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Posts Tagged ‘Vannevar Bush (MIT Raytheon NSF and much more)

Read (with the goal of understanding!) Our Own Government’s Independent Agency Annual Financial Reports (at least parts with texts and colorful graphs) and “learn stuff.” Like NSF’s Brain Initiative, Its Big Ten Ideas, and Domestic|Foreign, Public|Private Revenue Sources. I just did…(Published Oct. 16, 2019)

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The National Science Foundation (“NSF,” 1950ff, under President Truman) history ties in closely to Vannevar Bush. So does the history of Abt Associates (1965ff) as it intersects with Raytheon.  In many ways the history of the NSF illuminates the history of the United States in the 20th Century.  You can’t understand much of where we are now, and why, without some acquaintance with it.

BRAINInitiative.NIH.Gov (Google the term; many web domains will come up describing it, and President Obama’s 2013 launch of parts of it!).


The NSF website has a nice version, but this enthusiastic short summary is from Research! America, a nonprofit I also researched because of its involvement with (and dependency on) the buildup of the HHS and NIH especially as promoted Mary Lasker, and because of other certain Brain Institutes (as I recall) funded by, well, rich people….

Any history of the NSF will mention how it arose after World War II and in the early years, USA was caught off guard by Russia in the “Space Race.”  “What’s it to me?” (Keep reading…)

I have a short post on Abt Associates who, possibly because of its data-crunching ability, like many companies formerly involved in U.S. government military contract, found purposes in both consumer electronics AND continued dealings with the might of the U.S. government built up for and during wartime as turned to “health, education, and welfare” purposes (1953-1980) thereafter, at least that “health” part called “Health and Human Services” — the largest grant-making department.  Other groups  (like MDRC or the Urban Institute) would run the social science R&D on poor people and certain types of consulting agencies would then analyze and write up the projects — like Mathematica Policy Research, MEF Associates, and Abt Associates.

Some companies, also specializing heavily in federal contracts and consulting, seem to have managed to both get grants to run the projects AND be on the evaluation teams (I’m thinking of ICF International which got so wealthy doing this it continued acquiring other companies and now is a multinational for-profit (i.e., global) corporation.  Its advice was sought during the 2000 Greenbook Initiative on Overlap of Child Maltreatment and Domestic Violence, with participation from (then-called) Family Violence Prevention Fund, which has also since gotten fairly fat on contracts and grants — and become a real estate investor in the San Francisco Presidio, too. (Searchable on this blot).

My recent, short, Abt Associates post:


Abt Associates, Inc. (1965ff, first in Cambridge, Mass.), Social Research + Evaluation Validating the Social Science R&D ℅ (per Devex.com) that $2B Global Development Industry [Started June 25, 2019, updates Sept. 29, Publ. Oct 10].. (Case-sensitive short-link ends. “-abD” only 3,000 words)[Devex.com is a media platform for this industry; Abt Associates also has (or at one point had) advisory board member on its board].

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Abt Associates, Inc. (1965ff, at first in Cambridge, Mass.), Social Research + Evaluation Validating the Social Science R&D ℅ (per Devex.com) that $2B Global Development Industry [Started June 25, 2019, updates Sept. 29, Publ. Oct 10].

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Abt Associates, Inc. (1965ff, first in Cambridge, Mass.), Social Research + Evaluation Validating the Social Science R&D ℅ (per Devex.com) that $2B Global Development Industry [Started June 25, 2019, updates Sept. 29, Publ. Oct 10].. (Case-sensitive short-link ends.  “-abD” only 3,000 words)

[Devex.com is a media platform for this industry; Abt Associates also has (or at one point had) advisory board member on its board].

Devex.Com self-definition of their platform referencing the market niche for the $200B industry  (viewed 6-24-2019)

Offices as you can see in Washington, D.C., Barcelona, Spain and in Manila, the Philippines.

In very fine print from the very bottom of (most?) pages.

Devex is the media platform for the global development community.

A social enterprise, we connect and inform 1 million development, health, humanitarian, and sustainability professionals through news, business intelligence, and funding & career opportunities so you can do more good for more people. We invite you to join us.

[[Its “Terms of Use” statement as of today is labeled version Feb. 2, 2012, and gives more understanding of the purposes, esp. under 4) DISCLAIMERS [first five paragraphs], and at the bottom UNDER “10) MISCELLANEOUS, h) “CISG Not Apply. The UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods does not apply.]]


Abt Associates is probably not the largest of its kind, but its niche and types of work it does is typical of those who derive federal, private, and state-sponsored business operations from evaluating social science R&D run upon the poor of, well, to start with, the United States, and eventually (or tested there first) applied internationally too: see the words “international” or “global” and the word “development” in goods & services descriptions.  By virtue of using this word, implied contribution of at least SOMEONE’s home government is implied.

In the UK:  “DID”  the USA:  USAID, etc.  By definition it is likely to be public/private in nature, even when individual projects may be primarily private:  Their sources of revenues often comes from pre-existing government funding understood to be ongoing through the power of taxation.

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