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Turnover, Dissension, And Isolation Plague NSF Office That Monitors Health Of Science

Employees say cronyism and inconsistent leadership have seriously damaged the unit charged with keeping tabs on U.S. research WASHINGTON--The division within the National Science Foundation that monitors the health of the United States' scientific infrastructure is in a state of turmoil, according to knowledgeable sources and internal documents obtained by The Scientist. At the heart of the unrest, these sources allege, are conflicts of interest and favoritism in the awarding of contracts, ins

Jeffrey Mervis
Employees say cronyism and inconsistent leadership have seriously damaged the unit charged with keeping tabs on U.S. research
WASHINGTON--The division within the National Science Foundation that monitors the health of the United States' scientific infrastructure is in a state of turmoil, according to knowledgeable sources and internal documents obtained by The Scientist. At the heart of the unrest, these sources allege, are conflicts of interest and favoritism in the awarding of contracts, instances of discrimination and harassment, and a pervasive view that a small group has exerted undue influence over the affairs of the Division of Science Resources Studies, known as SRS.

The unrest threatens to reverberate far beyond the 47 employees of the division and the $6 million in contracts that it will award this year for reports on such issues as federal spending on research, the state of academic facilities and instrumentation, and trends in scientific personnel. Those...

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