New Orleans, Louisiana
February 4-5, 2004
Warren M. Washington (Chair)
Rita R. Colwell, ex officio
Delores M. Etter
The National Science Board (NSB) convened in open session at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 5, 2004, with Dr. Warren M. Washington, Chair, presiding (Agenda NSB-04-13). In accordance with the Government in the Sunshine Act, this portion of the meeting was open to the public.
Dr. Washington noted that the Board visited the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) on Wednesday, February 4. He thanked Dr. Barish, Dr. Michael Turner, Assistant Director for Mathematical & Physical Sciences Directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the staff of LIGO for preparing and presenting the overview of the site and science. He further noted that Dr. Joseph Savoie, Commissioner of Higher Education for the State of Louisiana provided an overview of the priorities of science and engineering and research and education in the State during a Wednesday evening event.
He also thanked Dr. Steven Cowen, President of Tulane University, and Dr. Norman Francis, President of Xavier University, for hosting the Board during their visit. He noted the unique partnerships between the two universities—one a small historically black (HBCU) undergraduate teaching institution and the other a large research-intensive university and the examples of innovative approaches to develop joint research and academic projects to benefit students.
Dr. Norman Francis, President, Xavier University, welcomed the Board and thanked them for the opportunity to host the meeting in New Orleans.
AGENDA ITEM 4: Open Session Minutes, November 2003
The Board approved the Open Session minutes of the November 2003 meeting,
(NSB-03-163, Board Book Tab B).
AGENDA ITEM 5: Closed Session Items for March 2004
The Board approved the Closed Session items for the March 2004 Board meeting,
(NSB-04-12, Board Book Tab C).
AGENDA ITEM 6: Chairman’s Report
a. Establishment of Committees:
Dr. Washington reported that he had established the following two committees:
a. Ad hoc Committee on the 2004 Vannevar Bush Award with Dr. Bowen, Chair and Drs. Beering, Hastings, Fedoroff and Savitz as committee members. Mrs. Susan Fannoney will serve as Executive Secretary.
b. Ad hoc Committee on NSB Nominations for the Class of 2006-2012 with Dr. Wrighton as Chair, and Drs. Barish, Ford, Natalicio, Randall, and Simberloff, as members. Dr. Michael Crosby, NSB Executive Officer, will coordinate the committee’s activities and be the liaison to the White House and Mrs. Susan Fannoney will serve as Executive Secretary to the committee.
b. Science and Engineering Indicators 2004
The Chairman called on Dr. Richardson, Chair, Education & Human
Resources (EHR) Subcommittee on Science & Engineering Indicators
to report on the 2004 issue. Dr. Richardson noted that the biennial
report had been submitted to the President. After the President
responds, the report will be made public.
c. FY 2005 Budget
The Chairman stated that a copy of the President’s FY 2005 budget summary would be distributed to all members. The more comprehensive budget books are available for distribution and members were asked to inform Dr. Crosby if they wanted a copy.
AGENDA ITEM 7: Director’s Report
a. Congressional Update
Dr. Rita Colwell, NSF Director, provided an update of congressional actions since the November 2003 Board meeting. She reported that President Bush signed the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2004 on January 23, 2004. The Act included funding for the NSF at $267.9 million, or five percent over the FY 2003 budget. The President released the FY 2005 budget on February 2.
The House Science Committee scheduled a hearing on February 5 for federal agencies under its jurisdiction. NSF, Office of Science & Technology Policy, Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security will provide testimony. The Senate and independent agency appropriation hearing is scheduled for February 26.
b. Overview of NSF FY 2005 Budget
The Director stated that the Foundation requested a three percent increase over the FY 2004 budget, or $5.745 billion. She noted that the NSF budget has grown by 68 percent between FY 1998 and FY 2004, which indicates strong support within the administration and Congress. The 2002 NSF Authorization Act endorsed substantial increases through FY 2007. The budget identifies NSF’s most pressing needs during the coming year: strengthening the NSF’s ability to administer an increase in awards; improving productivity with an increase in grant size and duration; expanding fellowships and assistantships; and improving science and engineering infrastructure. All categories except Education and Human Resources were increased in the budget.
The Director emphasized that the increased budget numbers reflect the expected outcomes of people, ideas and tools. The $76 million increase for salaries and expenses will provide opportunities to address the increasing workplace pressure of an overburdened staff, provide new skills for the workforce, improve the quality and responsiveness of customer service, improve cyber and building security, and protect information networks and databases. The number of fellowships in the graduate education program will be increased by 500 to 5,500, including the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships (IGERTs), Graduate Research Fellowships (GRFs), and Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12). Also, the graduate stipends will increase to $30,00 in FY 2004 and remain level in FY 2005 with the increase in the number of fellowships.
The investment total of $2.8 million in FY 2005 for ideas will support new discoveries to be made by the science and engineering community. Increasing award size and duration remains a top long-term priority. The FY 2005 increase reflects a total increase to 71 percent over the last six years. NSF will continue investing in centers programs that provide opportunities to integrate research and education and pursue innovative and risky research. NSFs investment in its centers programs is $457 million, or an increase of $44 million in FY 2005, including a new cohort of six science and technology centers that will develop partnerships linking industry, government and educational community to improve the transfer of research results and provide research opportunities for students. Centers funding also includes $20 million to support multidisciplinary multiinstitutional science of learning centers to advance the understanding of learning through research on the learning process; two new nanotechnology centers; two centers of advanced fundamental knowledge about environmental social and behavioral science and three information technology centers; the NSF long-term ecological research network; and $6 million to fund mathematical and physical science centers.
The FY 2005 budget also provides funding for international science and engineering at an increase of $34 million, plus an innovation fund of $5 million that will provide an opportunity for the Foundation to respond quickly to rapidly emerging activities at the frontier of science and discovery.
The FY 2005 investment for tools is $1.5 billion, as recommended in the National Science Board’s 2003 report Science and Engineering Infrastructure for the 21st Century: The Role of the National Science Foundation (NSB–02-190). This continues the revitalization and upgrading of an aging research infrastructure through investments in cutting-edge tools, from small instrumentation to midsize and large infrastructure.
The Director noted that there are three continuing and three new projects funded by the $213 million investment for Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC): (1) $12 million for National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), which had planning money in the FY 2004 budget. NEON is a continental scale research instrument with geographically distributed infrastructure linked by state-of-the-art networking and communications technology that will facilitate studies that address major environmental challenges and improve predictability of environmental change. (2) $41 million for the Scientific Ocean Drilling Vessel (SODV), a state-of-the-art drill ship used by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP). The IODP is an international collaboration of scientists and engineers who will explore the history of the changes in the oceans and climate. (3) $30 million for the Rare Symmetry Violating Processes (RSVP), which includes two highly sensitive experiments to study fundamental symmetries of nature. RSVP focuses on questions ranging from the origins of the Universe to the nature of dark matter. Two upcoming MREFCs are the Ocean Observatories and the Alaska Regional Research Vessel that the Foundation anticipates funding for in FY 2006.
Dr. Wrighton noted that the Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) had been zeroed out of the NSF budget for transfer to the Department of Education. Dr. Wrighton recommended that the Board’s Education and Human Resources Committee review this action. Dr. Langford responded that during the EHR Committee meeting it was agreed that a letter would be drafted for Board approval prior to transmittal to Congress, the Office of Science & Technology Policy and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) expressing the Board’s belief that the Foundation was the appropriate place for the program.
AGENDA ITEM 8: Committee Reports
a. Executive Committee
Dr. Colwell stated that there was no Executive Committee report.
b. Committee on Programs and Plans (CPP)
Dr. Jones, Chair, called on Dr. Fedoroff to report on high risk research.
Dr. Fedoroff stated that planning for a workshop on high risk research is continuing and should be finalized during the March Board meeting.
Dr. Jones reminded Board members that there will be a workshop on March 23 at the NSF to discuss the policy issues involved in collection and curating long-lived data collections. She asked members to provide names of potential speakers to Ms. Sonya Mallinoff, Executive Secretary to the committee. Further, Dr. Jones recommended to the Board that a new task force be formally created and provided a proposed charter. After review of the charter, the following action was taken:
The National Science Board unanimously approved the charter for the Committee on Programs & Plans, Task Force on Long-lived Data Collections (NSB 04-19, attached as Appendix A).
The committee discussed the National Academies report on Setting Priorities for Large Research Facility Projects Sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Drs. Jones, Barish and Ford will collaborate on a draft white paper intended to capture fundamental ideas regarding National Research Council (NRC) priority setting report and present it to CPP and the Board at the March meeting.
c. Education and Human Resources Committee (EHR)
Dr. Langford, chair, reported that the committee heard an update from Dr. Crosby and Ms. Jean Pomeroy, Senior Policy Analyst, NSB Office, on the continued attention in the media and elsewhere for the Board’s policy report, The Science and Engineering Workforce / Realizing America’s Potential (NSB 03-69).
Dr. Judith Ramaley, Assistant Director, Education & Human Resources, gave a presentation on NSF support for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), noting that expanding participation in S&E for minority students involved support for individuals, support for institutions, and support for alliances and collaborations.
Dr. Langford stated that the Board had received a copy of the draft
report on the Broadening Participation Workshop, held in August
2003. The focus of the workshop was on the discrepancy between rising
minority enrollments in Research I and liberal arts colleges and
the number of minority faculty at these institutions. The committee
will draft a recommendation for circulation to the Board on how
the Board should address the issue of increasing minority faculty
at research universities.
d. Committee on Strategy and Budget (CSB)
Dr. Savitz, chair, described a series of meetings to discuss the
Board’s Section 22 Report that she Dr. Washington, and Dr.
Crosby held with staff from Office of Science and Technology Policy
(OSTP), OMB and relevant House and Senate committees on January
26, 2004. The meetings were well attended, positive, and productive.
Attendees felt that the NSB report provided a useful broad roadmap
for NSF and should be widely distributed, including the NSB website
and a press release.
e. Discussion of NAPA Report on NSF Organization and Structure
Dr. Wrighton, Chair, Audit & Oversight Committee, reported that the committee would develop a response to the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) report that was requested by Congress in connection with the FY 2003 appropriation. The NAPA report is intended to provide recommendations for the NSF to improve its organizational, programmatic and personnel structures to optimize responses to future increases in funding. There are four issues addressed in the report: (1) NSF organization and program structure and the impact of NSF’s organizational structures, processes and issues related to interdisciplinary projects and innovative research; (2) investigator initiated programs versus NSF priority research areas; (3) the role of the National Science Board; and (4) Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) employees from academia in short-term NSF management positions.
The Board had the opportunity to review a preliminary draft report section on the role of the Board and provided initial comments to NAPA. Some issues included the perceived ambiguity with the role of the NSB in connection with its responsibilities to the NSF and other constituencies, the need to establish appropriate guidelines for applying the Government in the Sunshine Act, and the need to maximize the positive impact of the Office of the Inspector General. Dr. Wrighton asked Board members to review the draft prepublication copy of the NAPA report and provide comments to Dr. Crosby by the end of February for transmittal to NAPA. The final version of the NAPA report will include an NSB respond to the report in March.
AGENDA ITEM 9: NSF Funding of Smithsonian & Other Federal Researchers
The Chairman called on Mr. Lawrence Rudolph, the NSF General Counsel, to provide an overview of Board and Foundation policies regarding NSF funding of federal researchers.
Mr. Rudolph stated that when NSF was created in 1950 there was a concern as to whether NSF would be coordinating all federal research or whether other agencies would have their own research portfolio. That concern was resolved in 1950 when the President issued an Executive Order that stated that every agency had its own research jurisdiction and the NSF would not supplement or supplant that or interfere with other agency research. In 1980, NSF Circular number 108 stated that “NSF has the express statutory authority to support research performed by other federal agencies.” The circular also stipulated that the Smithsonian would be considered a government agency. However, awards administered by the Smithsonian for Smithsonian research associates who are not and have not been regular Smithsonian employees are treated as awards to a nonacademic nonprofit organization. NSF currently accepts proposals for Smithsonian activities of its nonemployee research associates. In 1980, the National Science Board affirmed the policy set in NSF Circular 108 that stipulates that NSF will fund federal agencies or FFRDC’s if they demonstrate that they make unique contributions to the needs of researchers elsewhere or to other specific NSF objectives.
Mr. Rudolph reviewed the various types of funded researchers, i.e., joint appointments partly funded by Smithsonian and a home institution; trust fund researchers totally funded by the Smithsonian; and regular researchers fully funded by federal dollars (a government employee). The NSF policy only applies to full-time government employees.
NAPA and the House and Senate Appropriations Commissions have requested a clarification of the issue of funding for researchers from other agencies. After a review of all relevant documentation, Mr. Rudolph’s view is that the Smithsonian Institution is government created and controlled, and established by federal statute to carry out a wide range of educational, cultural and scientific functions. He commented that it is incumbent upon NSF to make sure the Board’s policy is clearly understood throughout the Foundation. Mr. Rudolph also suggested that the Board has three options: (1) reaffirm the existing policy established in 1980; (2) open the grant process to all Smithsonian researchers and keep the remainder of the policy in place; or (3) open the grant process to all government agencies and FFRDC’s.
Mr. Rudolph suggested that before the Board take formal action, a meeting should be held with the Smithsonian Institute representatives and Board representatives to determine if a more uniform and clarified application of the current policy would meet Smithsonian needs. Participants should report back to the Board at the March 2004 meeting of any outcomes. If there is a common ground for resolving the issue, Mr. Rudolph recommended that the NSF and the Smithsonian meet with Mr. Dwyer, House Appropriations Committee. If the Smithsonian continues to insist on equal funding as if they were a research institution, then the National Science Board would need to make a policy decision and inform Congress of that action.
Mr. Rudolph strongly recommended that the current policy be recirculated to the NSF program managers and adhered to by NSF staff. It is the current sense of senior staff at the Foundation that it would be inappropriate to open NSF funding to federal agency scientists.
a. Antarctica 2003
The Chairman invited Dr. Barish and Dr. Sequeira to comment on their trip to Antarctica in 2003.
Dr. Barish stated that he and Dr. Sequeira were accompanied by Dr. Michael Turner, and Dr. Peter Freeman, Assistant Director, Computer Information Science and Engineering in December for a visit to Antarctica. A special thanks was given to Dr. Scott Borg, Head, Antarctic Sciences Section, Office of Polar Programs, NSF, for the coordination and oversight of the visit. Visits to McMurdo Station and the South Pole itself were exciting. Dr. Barish complimented NSF on the excellent organization and oversight of the program from transportation to the Antarctic to the complex programs supported there. He noted his particular interest in the astronomy and physics experiments on going at the South Pole and provided insight on a particular experiment in cosmology. He suggested that the NSF more actively participate with the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on the long duration balloon flights that are initiated at the Pole.
Dr. Sequeira commended the Office of Polar Program staff and all
the scientists at the South Pole for their dedication and enthusiasm
in managing the McMurdo Station. He endorsed
Dr. Barish’s observations.
b. O’Donnell Foundation
Dr. Vasquez reported that she had visited the O’Donnell Foundation, which is devoted to building model programs to enhance the quality of education, in Dallas, Texas. The O’Donnell Foundation, along with the school district and industry support, funds teacher training and programs starting at the middle school level to prepare students to pass Advanced Placement (AP) exams in math, English and science. There are 28 school districts in Texas participating in the five-year program. Dr. Vasquez stated that she would send more detailed information to Board members and suggested that Mr. Peter O’Donnell, President and Chairman of the Foundation, be invited to a future Board meeting.
After thanking Board members, NSF staff, and others who helped prepare for and who participated in the meeting, Dr. Washington adjourned the Open Session at 3:12 p.m.
Susan E. Fannoney
National Science Board Office
A. Charter for Long-Lived Data Collection Task Force (NSB-04-19)
Appendix A to NSB-04-28
February 5, 2004
Charter for the Long-lived Data Collection Task Force
Data collections, particularly digital data collections for research, have been increasing in number and size over the past couple of decades. They range from small single investigator collections to very large collections whose content is derived from instruments housed in large facilities. Over this same period, the National Science Foundation (NSF) obligations for support for both data collection and curation has been increasing.
The Foundation differs from agencies, such as NASA, NOAA, and the Department of Energy. Typically, their strategy is for the agency to own and manage the collections. As a consequence, they own and manage many fewer independent collections than the NSF supports. With ownership comes agency control for data format standards and access policies. The Foundation does not typically maintain data collections itself. It is individual researchers, consortia, and organizations that develop and maintain large facilities that manage the collections. This has resulted in a proliferation of data collections, large and small, across all disciplines. There is divergence in formats, access policies, and in quality.
It is timely to consider the policy ramifications of this rapid growth of data collections in the NSF-supported community. This National Science Board task force will address the policy issues directly relevant to the NSF’s style of data collection support. These policy issues and questions include:
The objective of this National Science Board task force is to delineate the policy issues relevant to the National Science Foundation and its style and culture of supporting the collection and curation of research data. For those issues where guidance to the Foundation is appropriate, the task force should make recommendations for the National Science Board and the community to consider.
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