Higher Education and academic research
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Higher education and academic/non-profit research in the world
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New chair of science board helps make NSF’s case to U.S. Congress

New chair of science board helps make NSF’s case to U.S. Congress | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Maria Zuber helped craft campaign to rebut attacks on NSF’s grantsmaking process (...) - Science, by Jeffrey Mervis, May 31, 2016

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Budget 2017: Mandatory spending dims prospects for Obama’s budget

Budget 2017: Mandatory spending dims prospects for Obama’s budget | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Republicans oppose president’s attempt to sidestep caps in budget agreement.


President Barack Obama and the Republican-led Congress reached an agreement last December on a 2-year spending plan that was supposed to lead to a temporary truce in the annual federal budget wars. But this week Obama broke that truce, at least in the eyes of most Republicans, with a 2017 budget request that aims to use revenue not covered by that agreement to boost the budgets of several research agencies. The fiscal legerdemain is likely to trigger even more of a partisan standoff with Congress and darken an already cloudy picture for U.S. researchers who rely on federal funding. (...) - Science, by Jeffrey Mervis, Feb. 11, 2016

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NSF peer review remains target for Congress

NSF peer review remains target for Congress | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

House science panel again defines what research is in the national interest.

 

Republican legislators today reiterated their distrust of the National Science Foundation (NSF), with the science committee for the U.S. House of Representatives approving legislation that would tighten its oversight of NSF’s merit-review process. The vote is the latest twist in a bitter fight between many House Republicans and the U.S. scientific establishment over the rules of engagement on federal funding for research. (...) - Science, by Jeffrey Mervis, 8 October 2015

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[US] House spending panel does its best to hide large cut to NSF social and geosciences research

[US] House spending panel does its best to hide large cut to NSF social and geosciences research | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Those fields would lose 16% after lawmakers protect other scientific disciplines within a nearly flat budget.

 

A congressional spending panel has proposed a 16% cut in funding next year for the social and geosciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF). But you’ll need a magnifying glass and a calculator to come up with that number. (...) - Science, by Jeffrey Mervis, 22 May 2015

[US] House spending panel does its best to hide large cut to NSF social and geosciences research

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Controversy awaits as House Republicans roll out long-awaited bill to revamp U.S. research policy

Controversy awaits as House Republicans roll out long-awaited bill to revamp U.S. research policy | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it
New America COMPETES Act includes host of proposed changes

 

The science committee in the U.S. House of Representatives took a major step today in its 2-year effort to reshape federal research policy, introducing a long-awaited and controversial bill that covers the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), research at the Department of Energy (DOE), and federal science education policy. (...) - Science, by Jeffrey Mervis & David Malakoff, 15 April 2015

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[USA] University Spending on Research Was Up Slightly in 2013

New data released by the National Science Foundation show that research and development spending by universities -- from all sources -- edged up slightly, to $67.2 billion in 2013. When adjusted for inflation, that reflects an increase of less than half of a percent. The largest source of funds was the federal government, at $39.5 billion. The NSF also released data on which universities spend the most, a ranking led for many years by Johns Hopkins University, where a majority of the R&D funds are spent by the Applied Physics Laboratory.

(...) -  @insidehighered, February 9, 2015

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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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Could shrinking NSF’s beloved Indicators be a boon to researchers?

Could shrinking NSF’s beloved Indicators be a boon to researchers? | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Agency rethinks approach to its massive biennial statistical report.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is pondering that seemingly paradoxical approach as part of rethinking Science and Engineering Indicators—the agency’s massive biennial statistical bible covering everything from spending on research and education to regional development, trade, and public attitudes toward science. (...) - Science, by Jeffrey Mervis, May 4, 2016

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NSF breaks new ground in reprimanding authors of flawed Science paper

NSF breaks new ground in reprimanding authors of flawed Science paper | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Editor opts for retraction after rejecting correction ordered by agency.


Retractions of scientific papers are common. But the circumstances surrounding this week’s retraction of a 12-year-old Science paper, involving research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), appear to be highly unusual. (...) - Science, by Jeffrey Mervis, Feb. 4, 2016

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Social scientists are alarmed by new legislation on NSF grants

Social scientists are alarmed by new legislation on NSF grants | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Representative Lamar Smith may be among the least popular members of Congress with social scientists. As chair of the House science committee, the Texas Republican has pushed legislation that would result in significantly lower funding levels for social science research supported by the National Science Foundation, and he has repeatedly questioned grants in social science disciplines.(...) - InsideHigherEd, by Scott Jaschik, August 3, 2015

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Key House Republican says 70% of NSF’s research dollars should go to "core" science—not geo or social research

Key House Republican says 70% of NSF’s research dollars should go to "core" science—not geo or social research | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Representative John Culberson spells out new metric for research spending.

 

The congressional noose around research in the social sciences and the geosciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF) got pulled a little tighter today as an influential legislator unveiled a new and controversial budget metric as part of his blueprint for the agency. (...) -  by Jeffrey Mervis, Science, 14 May 2015

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NSF unveils plan to make scientific papers free

NSF unveils plan to make scientific papers free | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

As expected, agency will link abstracts to papers on journals’ websites.

 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) today released a long-anticipated policy that will require its grantees to make their peer-reviewed research papers freely available within 12 months of publication in a journal. The agency is not creating its own public archive of full-text papers, but instead will send those searching for papers to publishers’ own websites. (...) -Science, by Jocely Kaiser, 18 March 2015

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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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