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Sequestration- The Policy Kind, Not the Carbon Kind: The biggest science issue scientists aren't talking about
I’m a policy wonk, I’ll admit it. Politico, the US Senate and US House of Representatives webpages are bookmarked on my web browser. I am also a scientist, and for the past years have been working to combine these two interests towards a career in science policy. As a graduate student, I understand the daily demands of academic life for my fellow students,teachers and advisers. Teaching, advising and running experiments while trying to crank out academic publications every year is not an easy task. So, for many scientists there are simply not enough hours in the day to engage in science policy debates and advocacy. But right now scientists in the United States are facing one of the greatest policy issues of our time- sequestration.
On May 26, Senator Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, released a report titled, " The National Science Foundation Under the Microscope" in which he detailed his perspective on wasteful government funding at the National Science Foundation. In his Press Release, Senator Coburn notes, "Investing in innovation and discovery can transform our lives, advance our understanding of the world and create new jobs." Yet, he spend the majority of the report singling out particular social, behavioral and economic research projects and grants that he considers to be "wasteful". Senator Coburn even goes so far to recommend, "Eliminate NSF’s Social, Behavioral, and Economics (SBE) Directorate ($255 million in FY 2010). The social sciences should not be the focus of our premier basic scientific research agency."