March 3, l998

MEMORANDUM TO: Members of the National Science Board

SUBJECT: Preliminary Report of the February 25, 26, 27, l998 NSB Meeting

The major actions of the Board at its 347th meeting on February 25-28, l998 are summarized below for the advance information of those members absent and as a reminder to those present.

1. Board Actions

a. Resolutions

The Board approved a resolution authorizing the NSB Task Force on NSF's 50th Anniversary to plan a December 2000 celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first meeting of the Board held on December 12, l950.

The Board approved the publication of the NSB Occasional Paper, prepared by the Task Force on Industry Reliance on Publicly-Funded Research, concurrent with the release of Science and Engineering Indicators-l998, subject to final edits under Dr. Jaskolski's direction to address Board members' comments and to any technical changes to the data presentation necessary for factual agreement with Indicators.

b. NSB Report on Graduate Education

The Board voted to publish the NSB Report on the Federal role in Science and Engineering Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, NSB-97-235, subject to final editing under Dr. Kelly's direction.

c. Award Recipients

The Board approved the recipient of the Alan T. Waterman Award.

The Board approved the recipient of the Vannevar Bush Award.

The Chairman requested that the names of the recipients of the Alan T. Waterman Award and the Vannevar Bush Award be kept confidential until the recipients are notified. The awards will be presented at the Board's Annual Awards dinner on May 6, l998.

d. Awards and Agreements Amount
Not to Exceed

The Board approved the following actions:

Computer and Information Science
and Engineering

Division of Advanced Computational Infrastructure
and Research

Renewal proposal of the NSF Science and Technology $12,735,000
Center for Graphics and Visualization, NSB-98-25, Tab B. for 48 months


Division of Atmospheric Sciences

Polar Cap Observatory, SRI International, $39,700,000
NSB-98-28, Tab C. for 84 months
(subject to Congressional approval of the funding request)

e. Approval of Minutes

The Board approved the Open Session minutes of the October 8-10, l997 NSB meeting.

The Board approved the Open and Closed Session minutes of the November 12-14, l997 NSB meeting.

f. Committee Assignment

The Chairman appointed Dr. Richard Tapia to serve on the Task Force on the NSF 50th Anniversary, chaired by Dr. Rubin. Other members include Drs. Greenberg, Lubchenco, and Washington.

g. NSB Logo

The Chairman presented to the Board designs for several NSB logos for their consideration at the next NSB meeting.

2. Committee Meeting Summaries
(Material provided by committee executive secretaries)

a. Audit and Oversight (A&O)

Supervisory Session

The Inspector General (IG) discussed with the Committee the scope and cost of a proposal to audit NSF's FY l998 Antarctic Property, Plant and Equipment Account. The Committee voted to accept the proposal and to cover the costs of this audit by increasing the cap on the Inspector General's audit funds from $500,000 to $645,000.

The Committee also discussed two Reportable Conditions continuing from the audit of NSF's FY l996 financial statements and having the potential for becoming more serious: one concerning performance measures and the other NSF's liability to pay accrued employee benefits to FFRDC management firms upon termination or non-renewal of their cooperative agreements. On this last Reportable Condition, the A&O Committee expressed its concern that this liability be addressed so as to enhance the probability of a clean audit report.

The IG also discussed with the Committee a proposed amendment to the Results Act which requires OIG to take on new audit responsibilities for NSF's GPRA performance reports. The Committee expressed deep concern about the full financial and procedural implications of these proposed new responsibilities and asked the Inspector General to prepare a one-page briefing document for distribution to the full Board as soon as possible so that a suitable responsive plan of action can be prepared.

Regular Session:

Dr. John White provided a summary of the GPRA task force meeting, at which
Drs. Joseph Bordogna, Judith Sunley and Nathaniel Pitts provided an update on the work on the performance plan and the next steps to be followed. Mr. Joseph Kull provided an update on the preparation of the FY97 Chief Financial Officer's (CFO's) Annual Report and audit of the financial statements. Dr. David Schindel described the report to the National Science Board on the National Science Foundation's Merit Review System, FY97, NSB 98-18. The Director also reported on this report at full session of the NSB. Dr. Pitts gave a summary of the Proposal Review Advisory Team Report, which
complements the Merit Review report. Dr. Sunley provided an update on the development of a Federal-wide Research Misconduct Policy. NSF has expressed it concerns on the latest draft and anticipates further discussion with the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

b. Education and Human Resources (EHR)

The Committee was given an update on a framework for the discussion of minority graduate education and SMET as an integral part of the White House "Race Dialogue," and an update from the Senior Management Integration Group (SMIG) working group on undergraduate education.

The Committee was also briefed on the human resources and outreach components of the NSF Science and Technology Centers. The Committee discussed both Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence and the Life and Earth's Environment themes. The Committee recommended that the NSB issue the Science and Engineering Indicators-1998 "occasional paper" as recommended by the Subcommittee on Science and Engineering Indicators. In Executive Session, the Committee discussed the response to the February 5, 1998 letter from Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. to Dr. Lane, was updated on legal matters concerning the Minority Graduate Fellowship Program and received data on the latest Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) Report.

c. Executive Committee (EC)

The Executive Committee discussed items connected with the February NSB meeting and retreat. Dr. Lane reported on a variety of budget matters, the recommendation of the Alan T. Waterman Committee for this year's awardee. Dr. Marta Cehelsky briefed the Committee on plans for the Board's May awards dinner. Dr. Zare, NSB Chair, indicated that he would propose to the Board that it consider adopting an NSB logo and showed sample designs.

d. Programs and Plans (CPP)

The Committee reviewed the proposed renewal for the Science and Technology Center for Graphics and Visualization, University of Utah, and recommended approval by the full Board. The Committee noted the Center's K-12 outreach, as well as the need for increased focus on recruitment and outreach efforts for women and minorities. Staff were asked to take steps to ensure that significant progress is made in these areas and to report to the Board on the Center's efforts, next year.

The Committee reviewed and recommended approval of an award for the design, construction and operation of the Polar Cap Observatory by SRI International, subject to Congressional approval of the funding request.

The Committee heard several information items, including full discussions with staff on thematic research activities, specifically Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence, and Life
and Earth's Environment. Also, the Committee was briefed on planning for major facility needs, including items currently funded in the major research equipment account, those at the preliminary discussion stage for the future periods, and those still at the conceptual stage.

Finally, the Committee received a status report on staff efforts to conduct a review of the academic fleet operations and management. This study had been requested by the
Committee as a condition to continued funding for two years of the Oceanographic Research Vessel and Submersible Operations. The Committee was pleased with staff efforts and looks forward to receiving the report in the spring of 1999.

e. CPP Task Force on Polar Issues (PI)

The Chair noted that the tenure of the Polar Issues Task Force was discussed during the NSB Executive Committee conference call of January 9, 1998, and that the Chair and
Dr. Hopcroft, Chair of the parent Committee on Programs and Plans, suggested that the Task Force continue to operate for the near term due to the continuing interest and importance of NSF polar programs.

Dr. Lane briefed the Task Force on a visit by a Congressional delegation to South Pole Station in January comprised of members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, including Senator Ted Stevens, the Chairman. He indicated that the visit was successful and focused on the facilities, the science and people in the program.

The Task Force was updated on a number of topics relating to the Arctic and Antarctic programs by Drs. John Hunt and Dr. Robert Corell.

f. Science and Engineering Indicators (S&EI)

The Subcommittee met and reviewed the status of the Science and Engineering
Indicators - 1998 report. The new sidebar materials in the chapters suggested by the Subcommittee have been incorporated and as have some structural changes in chapters 2 and 7 to improve the flow of the presentation. The final sign off on the revisions was obtained this week and the report is ready for printing.

The NSB Occasional Paper, prepared by the Task Force on Industry Reliance on Publicly Funded Research, was discussed and recommended for adoption by EHR and the full Board. Several possible topics for future occasional papers were discussed, including engineering workforce, enrollment and degree patterns.

Ms. Julia Moore, Director of Office of Legislative and Public Affairs (OLPA), presented plans for the S&EI press roll-out, which will include press availability with the financial press in New York City. There was a demonstration of the prototype of the Web version of Indicators.

g. Task Force on Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA)

Drs. Bordogna, Sunley, and Pitts provided an update on the status of GPRA at NSF:
(1) The GPRA strategic plan continues to aid communication with stakeholders and Congressional staff. (2) In performance planning, NSF has been pursuing OMB approval for a strategy which uses quantitative performance measures where feasible, as well as balance between measurement and expert judgment where strictly quantitative measures are difficult. This approach is reflected in the NSF portion of the FY 1999 Government- Wide Performance Plan. It is the basis for the latest draft of the NSF FY 1999 Performance Plan, which NSF hopes will be accepted for transmittal to Congress by OMB this month. (3) Next steps include preparation of a performance report at the end of FY 1999 and integration of the performance plan and budget in the FY 2000 budget cycle.

The Task Force praised NSF for a much improved performance plan, with a crisp, clear statements of goals. The Task Force discussed a number of issues, including (1) how to use GPRA to enhance management and performance, while meeting legal and
administrative requirements, (2) how to foster both the productivity of Federal science and innovation in the larger enterprise, and (3) how to avoid stating goals in a way that could distort incentives or lead to unintended perturbations in the complex system of American

h. Task Force on NSF's 50th Anniversary

The Committee Chair reported on meetings she attended at the Office of Science & Technology Policy in January and with NOVA representatives at NSF on February 10. Both meetings focused on possible NSF 50th anniversary events sponsored by the Board in partnership with other agencies or organizations. Members discussed the possibility of joining with existing programs, e.g., Bayer/NSF Award for Community Innovation. Also discussed were partnerships with AAAS or the Smithsonian for "Science on the Mall" that will occur in October 1997 and sometime in 1999.

The Committee discussed holding a Board-specific event in the year 2000 to occur on the 50th anniversary of the first meeting of the Board, held on December 12, 1950. Members agreed to present a resolution to that effect to the full Board.

Marta Cehelsky
Executive Officer

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