By Mark Vieth, Senior Vice President, CRD Associates
On March 23, two very important bipartisan Dear Colleague letters were delivered to the House Committee on Appropriations – both relating to the important research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Addressing the overall fiscal year 2017 budget request for NSF, Representatives David McKinley (R-WV) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) circulated a letter signed by 143 members of the House, calling for at least $8 billion in funding in FY17 for NSF. This letter was spearheaded in the science community by the Coalition for National Science Funding (of which CRD Associates is a proud member).
Complementing this effort, Representatives Richard Hanna (R-NY) and David Price (D-NC) circulated a bipartisan letter, signed by 34 members of the House, calling on the House Appropriations Committee to “reaffirm the National Science Foundation’s current practice of setting national scientific research priorities, investing across all disciplines of science, and using the merit review systems for determining which grant proposals to fund.” This letter also specifically calls on the committee to oppose the inclusion of specific funding levels—either within the bill text or accompanying report—for individual NSF research directorates.
The Hanna-Price letter was spearheaded in conjunction with CNSF by the Social and Behavioral Science (SBS) Campaign, a coalition managed by CRD Associates that includes scientific societies, associations and institutions of higher education representing researchers across all disciplines of science. In fiscal year 2016, the House Appropriations Committee included report language to the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Act that would have resulted in significant cuts for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) Research Directorate, a provision that was universally opposed by the entire science and education community. Thanks to the advocacy efforts of the science community, this language was not included in the final FY16 Omnibus Appropriations Act.
During a March 16 budget hearing on NSF, House Appropriations Commerce Justice Science Subcommittee Chairman John Culberson (R-TX) and Ranking Member Mike Honda (D-CA) indicated their opposition to allocating money to specific NSF directorates instead of simply providing a top-line appropriation for research. Chairman Culberson stated “I think it’s important that we not insert political agendas from either end of the political spectrum.”
CRD Associates is proud to work closely with the science and higher education communities to advocate for higher levels of investment in NSF research, and to educate Members of Congress of the value of funding research across all disciplines of science!