Wednesday, March 04, 2009

NSF vs NIH stimulus disbursement

From the Chronicle ():
In the absence of definitive guidance from either the U.S. Congress or the White House, the nation's two leading providers of federal science money to universities are apparently taking different approaches to what it means to help the U.S. economy.

The National Institutes of Health, which is getting $10.4-billion from the$787-billion economic-stimulus measure signed last week by President Obama, announced it will tweak its science-based distribution guidelines to ensure the largess some measure of geographic parity.

The National Science Foundation, which is getting $3-billion in stimulus money, has concluded that it will not. "We are sticking to NSF's mission," Arden L. Bement Jr., director of the National Science Foundation, told the agency's board on Tuesday. I don't have an opinion one way or another on this: just interesting to see the difference. As the article points out later, The NIH and the NSF are getting the two largest chunks of$21.5-billion in new federal money for research and development contained in the stimulus measure. But while the NSF is an independent federal agency, the NIH is part of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, which makes it more tightly bound to direction by Congress.