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Friday, October 09, 2009

NSF funding for Political Science

Sen. Coburn (R-OK) has proposed an amendment to eliminate NSF’s political science program. Although the American Political Science Association (APSA) has not issued a formal statement on the issue at this time, the organization has created a page were you can learn more about the proposal: For his part, Sen. Coburn has released several documents explaining his motivation for drafting the measure, one of which can be found here:


Kristen Landreville said...

Wow! Thanks for posting this Kelly. After reading Coburn's arguments, I'm seriously calling Senators Brown and Voinovich. It's truly amazing how ignorant and slanted the information in that document is. Scary.

Laurel Gleason said...

Thought those of you following the issue might be interested in this brief I received from APSA:


TO: APSA Membership
FROM: Michael Brintnall, Executive Director
DATE: November 9, 2009
RE: Amendment to Cut Political Science Funding from NSF

I wanted to report that the Senate defeated the amendment by
Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) to cut political science funding from the NSF budget.

The vote on the Coburn amendment occurred on the evening of November 5 when the amendment was defeated by a margin of 36-62. You can see the full roll call vote on the Senate website here:

We encourage you to contact your Senator(s) to respond to their vote on the amendment.

The amendment was brought forward by Senator Coburn (R-OK) to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 (H.R. 2847), the main appropriation bill for the NSF.

When we learned about Senator Coburn's amendment in early October, APSA responded quickly to the proposal, recommending that members contact their Senators about the issue. We also worked closely with the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA), which is an advocacy organization in support of social science including monitoring issues related to funding at the NSF. The American Council on Education, the American Psychological Association, the National History Coalition, and many other supporters.

APSA President Henry Brady wrote a public letter to members of the Senate detailing the value of funded political science research to the nation and the larger scientific enterprise of the country, and stating:

Eliminating political science research from the NSF would deprive the country of knowledge critical for making our own democracy stronger, for understanding the actions of nations around the world, of achieving efficiencies and fairness in our public policies, and of enriching the work of other sciences, physical, biological, social, and economic to address national needs through interdisciplinary partnerships.
Read President Brady's complete letter >>

APSA alerted association members and individuals within the discipline about the amendment and circulated updates on its status by email, the APSA website, political science blogs, Twitter and Facebook.

Members of the discipline responded in a variety of ways and in large numbers through blog posts, direct messages to colleagues through email, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and by signing an online petition. You can read the letters APSA sent as well as see the responses from others on this webpage:

Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) spoke vigorously on the Senate floor in support of political science research, highlighting that Elinor Ostrom’s work, recognized by her recent Nobel Prize, was enabled by the political science program at the NSF.

APSA is committed to responding to challenges to research funding that may come in the future. I welcome your comments or feedback on this current issue, and future ones we may face. Please send your comments and suggestions to or call 202.483.2512.

Thank you for your support and for your membership in the Association.