National Science Foundation Monkeys With Stimulus
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How could the National Science Foundation justify giving nearly half a million dollars to a monkey study that had nothing to do with and nothing to contribute to economic recovery and job creation? That grant is the subject of our report, “Stimulus for New Mexico Funds Monkey Study, European Travel.” The stimulus legislation, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, laid out the purposes for the $787 billion stimulus, and not included in the purposes was scientific research for its own sake. Rather, scientific research funded by stimulus funds was supposed to contribute directly to economic recovery and innovations that would build a stronger economic engine. We quote the precise wording of the legislative intent behind the stimulus in our report.
In the course of our research for the story, we learned that the National Science Foundation has monkeyed with the intent of the stimulus to justify grants having nothing whatsoever to do with research into projects that will produce economic innovations. When we asked the Santa Fe Institute how their monkey study served the purposes of the stimulus, the answer came back that the study was consistent with the National Science Foundation’s goals for the stimulus. And those goals are not the same as established by Congress. Here’s what we were told: “NSF Director in 2009, Arden Bement, summarized the NSF ARRA goals as follows:
…The $3 billion provided to NSF will go directly into the hands of the nation’s best and
brightest researchers at the forefront of promising discoveries, to deserving graduate
students at the start of their careers, and to developing advanced scientific tools and
infrastructure that will be broadly available to the research community. With both longterm
and short-term investments in basic science, the United States is poised to continue
its leadership in science-based innovation.
No wonder our investigation keeps turning up sizable grants from the National Science Foundation that produce no jobs and have very little, if anything, to do with building up America’s economic engine and its ability to compete in the global marketplace. Considering that the National Science Foundation received $3 billion to give away, similar findings of grants unrelated to economic recovery can likely easily be found in other states. We’ve been assisting a similar investigation in Colorado and have already found several National Science Foundation grants like the Santa Fe Institute monkey study that have produced very few jobs in the USA, but have sent researchers to far flung places on the planet’s surface. Since we participated in those investigations we will be posting them on our blog here after they are released by our partners at Colorado Watchdog and Colorado’s Independence Institute.
Related reports: Stimulus for New Mexico Spent Studying Beaver Dams in Yellowstone