Senate Republicans Launch Investigation of the NSF

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Republican senators launched an investigation into the National Science Foundation last week, raising concerns about the agency’s budget process and how it reviews and awards grant money.

Senators Richard Burr of North Carolina, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky sent a letter to the NSF Friday asking for information related to the agency’s budget plan, grants and awards. They expressed concern that the NSF, which received $8.8 billion in federal funding for fiscal year 2022 and is expected to receive billions more in this year’s budget appropriations process, is wasting money by funding “studies of questionable value.”

“While not all of these studies are obvious wastes of taxpayer dollars, many still raise major concerns about the importance of your agency’s mission,” said the senators.

In the letter, they asked the NSF to provide information on what the standards of review for grant awards are and how it determines the value of research it pursues. They also asked the agency how it determines potential conflicts of interest within its work.

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