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Congressman Randy Hultgren

Representing the 14th District of ILLINOIS

Hultgren Criticizes National Science Foundation For Misguided Priorities, Wasteful Spending

Jun 13, 2011
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14) today released the following statement criticizing the National Science Foundation (NSF) for recent decisions that highlight the agency’s misguided priorities, undermining America’s basic scientific research infrastructure, while wasting taxpayer dollars researching topics including March Madness, online dating and trendy names for newborns.

“Last December, the National Science Foundation declined to fund the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), a groundbreaking facility that would partner with Illinois’ own Fermilab to deepen our understanding of the origin of matter,” said Hultgren, a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. “That decision in itself was short-sighted, but recent revelations about what the NSF is spending its taxpayer dollars on calls into question the Foundation’s judgment and stewardship of Americans’ resources.

“Rather than funding important scientific research, such as that proposed by DUSEL, the NSF has instead chosen to support such critical priorities as groundbreaking ‘research’ into why the same teams repeatedly do well in March Madness; $315,000 studying the effects of Facebook’s ‘Farmville’ on adult relationships; a $1 million analysis on trendy baby names; and a $581,000 study on whether online dating sites are racist.

“These examples of NSF-funded research make clear that the Foundation has lost sight of its mission and its priorities, and that it has forgotten how to be a good steward of the taxpayer dollars it is entrusted with. In the weeks ahead, I look forward to investigating these decisions through the Committee on Science, Space and Technology.”

The National Science Foundation is an independent agency created by Congress to support basic scientific research in a variety of fields. Questionable or wasteful projects highlighted by Congressman Hultgren were included in a report, “The National Science Foundation: Under the Microscope,” issued by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK); the report is available here.