Political Science at the NSF: The Politics of Knowledge Production

Political Science at the NSF: The Politics of Knowledge Production

By Tamir Moustafa, Simon Fraser University

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently replaced its long-standing Political Science Program with two new programs: the Security and Preparedness Program and the Accountable Institutions and Behavior Program. This article evaluates the likely impact of the reform by way of original survey data. The NSF Program Change Survey asked past recipients of the Political Science Program Standard Grant to evaluate their own previously funded proposals according to the new NSF program descriptions. Respondents were asked whether they would apply for the same research project under the new thematic programs and, if they would, whether they believed it would be necessary to change the framing or substance of their proposal. Data from the survey suggest that the new NSF program themes are likely to discourage some political scientists from applying, while encouraging many more applicants to shift the framing or substance of their research to accommodate the new call for proposals. In particular, the new Security and Preparedness Program carries significant consequences for new knowledge production.

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