In 1993, the Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy
(COSEPUP) of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of
Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine issued the report Science,
Technology and the Federal Government's National Goals For a New Era. In
that report, COSEPUP suggested that the United States adopt the principle of
being among the world leaders in all major fields of science so that it can
quickly apply and extend advances in science wherever they occur. In addition,
the report recommended that the United States maintain clear leadership in
fields that are tied to national objectives, capture the imagination of society,
or have a multiplicative effect on other scientific advances. To measure
international leadership, the report recommended the establishment of
independent panels that would conduct comparative international assessments of
scientific accomplishments in particular research fields.
Since 1995, the National Science Foundation has been examining various
modes of response to the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA).
This act requires an evaluation of how well the Foundation has met its strategic
goals, which are:
- To enable the United States to uphold a position of world leadership
in all aspects of science, mathematics, and engineering;
- To promote the discovery, integration, dissemination, and employment
of new knowledge in the service of society; and
- To achieve excellence in U.S. science, mathematics, engineering and
technology education at all levels.
Given the recommendations by COSEPUP, it was decided to conduct an international
assessment of the mathematical sciences, as a demonstration project in response
to the GPRA requirement. Hence, in March 1997, a Panel was assembled to
conduct such an assessment. The Panel consisted of leading mathematicians
drawn largely from outside of the United States and of individuals from
important U.S. stakeholder communities that are strongly dependent on the
mathematical sciences. None had received recent NSF funding for their research
in the mathematics sciences. This report is the result of the Panel's deliberations.
Any opinion, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this
report are those of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the
official views, opinions, or policy of the National Science Foundation.