One important internal contradiction of the NSF is that is always calls for risky, disruptive, unexpected ideas, but in order to be funded, those risky, disruptive, unexpected ideas have to be based on a prolonged research, backed by a long list of citations, and managed by an established PI (meaning, that if a proposal has no lengthy introduction, long list of references, and a recognisable name there is no chance it will be even red).
The problem, however, that many NSF supported initiatives have nothing to do with scientific research. For example, in a recent post the NSF praizes Dr. Viola Acoff for her work in broadening participation in STEM. What Dr. Acof does deserves all the credits and praizes without any doubts, she and many other professionals do a great and very important job in the field of education helping various categories of people to get involved into STEM education. All that work, however, has very strong social impact, but very little scientific significance. Based on its on criteria, such socially important projects should not be supported by the NSF and have to be rejected. Or, there is another option - to "dress" all social projects in a scientific suit, to make them look like a scientific research.
Dr. Valentin Voroshilov
Education Advancement Professionals
The voices of my students
"The Backpack Full of Cahs": pointing at a problem, not offering a solution
Essentials of Teaching Science
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