The five grants that, because of conservative Representatives, could change US science forever


Here are the five grants that has conservatives so upset they want to alter how research is done in the US.

  • Award No. 1247824: “ Animals in National Geographic, 1888-2008″ ($227,437)
  • Award No. 1230911: “Comparative Histories of Scientific Conservation: Nature, Science, and Society in Patagonian and Amazonian South America” ($195,761)
  • Award No. 1230365: “The International Criminal Court and the Pursuit of Justice” ($260,001)
  • Award No. 1226483: “Comparative Network Analysis: Mapping Global Social Interactions” ($435,000)
  • Award No. 1157551: “Regulating Accountability and Transparency in China’s Dairy Industry” ($152,464)

You only have to read the conservatives online to see exactly why they dislike these grants – not because of the intellectual content of the work but because of their personal political views. So now we use political debate to examine grants

And political opinion, not facts, to determine funding.

These five grants represent  a minuscule number of funded grants and tiny amount of funding the NSF provides a year. They gave out 11,000 grants last year and have a budget of $7,000,000,000l The total of these grants are about $1,300,000 averaging over 2 years  in length – so $650,000 a year. This is 0.009% oif the total budget

So, let’s assume that the number  of grants everyone can agree are ‘bad’ are 100-times greater than this (a big if since many people feel these 5 grants are fine). That still means less than 1% of all the funding NSF makes is a mistake.

Even if we could find 500 grants that we all agreed were bogus, 99% of the grants would be acceptable to some Americans. 

Even assuming these 5 grants are totally worthless – not very likely – are we really going to overhaul the research engine so we can let politicians decide which gets funded and which does not?

Is the problem really bad enough to require the sticky hands of politicians to be responsible for research funding? Because that is what conservatives in Congress are proposing.