Calendar of Meetings
December 15, 2000
MEMORANDUM TO NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD MEMBERS
SUBJECT: Preliminary Report of the December 14, 2000 Meeting
The major actions of the Board at its 361st meeting on December 14, 2000
are summarized for the information of those members absent and as a reminder
to those present.
1. Board Actions
- The Board approved the report and recommendations
of the Task Force on International Issues in Science & Engineering,
Toward a More Effective NSF Role in International Science and
- The Chairman established a Task Force to lead preparations
for the annual NSB retreat, naming Anita Jones Chair, with members
Drs. Armstrong, Jaskolski and Suzuki, and Dr. Cehelsky as Executive
- The Board approved the recommendations of the Public Service
Award Advisory Committee for individual and group awardees for
2001. The winners will be announced after the Chairman notifies
- The Board approved the list of candidates for the NSB class
of 2008 as recommended by the Ad Hoc Committee on Nominations.
The list will be submitted to the White House in mid-February.
The Board approved the following RFP:|
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Division of Science Resources Studies
Request for Proposals and Award of a
Contract for Conduct of the Doctorate
Data Project (DPP)
Amount not to exceed
3. NSB Committees
(Committee summaries are provided by executive secretaries.)
a. Executive Committee
The Executive Committee received a status report from the Director on
the NSF budget and discussed plans for the NSB retreat in February 2001.
b. Audit & Oversight (A&O)
Reports were provided on issues related to NSF awardee compliance with
certifications and requirements, the FY00 Federal Managers' Financial
Integrity Act (FMFIA) report and NSF's management controls review for
the past fiscal year. The chartering of a new NSF Business and Operations
Advisory Committee was discussed. Updates were provided on the use of
electronic signatures for grant proposals, GPRA and the NSF financial
statements and audit. Last year's reportable condition on property controls
in the Antarctic has been resolved and is no longer a reportable condition.
Dr. Boesz briefly discussed the Management Challenges Letter that the
OIG was requested to prepare for Senator Thompson of the Senate Committee
on Governmental Affairs. The Committee also was informed of the OIG's
plans for audits in the upcoming year, and heard two presentations concerning
an ongoing investigation and audit.
c. Programs and Plans (CPP)
The Committee on Programs and Plans (CPP) received a presentation on
scientific ocean drilling, including agreements governing the current
program, accomplishments, and new opportunities and research. The presentation
outlined ongoing international scientific planning for an Integrated Ocean
Drilling Program post-2003, including plans for both a light drill ship
and a heavy, riser-equipped drill ship.
The Committee was briefed on the external review of the management of
the National Optical Astronomy Observatories (NOAO). NSF response to the
review noted the need for a strong endorsement of a forward-looking strategy,
and concluded that an open competition for the management of NOAO is in
the best interest of U.S. astronomy. CPP supported the NSF response.
The CPP Task Force on Science and Engineering Infrastructure reported
on discussions of its terms of reference, work plan and timetable. The
terms of reference are being refined, to focus on research infrastructure
used by the academic community. A work plan has been outlined to assess
the current infrastructure; identify gaps where data are needed; assess
the changing character of S&E infrastructure; and consider some key
policy and management issues. As part of its infrastructure considerations,
CPP also continued its discussion of planning for cyber infrastructure,
including terascale systems.
The Committee received an update on activities related to the NSB Environment
Report. Highlights from the initiative for Biocomplexity in the Environment
were provided, including the recent suite of awards and theme areas for
the future. The first meeting of the new Advisory Committee for Environmental
Research and Education has been held, with another meeting planned for
February 2001. Emerging five-year goals for the environmental portfolio
were described, as well as "grand challenges" in environmental
science recently identified in a National Academy report. CPP also discussed
the potential for interagency and international partnerships in environment
d. CPP Subcommittee on Polar Issues (PI)
OPP staff reviewed recent developments regarding the South Pole Station
Modernization Schedule and enhanced health and safety programs; use of
automated and remote underwater vehicles to collect data from the Arctic
oceans; the results of social science research on the impact of global
change on northern populations; the study of iceberg formation and activity
in the Antarctic during 2000; and developments from the Joint Global Ocean
Flux Study, particularly with regard to the Southern Ocean.
e. CPP Task Force on S&E infrastructure (INF)
The task force agreed on an initial workplan, timetable and scope (terms
of reference) for the study, which were endorsed by the CPP. There was
consensus that the study should focus primarily on the infrastructure
needs of the academic research community, and in fields where NSF stakeholders
have an interest. The workplan addresses four key tasks: (1) assessing
the current S&E infrastructure, using readily available information;
(2) identifying gaps where additional information is needed, and proposing
ways to obtain it; (3) assessing the changing character, needs and opportunities
of the infrastructure, and (4) assessing the current policy and management
framework for providing and maintaining S&E infrastructure. The task
force will endeavor to complete the study by June 2002.
f. Education and Human Resources (EHR)
The committee heard a presentation on NSF's request for approval to issue
an RFP for the conduct of two surveys to collect data on persons with
doctorate degrees in science and engineering. The committee recommended
The committee also heard reports from the Indicators Subcommittee and
the Task Force on National Workforce Policies for Science and Engineering.
The chair of the Indicators Subcommittee reported that good progress is
being made in revising the report. The chair of the Task Force on Workforce
presented the plan and schedule for their report, which the EHR committee
The rest of the meeting was devoted to the discussion of the NSF Niche
in K-16 and plans for completing a report on the associated policy issues.
The question of the NSF Niche was a major topic at the last meeting of
the EHR Advisory Committee in November. The committee heard from Clara
Tolbert and Karl Pister, consultants to the GPRA subcommittee of the EHR
Advisory Committee, who presented their views of the key issues raised
during the niche discussion in November. Judy Sunley then described a
set of principles to set the context for defining the NSF Niche in K-16
and summarized her view of the key issues raised during the EHR Advisory
Committee meeting. Susan Millar, a member of the EHR Advisory Committee,
also offered her perspective on how NSF can more effectively transfer
results of their projects to practitioners.
The subsequent discussion covered a broad range of issues and factors
related to both niche definition and the formulation of policy. An outline
for the report on NSF's Niche was proposed and agreed to.
g. EHR Subcommittee on Science and Engineering Indicators (SEI)
The S& E Indicators Subcommittee received revised draft thematic
outlines for four chapters: International Research and Development: Funds
and Alliances; Industry, Technology, and the Marketplace; Science and
Engineering Workforce; and Significance of Information Technology. These
chapters were revised by SRS staff based on Subcommittee discussions during
two teleconferences held on November 20. Regarding the Science and Engineering
Workforce chapter, it was again stressed that there is a need to disaggregate
data as much as possible, e.g., data on Hispanics and Asians. In addition,
SRS staff will try to secure more data on the IT workforce educational
background and include a textbox on the various types of jobs that people
do with S&E degrees.
The Subcommittee approved the four revised chapter outlines and directed
SRS to proceed drafting the chapters. Subcommittee members will be asked
to recommend Board members and external reviewers for each draft chapter.
The subcommittee was informed that draft chapters will be available for
review no earlier than mid-April through early May 2001 (2 chapters per
week). These chapters will not be ready for review earlier because of
data availability. Looking ahead to the 2004 Indicators, Rolf Lehming
informed the subcommittee that he will provide a workplan for a new chapter
on the environment for consideration at the March 2001 meeting. The subcommittee
requested a dissemination plan for Indicators-2002 from OLPA at
its meeting in March.
h. EHR Task Force on National Workforce Policies for S&E (NWP)
The task force discussed members' comments on the draft workplan. Members
agreed to focus on issues for which there is a sound empirical base. The
core issues to be addressed are: immigration and graduate training, math
and science teachers, and continuous skill and knowledge development.
With these revisions, the Task Force recommended approval of the workplan
(NSB/EHR/NWP 00-4) to the EHR Committee. It then turned to a list of other
operational concerns, namely, how contractor reports and briefings could
support the work of the Task Force. A briefing was tentatively scheduled
for January 30, 2001, on various workforce-relevant databases and gaps
in knowledge. An updated reference list (NSB/EHR/NWP 00-2) and a package
of new documents was distributed.
h. Task Force on International Issues in S&E (ISE)
Dr. Norman Neureiter, the new Science and Technology Advisor to Secretary
of State Madeleine Albright, gave a presentation to task force members
and other attendees about his first three months in his new job. He described
some of the steps he has been taking to try to advance the integration
of science and engineering into the foreign policy process.
The task force also discussed the Board member comments on the NSF guidance
report, made some changes in response to those comments, approved the
revised report, and asked that it be distributed to the full Board for
approval at Thursday's full Board meeting.
i. Committee on Strategic S&E Policy Issues (SPI)
The Committee heard from Frank Cushing, Chief of Staff, House Appropriations
Committee, on the Congressional process that produces the research budget,
and on needs for scientific input to inform Congressional decisions on
allocations for research. The Committee discussed its draft report. A
revised paper will be prepared and mailed to Committee members in December
for comment, and then shared with the full Board for comment and revision,
and then considered by the Executive Committee in January for distribution
as a draft discussion paper to participants in the January 31-February
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