Peter Wood is Witness at Hearing on Value of Social Sciences to Taxpayers

Ashley Thorne

Photo: Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

The Committee on Science, Space and Technology issued a press release on last week's hearing of the Congressional Subcommittee on Research and Science Education, where NAS president Peter Wood gave testimony as a witness. The press release summarizes Dr. Wood's arguments: 

Several witnesses also highlighted research funded through the NSF that focuses on politically-motivated areas.  Dr. Peter W. Wood, President of the National Association of Scholars, acknowledged that NSF funding for SBE [social, behavioral, and econommic sciences] should not be eliminated, but urged for “cuts to be made shrewdly.”  He said a small portion of NSF funding “is diverted to trivialities or is channeled to programs on the basis of their political appeal rather than their scientific merit.” Dr. Wood highlighted several examples of NSF grants that are motivated more by policy debates than by basic science.  One example he mentioned was the drastic budget increase for the SBE portion of the Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability portfolio at NSF.  The FY12 request for this area represented a 174 percent increase over FY10 enacted levels.  “When the NSF funds such policy-oriented research, it is on the road to making policy on its own—in fields far beyond science,” Wood said.

The Committee also published Dr. Wood's written statements, which he submitted in advance to the members of Congress on the Committee.

Click here to watch the archived webcast of the hearing. 

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