Pending legislation to alter the grantmaking process at the National Science Foundation (NSF) “would have an extraordinarily unfortunate effect” on the $7 billion research agency, presidential science adviser John Holdren said today.
Holdren’s comments, made at the annual AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy (AAAS publishes ScienceInsider), are the first public reaction from the White House to the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act, a 2-year reauthorization of NSF programs that is expected to be approved this month by the science committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. Holdren’s words are consistent with the view of many academic leaders that the bill is part of a broader attack by congressional Republicans on federally funded science.
“I think that NSF’s peer-review process has proven itself over the years in a manner that has made it the envy of the world,” Holdren told attendees at the AAAS forum in Washington, D.C. “Everybody else is trying to mimic the success NSF has had from funding research. I don’t think we should be trying to fix something that isn’t broken.”