LINGUIST List 6.986

Tue Jul 18 1995

FYI: National Science Foundation

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <>


  1. James Magnuson, Re: NSF false alarm
  2. James Magnuson, NSF

Message 1: Re: NSF false alarm

Date: Tue, 18 Jul 1995 08:56:56 Re: NSF false alarm
From: James Magnuson <>
Subject: Re: NSF false alarm

According to a news item in the July 6 issue of Nature (p. 4), the "false
alarm" and "calm down" messages re: NSF cuts to the social sciences were

"The social, behavioural and economic sciences (SBES) directorate of the US
... (NSF) is widely expected to be eliminated after a powerful
congressional committee instructed the agency to cut the number of
directorates from seven to six.

"The social sciences will still receive support from the NSF. Robert
Walker (R, PA), chairman of the House of Representatives Science Committee,
said that the two-year NSF authorization bill that his committee passed
last week 'did not zero out' such funding, which came to a total of $114
million this year.

"But the order to shut a directorate will probably be applied to SBES,
which is newer and far smaller than NSF's other six directorates. If that
happens, the social sciences will have to compete with the 'hard' sciences
for funds within other directorates, officials say -- and social sciences
are unlikely to do well in such a competition.

"The directorate provides 60 per cent of all US federal support for
research in the social sciences in US universities. Discussing social
science research in May, Walker said that the NSF had 'wandered into these
areas in recent years' when doing so was 'politically correct'. He added
that NSF should, in his view, concentrate on the physical sciences."

[...article continues...]

According to the article, there are 3 more months in the Congress's budget
process, but it is expected to follow the committee's recommendations, and
the Senate's proposals are "broadly similar."

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Message 2: NSF

Date: Tue, 18 Jul 1995 11:27:24 NSF
From: James Magnuson <>
Subject: NSF

Earlier today I sent a message to the list regarding an article in
Nature about the probable elimination of the SBES directorate of the

Since then, I have received email claiming that the elimination is
primarily symbolic, and that funding levels will not decrease
dramatically. Rather, social sciences will be excluded from the
areas that will receive 3% annual funding increases. The message
also suggests that an SBE section could be established within another
directorate (such as existed before 1991).

Does anyone have information about the expected ramifications of
the elimination of the SBES directorate (if it happens) from an
authoritative source?


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