Having served on the staff of the House Science Committee and the National Science Foundation, it is painful to read articles like this: Mistrust and Meddling Unsettles U.S. Science Agency (Scientific American, reprinted from Nature).
NSF has thrived for over 60 years because it’s system of merit-based, peer review funding has steered free from political interference. The President and the Congress agree on program and budget priorities but individual grant decisions follow recommendations made by panels of outside scientists and engineers. Erosion of this compact between the scientific community and legislators in Congress poses are serious threat to U.S. excellence and leadership in science.
I hope to have more thoughts on these issues in future posts.