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Environment

Unnecessary Oversight

July 1, 2013 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 91, ISSUE 26

The bill before Congress discussed in the editorial “Abandon That Bill” (C&EN, May 27, page 5) inspires this: The U.S. has, arguably, the strongest fundamental scientific research community in the world. The National Science Foundation is an important supporter of that research. How could adding a layer of oversight by the least functional legislative body in any of the Western democracies yield improvement?

Gary Rice
Scotch Plains, N.J.

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Comments
Chad Brick (July 1, 2013 3:27 AM)
It's not designed to improve the research system, but rather politicize it. The key words of this quote

"require the NSF director to affirm three new criteria for every research grant: that the project is in the interests of the U.S., that it addresses problems of the ‘utmost importance to society at large,’ and that it doesn’t duplicate other work at NSF or other federal agencies

are not the boilerplate about importance, interests and duplication. The problematic words are "require the NSF director to affirm", implying that the NSF director - a political appointee - would have a veto over all research. This is a naked power grab by Republicans, who want to shut down any inconvenient research any time they hold the White House.

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