July/August 2013 Issue • Volume 41 • Issue 5

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Science Policy

Science Policy

A New Census Bureau Director Nominated

In late May, President Obama nominated John H. Thompson, President and Chief Executive Officer of University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center (NORC), to be the new U.S. Census Bureau Director. As President, he has responsibility for all NORC corporate activities and for the quality of all NORC research efforts. Before coming to NORC, Thompson had a distinguished career at the U.S. Census Bureau, including serving as the senior career officer responsible for all aspects of the 2000 Decennial. The Census Project, of which ASA is a stakeholder, wrote in a letter to the leaders of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: “Thompson’s experience leading Census 2000 and his knowledge of modern survey techniques at NORC make him uniquely qualified to pursue efficiencies that the Bureau is developing to implement a cost-effective Census 2020.” Thompson has a MS in Mathematics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The Census has been without a director since August 2012, when Robert Groves resigned to become provost at Georgetown University.

Provisions Affecting the NSF Political Science Program of the Federal Continuing Appropriations Act

The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 (enacted on March 26, 2013) contains a provision that places restrictions on the types of research projects that can be funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF) Political Science Program. Specifically,    “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to carry out the functions of the Political Science Program in the Division of Social and Economic Sciences of the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences of the [NSF], except for research projects that the Director of the National Science Foundation certifies as promoting national security or the economic interests of the United States.” Regarding these provisions, the NSF Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) said that, “[Review] panels will also be asked to provide input on whether proposals meet one or both of the additional criteria required for exceptions under P.L. 113-6…” They warn that for FY2013, funding decision for Political Science proposals may be delayed. For more information, visit www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?
. Questions can be sent to SBE program contacts Brian Humes (bhumes@nsf.gov) and Erik Herron (eherron@nsf.gov).

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