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Coburn and NSF

- May 26, 2011

Tom Coburn has a new report on waste at the NSF. As he did last time, he targets the social sciences and proposes to eliminate the NSF’s Social, Behavioral, and Economics directorate. Political science still draws particular ire:

Rather than ramping up the amount spent on political science and other social and behavioral research, NSF’s mission should be redirected towards truly transformative sciences with practical uses outside of academic circles and clear benefits to mankind and the world.

Ouch! In the process of delegitimizing NSF-sponsored political science research, Coburn uses a quote from our very own Lee Sigelman:

Dr. Lee Sigelman, editor of the American Political Science Review, said that while in many fields these conclusions “would create nothing more than a large yawn…in ours, maybe people will storm the barricades.”

The context is an NSF sponsored study on the genetic determinants of political views, although I know Lee was actually very interested and supportive of genetic and neurological work in political science.

Go here to find out what other research is on Coburn’s hit list.