi ? Via un projet de loi, Lamar Smith a décidé d'encadrer la National Science Foundation (NSF) et en particulier la manière dont cette agence fédérale indépendante créée en 1950 attribue ses bourses de recherche. (...) - Le Monde, par Pierre Barthélémy, 01/05/2013

 

 

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U.S. Lawmaker Proposes New Criteria for Choosing NSF Grants

U.S. Lawmaker Proposes New Criteria for Choosing NSF Grants | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

The new chair of the House of Representatives science committee has drafted a bill that, in effect, would replace peer review at the National Science Foundation (NSF) with a set of funding criteria chosen by Congress. For good measure, it would also set in motion a process to determine whether the same criteria should be adopted by every other federal science agency.(...) - ScienceInsider, by Jeffrey Mervis on 28 April 2013

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UK research councils could face mergers

UK research councils could face mergers | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it
Wide-ranging review edges towards single funding pot.

 

A government review that quietly began earlier this month could lead to major changes at the agencies charged with distributing much of the United Kingdom’s scientific funding. (...) - Nature, by Geoff Brumfiel, 30 January 2013

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