The National Science Foundation (NSF) Political
funds an array of political
science research on citizenship, government, and politics,
including in subfields such as American government and politics,
comparative government and politics, international relations,
political behavior, political economy, and political institutions.
In addition, the Political Science Program has supported
undergraduate research and methodological innovations in the field.
The NSF also funds multidisciplinary research projects.
FY18 NSF Appropriations
On May 23, 2017 the White House released the FY18 presidential budget request. The president’s budget reduces funding for the National Science Foundation by about 11 percent overall and at approximately 10.6 percent for research and development (compared to FY 2016 enacted levels) at the independent agency. The budget proposes cuts to all directorates within NSF, starting at a 7.1 percent cut for the Biological Sciences directorate and including a 10.4 percent cut to the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) directorate. The NSF's requested FY18 overall budget is $6.653 billion, including $5.361 billion for research and related activities, and $244.02 million for the SBE directorate.
FY17 NSF Appropriations
On May 5, 2017 President Donald Trump signed into law an omnibus appropriations package for the remainder of the 2017 fiscal year. The legislation, H.R. 244, funds the NSF at $7.5 billion, an increase of $8.7 million over the FY16 enacted amount.
On December 9, Congress passed a continuing resolution that extends funding for the government at FY16 funding levels through April 28, 2017. The following day, President Barack Obama signed H.R. 2028, the Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, into law. The legislation follows an earlier continuing resolution passed in late September and leaves work on finalizing FY 2017 appropriations—including funding for programs that support political science and other academic research—to the incoming Congress
May 24, 2016, the House Appropriations Committee
the FY17 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
The legislation funds NSF at $7.4 billion, a decrease of $57 million
compared to FY16 as enacted. NSF’s Research and Related Activities account is
increased by $46 million above FY16 as enacted.
for the bill includes positive
language in support of research “across all scientific disciplines,” and
does not mention any directorates for specific
funding levels or cuts. For more information, see an
of the bill from the Consortium of Social Science Associations.
On April 19, 2016, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies approved a FY17 spending bill which includes $7.509 billion for NSF. This figure represents roughly flat funding compared to FY16 levels as enacted. On April 21, 2016, the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill. A press release on the bill notes that NSF’s FY17 funds are provided “for basic research across all scientific disciplines,” and the bill does not provide for specific funding amounts by directorate, as some bills have in the past.
The bill’s report language states, “As part of the peer review process, NSF should include criteria that evaluates how a proposal will advance our Nation’s national security and economic interests, as well as promote the progress of science and innovation in the United States.” In an analysis of the bill, the Consortium of Social Science Associations notes the report language “directs NSF to add these criteria as part of the merit review process when reviewing all NSF grants, but does not appear to require that all projects funded by NSF necessarily have a direct positive impact on U.S. national security or the economy. It is unclear how this language would be interpreted by NSF should a version of it stick in the final FY 2017 appropriations bill.”
On February 9, 2016, President Obama released his administration's FY17 budget. It proposes a $500 million increase over the enacted FY16 NSF budget, using a combination of discretionary budget increases (totaling $100 million) and a one-year mandatory funding stream (totaling $400 million). Without the stream of mandatory funding, the budget for the SBE directorate would be roughly flat with FY16 levels as enacted, at $272.4 million.
The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act
On December 10, the Senate passed the American Innovation
and Competitiveness Act
which addresses support for federal science research. The House of Representatives passed the bill under
suspension of the rules during a pro forma session on December 16. The compromise bill follows a previous version in the
Senate and a bill in the House that would have authorized appropriations for
the National Science Foundation. The earlier version of S. 3084 that passed the
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee in June included a four
percent increase in NSF authorizations from FY 2017 ($7.51 billion) to FY 2018
($7.81 billion). The bill also included language supporting the NSF’s merit
review process. In contrast, the America COMPETES Act (
which passed the House in May 2015, included directorate-specific authorization
levels, with heavy cuts to the Social,
Behavioral and Economic Sciences directorate. The compromise bill that
passed this December did not include authorization levels. It retained language
supporting the NSF merit review process. Authorization for the NSF expired in
APSA is a member of the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) and the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF). Each year, APSA participates in COSSA's Advocacy Day, which brings scholars to Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of political science research and express support for strong funding for the National Science Foundation. Other recent activities include:
- May 30, 2017: APSA Issues Second Statement on Impact of 2018 Budget Reqeust on Political Science
- May 23, 2017: APSA Joins 148 Organizations on Letter to Congressional Leadership Regarding the White House Budget Request
- March 20, 2017: APSA Issues Statement on Impact of 2018 Budget Request on Political Science
- July 6, 2016: APSA Signs on to CNSF Statement on the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (S. 3084)
- June 14, 2016: APSA Signs on to Letter to House CJS Appropriations Subcommittees
- June 14, 2016: APSA Signs on to Letter to Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittees
- March 21, 2016: APSA Signs on to CNSF Letter on FY 2017 NSF Appropriations
- June 2, 2015: APSA Issues Statement on FY 2016 CJS bill
- April 21, 2015: APSA Signs
on to CNSF Letter on America COMPETES Reauthorization Act
- April 20, 2015: APSA Executive Director Sends Letter to House
NSF Appropriations Committees
NSF Authorizing Committees