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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
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The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
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NSF Delays Reply to Hill Query on Social Science Grants
10 May 2013 2:25 pm
The National Science Foundation needs one more week to reply to a controversial request from the chairman of the House of Representatives science committee to explain why five social sciences grants were approved. And NSF wants its oversight body to weigh in first.
On 25 April, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) wrote to acting NSF Director Cora Marrett about his "concerns regarding some grants approved by the foundation and how closely they adhere to NSF's 'intellectual merit' guideline." Smith requested "access" to both the reviews from outside scientists and the analyses of the program officers who funded them.
Scientific leaders and senior House Democrats have condemned that request and related draft legislation that would alter NSF's grant-making process, viewing it as an unwarranted intrusion into NSF's vaunted peer review system. On Wednesday, three former NSF directors asked Smith to "rescind the April 25, 2013 letter and keep this draft bill from ever coming up for a vote or from being incorporated in other legislation."
Smith had asked for the grants information "within 2 weeks," a period that ended yesterday. NSF met that deadline, barely, submitting an "interim" response by the close of business.
But NSF's response doesn't contain the information Smith is seeking. Instead, Marrett told the National Science Board this afternoon that, "at the request of chairman Dan Arvizu, I have told Mr. Smith that I would respond by the end of next week following input from the board."
That delay postpones appears to be okay with Smith. "The Chairman looks forward to reviewing the full response, including all of the information requested in the April 25 letter," a committee aide says.