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Image of scientist collecting samples from polluted river Image of laser disc NSB Chair Carter - NSF Director Stever
The National Science Board - A History in Highlights, 1950-2000
Table of Contents | Preface | Acknowledgements | Former Members | Exec Secretaries/Officers | Timeline

Growth Stops and the Board Protests

In 1966, the Board Chair was biologist Philip Handler, who also became president of the National Academy of Sciences in 1969. Handler protested the slowdown in funding for research and graduate education, but President Nixon seemed deaf to his concerns. In 1968, a Board Commission on the Social Sciences proposed twenty-five social science institutes at a cost of $10 million a year, but these were not funded. The Board's second annual report, which advocated expansion in physical sciences, got an icy note from the director of BOB stating that it failed "to acknowledge the broad range of pressures on the Federal Government for funding and the increasing problem of choices among national programs." On January 22, 1970, the Board sent the President a letter proposing a new super agency for support of graduate and postgraduate education across the full range of fields. This idea, too, was stillborn.

Then the budget office (which in July 1970 became the Office of Management and Budget, or OMB) made clear it would not allow funds for new graduate traineeships. The economy was in recession, especially in the aerospace sector; scientists and engineers suffered unemployment in record numbers. On March 27, 1970, Handler sent a plea for reinstatement of the graduate traineeships, even though the President had just given an address on higher education that did not mention them.

When they met with President Nixon on May 22, 1970, Board members hoped to discuss the "instability of Federal institutions as a result of present Federal funding procedures" and other issues close to their hearts. But the correspondence suggests that Nixon did not address this or any other prominent science-related issue.

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