April 20, 2015
SPSP would like to provide you an update on H.R. 1806, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015. Recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, the legislation in current form contains strong implications for the social and behavioral sciences. Particularly, the bill reallocates the National Science Foundation's research dollars away from the social and behavioral sciences and toward the natural sciences and engineering. The legislation contains $140 million less than President Obama requested for the social and behavioral sciences. The legislation would result in a nearly 45% cut in NSF funding for the social and behavioral sciences. The Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) released the following statement earlier today:
"Current practice for prioritizing research investments at NSF relies on technical experts working at NSF, a world-renown and highly regarded merit review process, and a vast network of scholars housed at universities and laboratories across the country. Picking winners and losers among the scientific fields--as H.R. 1806 proposes to do--based on anything less than these highest of standards would be a disservice to the scientific community and the taxpayers whose funds NSF is responsible for stewarding.Secondly, within the funding levels authorized for NSF for FY 2016 and 2017 is a cut of nearly 45 percent to NSF's Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE). SBE, the smallest of NSF's directorates, accounts for less than 5 percent of the entire NSF budget. However, the SBE directorate funds approximately 55 percent of all university-based basic social and behavioral science research in the United States. Its impact is profound."