September/October 2012 Issue • Volume 40 • Issue 7

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Science Policy

Social Scientists on Affirmative Action

At a September 27 media briefing in Washington, DC, sponsored by American Educational Research Association (AERA), with co-sponsors American Sociological Association, American Statistical Association, Association for the Study of Higher Education, Law and Society Association, and Linguistic Society of America, social scientists discussed affirmative action and whether promoting diversity on campus is a compelling government issue. At the event social scientists discussed the “Strength of Science” in relation to the amicus brief that AERA, et al. submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court on Fisher v. University of Texas, Austin. The briefing outlined scientific evidence on the use of race as a factor in the University’s admissions policy and issues relevant to this critically important higher education case scheduled for hearing on October 10, 2012. For more information and to watch the briefing, visit

The Gender Wage Gap by State and District

Want to find out what the wage gap in your state and congressional district? The National Partnership for Women & Families released an unprecedented analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data that shows that the gender-based wage gap affects women in nearly every corner of the country. In 97 percent of congressional districts—423 out of 435 districts—the median yearly pay for women is less than the median yearly pay for men. This analysis of data by congressional district provides a unique opportunity for women, families, and lawmakers to consider the local impact of disparities in pay. To find the wage gap in your state and congressional district, see the map at

AAAS Releases a Report on R&D Funding and Sequestration

In late September, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) released a new report that estimates the impact of sequestration on federal science budgets and states over the next five years. “Under a set of reasonable assumptions, we found that federal R&D funding through 2017 could be reduced by $57.5 billion, or 8.4 percent,” stated the report. “Among defense agencies, DARPA would lose around $1.3 billion in funding over the first five years under sequestration. On the nondefense side, most science budgets would stand to lose 7.6 percent of their funding.” For NIH, this would mean $11.3 billion less for research over five years, with budgets reverting to levels last seen a decade ago. The National Science Foundation would lose about $2.1 billion, and the Department of Energy would lose about $4.6 billion. If Congress further pushes the burden of sequestration onto science agencies and away from defense, cuts for nondefense agencies could more than double, according to AAAS estimates. In addition, according to National Science Foundation data, researchers in 19 states would lose at least $1 billion in federal funding over the next five years. For more information on the “Federal R&D and Sequestration in the First Five Years” report, visit

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