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December 31, 2016

NSA Axes Math Grants

Posted by Tom Leinster

Old news, but interesting: the US National Security Agency (NSA) announced some months ago that it was suspending funding to its Mathematical Sciences Program. The announcement begins by phrasing it as a temporary suspension—

…[we] will be unable to fund any new proposals during FY2017 (i.e. Oct. 1, 2016–Sept. 30, 2017)

—but by the end, sounds resigned to a more permanent fate:

We thank the mathematics community and especially the American Mathematical Society for its interest and support over the years.

We’ve discussed this grant programme before on this blog.

The NSA is said to be the largest employer of mathematicians in the world, and has been under political pressure for obvious reasons over the last few years, so it’s interesting that it cut this programme. Its British equivalent, GCHQ, is doing the opposite, expanding its mathematics grants aggressively. But still, GCHQ consistently refuses to engage in any kind of adult, evidence-based discussion with the mathematical community on what the effect of its actions on society might actually be.

Posted at December 31, 2016 3:39 AM UTC

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Re: NSA Axes Math Grants

I wonder if they cut it because they got sick of the negative publicity.

Posted by: John Baez on January 4, 2017 7:06 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: NSA Axes Math Grants

Well yes, it would be interesting to know. But I’m sure they’d never admit as much even if that were the case.

Posted by: Tom Leinster on January 4, 2017 1:50 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

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