House Votes to Prohibit National Science Foundation Funding of Political Science Research

Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Republican Jeff Flake of Arizona considers the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) funding of political science research “meritless” and wants Congress to eliminate all funding for such work.
By a vote of 218-208, the House of Representatives last week adopted an appropriations amendment authored by Flake that would prohibit the NSF from spending any of its 2013 funds on its political science program.
The program in question consumed about $11 million in federal funds this year.
Flake went after the poli sci program only after he failed to convince his colleagues to significantly cut overall funding to the NSF by $1 billion. Unable to gain the necessary votes for this cause, he decided the agency at least should “not waste taxpayer dollars on a meritless program.”
The Republican lawmaker took exception to most of the poli sci grants going to what he said were wealthy universities, and for research he considered a waste of time.
One of the projects singled out by Flake belonged to Jennifer Lawless, an associate professor of government at American University, who received $300,000 for the topic “Understanding the Origins of the Gender Gap in Political Ambition.”
For this study, Lawless will survey 4,000 high school and college students to gauge their interest in running for office and to determine why so many young people fail to get involved in politics.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
Playing Politics With Poli Sci (by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed)
Poli Sci Grants (National Science Foundation)



Steven Mazie 8 years ago
this attack on political science stems from a worsening bias against all scholarship outside of the natural sciences. i address this in a blog post at big think today:

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