Several initiatives at local universities take a beating this week in a new congressional report on stimulus funding.
The report, Summertime Blues, is at a small handful of projects funded by the $862 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that its authors, U.S. senators Tom Coburn and John McCain, feel are wasteful.
"We owe it to all Americans that are paying taxes and struggling to find jobs, to rebuild our economy without doing additional harm, and to do it in a way that expands opportunities for future generations," Coburn and McCain wrote in the report. "Too many stimulus projects are failing to meet that goal."
Some local notables:
- From Duke University, a $498,176 grant from the National Science Foundation to look for ways to improve privacy and functionality for social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace. This is number 41 on the report's list, on page 29.
- At N.C. State University, a $253,123 grant to an insect museum. The report claims the museum has "virtually no public presence" by virtue of the fact that it averages 44 visitors a year. The stimulus funding would be used for bug storage - the purchase of new cabinets, drawers and units for bug specimens, and for new computer equipment. The museum is number 68 in the report, on page 37.
- UNC Charlotte received $762,372 to develop a computerized choreography program to help design and produce interactive dance performances. This is number 2 on the report's list, page 6.
- NCSU makes the list again, along with Georgia Tech, for video game research. NCSU received $770,856, and Georgia Tech received $427,824, each from the National Science Foundation to examine how video games like the Nintendo Wii can "help improve mental health for the elderly." That's number 39 on the list, page 28 of the report.