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NSF should have strategy for social sciences

The National Science Foundation needs to develop a strategic plan to define research priorities for social, behavioral and economic sciences, according to a report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.

The report commends the NSF for consulting with advisory groups to identify research needs and opportunities in the social sciences. But without a strategic plan it is unclear how this input will be used to set out the agency’s research priorities, it says.

“Nearly every major challenge the United States faces—from alleviating unemployment to protecting itself from terrorism—requires understanding the causes and consequences of people’s behavior,” said Alan Leshner, who chaired the committee that produced the report.

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