Round up: Senator Coburn’s report on National Science Foundation funding

There has been a good deal of debate across the web this week following the publication of a report by United States Senator Tom Coburn, claiming that “very few of the proposals submitted for NSF financial support represented transformative scientific research.”

Here is just some of the recent coverage and responses:

Read the full report here.

We want to hear your views: tell us your thoughts about this publication and what should the social and behavioral science community be doing to respond?

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Paula Skedsvold

Although the National Science Foundation seeks proposals that are “potentially transformative,” the federal agency acknowledges that these proposals may be difficult to identify and “their transformative nature and utility might not be recognized until years later.” NSF also states that conventional projects may lead to unexpected and transformative results. Unfortunately, the report recommends the elimination of the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate. Although this recommendation is not likely to gain traction, it does not make sense. Why eliminate funding for research that lies at the core of many of this nation’s challenges including education, health, intelligence, and defense? Also,… Read more »

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