National Academies Releases Report on NSF SBE Research
June 21st, 2017
The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) recently released a report, “The Value of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences to National Priorities: A Report for the National Science Foundation.” According to a Committee member, the report grew out of a conversation with Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees NSF funding.
“The social, behavioral, and economic sciences make significant contributions to the National Science Foundation’s mission to advance health, prosperity and welfare, national defense, and progress in science, “ according to NASEM’s press release. The report also concludes that the “understanding, tools, and methods” provided by the SBE sciences help other agencies achieve their missions and have also been applicable to business and industry. The report provides examples of how NSF SBE-funded research has provided important knowledge in each of these areas.
A major recommendation of the National Academies’ Committee is that NSF “should undertake a systematic and fully transparent strategic planning process to provide a clear articulation of the most important scientific questions in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences that are consistent with the NSF mission.” Although NSF is commended for consulting with advisory groups and the scientific community, the National Academies notes: “it is unclear how this input is combined and integrated in the agency’s SBE research priorities.”
The report was prepared in about 3 months, so it is not comprehensive, only illustrative. The Appropriations Subcommittee staff (majority and minority) have been briefed on the report. FABBS will track NSF’s follow-up activities, as well as the Congressional subcommittee’s interests, and share as needed with our communities of scientists.