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Remarks

Photo of Joseph Bordogna

Dr. Joseph Bordogna
Deputy Director
Chief Operating Officer
National Science Foundation
Biography

ITR Grantee Meeting
Hyatt Regency
Crystal City, VA
June 10, 2004

Thank you, Suzi and good morning to everyone. I am pleased to welcome all of you to the first ITR Grantee Meeting.

By all accounts, this promises to be an exciting and informative gathering, where we can all learn from the experiences of information technology research across the frontier of science and engineering. Indeed, reading through all the titles of the ITR awards reveals both a robust disciplinary coverage across that frontier along with an in-depth reach into many disciplinary interfaces. It is there where the value of an NSF priority area sees its greatest impact, linking boundaries and creatively transforming disciplines. This exciting outcome meets the responsibility owed the commonweal for its investment in your work.

Society has long held great expectations for science and engineering. From our earliest origins, human and social dynamics have shaped our technologies just as our technologies have shaped our lives and our societies. Today the expectations are heightened.

The historic expectations for the National Science Foundation were articulated by the renowned engineer, Vannevar Bush, in a letter to President Truman date July 5, 1945. This was five years before NSF came into being and formed the core of Professor Bush's seminal work, "The Endless Frontier," the document most responsible for NSF's birth.

"The pioneer spirit," Bush wrote, "is still vigorous within this Nation. Science offers a large unexplored hinterland for the pioneer who has the tool for his task. The rewards for such exploration both for the nation and the individual are great. Scientific progress is one essential key to our security as a nation, to our better health, to more jobs, to a higher standard of living, and to our cultural progress."

Bush's manifesto was a tall order, and almost six decades later, these expectations still hold true. Today, however, the global economic environment and the increasing power of eclecticism of our research and education tools, lends further urgency to what we must and can do to meet those expectations. In the contemporary view of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Engineering (PCAST), Bush's "Endless Frontier" is ever more relevant as a focus for continuously enriching the nation’s dynamic "innovation ecosystem." The yield from investment in this system are the talent, techniques, tools, and discoveries to enable technological revolutions.

Assuring our future requires a continually enriched knowledge base and a workforce so trained and capable, so agile and up to date, that it thrives on the continuous technological and fast paced progress that are an absolute certainty in coming years.

Today's knowledge-based society places a premium on creativity, innovation, and ensuring that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts – a veritable fever of curiosity and realizing ideas that explode old paradigms with astonishing insights.

The National Science Foundation believes that these characteristics are vital to the nation's Science & Engineering enterprise and, in fact, to the overall future of the nation. Our vision statement reflects this: "Enabling the nation’s future through discovery, learning, and innovation."

Discovery, learning and innovation are about the future. They are powerful forces for progress. To continually cross boundaries, explore as yet unimagined territory, and find fresh paths to a better future requires daring, boldness, linking, and a taste for adventure. These are risky undertakings, so we need courage, grit and determination to see us through.

I see all of this in your individual and team work and I sense that this grantee meeting will add an even more integrated dimension to your efforts.

As a direct response to the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee's (PITAC) Report of 1999, NSF's ITR Priority Area investment has been a catalyst for stimulating risky, innovative, high-return research and education, serving as a vital step in enabling the flow of new ideas and in training the next generation of researchers and educators. NSF is proud to have played a leading role in answering the charge of the 1999 PITAC Report.

To quote that PITAC report, "We have an essential national interest in ensuring continued flowed of good new ideas and trained professionals in information technology."

We will continue to look to you for the innovative ideas that will influence information technology, now and in the future. Know that your contributions and your vision continue to serve the nation’s advancement and competitiveness. We all thank you.

Return to a list of Dr. Bordogna's speeches.

 

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