09 October 2015 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Senate vote on political science research a ‘blow’
The US Senate has delivered a “devastating blow to the integrity of the scientific process at the National Science Foundation” by voting in an amendment that restricts the use of its funding for political science research to matters of national security or economic interests, the American Political Science Association said in a statement last week.

Senate approved the Coburn Amendment to the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 last Wednesday. Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn has been a critic of National Science Foundation (NSF) spending choices and last week sent the foundation a letter criticising a number of projects it funds, including in political science.

“The amendment places unprecedented restriction on the national research agenda by declaring the political science study of democracy and public policy out of bounds. The amendment allows only political science research that promotes "national security or the economic interests of the United States", said the association in its statement.

“Adoption of this amendment is a gross intrusion into the widely-respected, independent scholarly agenda-setting process at NSF that has supported our world-class national science enterprise for over 60 years. The amendment creates an exceptionally dangerous slippery slope. While political science research is most immediately affected, at risk is any and all research in any and all disciplines funded by the NSF. The amendment makes all scientific research vulnerable to the whims of political pressure.”
Full statement on the PR Newswire site
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