On November 16, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) issued a letter regarding a series of provisions included in the House Commerce, Justice and Science Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Appropriations bill that funds the National Science Foundation (NSF). The letter highlighted elements of the bill that could adversely impact the NSF and its ability to fund science.
FASEB is concerned that the bill:
- Includes an unnecessary provision that would require the Foundation to issue a written explanation of how each grant serves the national interest
- Directs NSF to ensure that its funded research is replicable with language that conflates replication with reproducibility
- Contains strong recommendations for directorate-level research funding that undermines the agency’s ability to direct resources to the most promising areas
- Makes unnecessary and redundant changes to the agency’s merit review process
NSF has taken steps to ensure clearer articulation of the importance of federally funded projects with a new 2015 policy that requires a statement of national interest and non-technical explanation of projects. It has also initiated actions to enhance reproducibility.
Now that the two-year budget deal has been signed into law, the House and Senate will begin the process of finalizing the appropriations bill and its provisions in the next few weeks.