News & AnalysisU.S. BUDGET

Congress Limits NSF Funding for Political Science

Science  29 Mar 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6127, pp. 1510-1511
DOI: 10.1126/science.339.6127.1510

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Summary

Congress inserted language into the final 2013 spending bill last week that jeopardizes the future of political science research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The language prohibits NSF from spending any money on political science "except for research projects that the [NSF director] certifies as promoting national security or the economic interests of the United States." Now NSF, which provides 95% of the government's overall support for academic political science, is in a difficult position. Should it continue with business as usual for the $11 million program and risk antagonizing Congress? Or should it fund only those projects that clearly meet the criteria and disregard many important topics in the field?