In late April 2014 the National Science Board (NSB), which is the governing board of the National Science Foundation, submitted a highly unusual statement to Congress in response to pending FIRST Act legislation. The NSB argued that the FIRST Act’s “specification of budget allocations to each NSF Directorate would significantly impede NSF’s flexibility to deploy funds to support the best ideas” in science. NSB’s statement and the subsequent massive opposition from the science community have stopped the progress of the FIRST Act. In addition, at the August Board meeting, NSF Social, Behavioral, and Economic (SBE) Sciences Assistant Director Joanne Tornow did a superb job of articulating why the SBE Directorate remains essential to federal support for the nation’s basic research infrastructure. Read more on the NSB in ASA Executive Officer’s Vantage Point column.
I find it disappointing even inunltisg that the messages from CIHR and NSERC are so similar, and clearly drafted in unison. Are these actually the words of our granting council presidents, or instead a press release drafted by a government bureaucrat? As a scientist, I would have liked to hear from the head of my granting council a frank and honest assessment of how this budget will impact science and scientists in Canada. Sadly, I think we’ll have to figure it out for ourselves.