Dr. Joseph Bordogna
Acting Deputy Director
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
Remarks For IRI Annual Meeting
Federal Science and Technology Committee Meeting
Boca Raton, Florida
May 18, 1997
Good afternoon. It's good to be here and as always,
instructive for me to be a part of the IRI annual
This afternoon I want to take a few minutes to provide
a snapshot of NSF's budget request, discuss a few
of our new initiatives, and provide some follow up
on the status of NSF's ongoing initiatives.
NSF Budget FY 1998 Request
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OVERHEADS #1 and #2
Our FY '98 budget continues to make its way through
Congress. Very quickly the following is what our budget
request consists of:
- Starting with the bottom line, our total request
comes to $3.367 billion. This is an increase of
nearly $100 million - $97 million to be precise
- over our current funding level. This represents
a 3 percent increase, which keeps us on a par
NSF Budget Request by Appropriation
- Research and related activities increases by 3.4
percent to just over $2.5 billion. This reflects
NSF's emphasis on giving priority to merit-based
research and supporting our university enterprise.
- Education and Human Resources increases by 1.1
percent to a total of $626 million. This includes
a very dynamic and innovative set of activities
that reach all educational levels.
- The Major Research Equipment account includes
a small increase of $5 million bringing the request
to a level of $85 million which provides the funds
for several important facilities development projects
which I will talk about a bit later.
- And our administrative requirements receive a
modest increase of 2%.
Structuring the Investment Portfolio--NSF Budget by
Key Program Function
- Research project support increases by just under
- The research facilities function rises by 3.5
- The education and training function also increases
by 3.5 percent.
- Administrative expenses rise by 2 percent -- although
NSF salaries and expenses continue to remain at
4% of our overall budget.
NSF Balanced Portfolio
When you put all these pieces together, you can see
that we have been able to maintain what we think is
a very healthy balance across our portfolio. I should
add that these are large budget categories which should
not be expected to change rapidly.
NSF Investment Outcomes
- Produce discoveries that shed new light on the
world around us
- Make vital connections between discoveries and
service to society
- Develop diverse, productive, globally-oriented
- Facilitate proficiency in math and science skills
Integrative Investment in Research and Education
- NSF as investment agent for S&E research and
- Broad portfolio of integrated investments
NSF FY 1998 Request: Highlights and Priorities
- Knowledge & Distributed Intelligence in the Age
- Life and Earth's Environment
- Educating for the Future
Knowledge & Distributed Intelligence
We are making significant investments in FY 1998 in
a number of emerging areas of science and engineering.
The first of these is what we refer to as Knowledge
and Distributed Intelligence in the Age of Information
(KDI). This is a broad-based, multi-disciplinary effort
that aims to keep academic science and engineering
at the leading edge of information technologies.
KDI by contrast is perhaps the most
encompassing venture NSF has ever pursued. It cuts
across all fields of research and touches education
at all levels. And, it is inseparable from the trends
and technologies that are driving growth and opportunity
in our economy and society - from networks to sensors
to virtual reality systems.
That is why KDI is a centerpiece of
our FY 98 budget. It will support research that will
help us take the next quantum leap forward in terms
of both scientific progress and economic and societal
benefit. Web browsers, computer aided design, technologies
for learning, and reliable methods of transferring
data are just a few of the advances and benefits that
have deep roots in academic research across a wide
range of fields and disciplines. It is impossible
to predict the next level of tools and capabilities.
But, we can be confident they will be spectacular!
NSF's KDI effort supports two sets of
- First is the Next Generation Internet. NSF's role
in this multi-agency effort is intended to keep
academic science and engineering at the cutting
edge of computing and networking technologies.
This will receive $10 million. The President has
devoted $100 from across the government to funding
the Next Generation Internet in FY 1998.
- The second component of the investment package
is: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Knowledge
and Distributed Intelligence. This effort will
span such activities as knowledge-based networking,
learning and intelligent systems, and new approaches
to computational tools important to many disciplines.
This will receive an additional $48 million.
The total increase for KDI therefore
comes to $58 million, which builds on an existing
base of related activities that totals roughly $356
Life and Earth's Environment
We will continue to expand our efforts directed at
gaining a better understanding of Life and Earth's
Environment. In that capacity, we are focusing on
how living organisms interact with their environment.
This includes how we humans affect our environment
and how our environment affects us.
Under this heading, we will be expanding support for
activities that focus particularly on Life in Extreme
We will also examine ways to improve coordination
across a range of NSF-supported research activities
related to Urban Communities. This includes such areas
as physical infrastructure, hazards mitigation, political
structures, and ecological processes.
Educating for the Future: The Integration of Research
The FY 1998 request also continues our emphasis on
activities that promote the integration of research
and education. This was one of the key themes to emerge
from our strategic plan, and it has become a central
feature of programs throughout the Foundation.
Research Experiences for Undergraduates - one of our
most successful and popular programs - increases by
11 percent to almost $30 million.
The CAREER Program - short for Faculty
Early Career Development - is our flagship effort
for junior faculty and young investigators. It enables
them to link their research with their teaching and
mentoring responsibilities. It increases by 21 percent
to $83 million.
Also, programs such as the GOALI Program
- Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry
- also continues to expand, rising 15 percent to just
under $30 million. GOALI has become
a highly effective means for giving graduate students
and postdocs the opportunity to work in industrial
Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training
One of NSF's new initiatives is an experimental, $20
million activity to broaden graduate training. It's
known as IGERT, or the Integrative Graduate
Education and Research Training Program. This activity
will increase is:
- Designed to broaden and increase flexibility of
- Based on Research Training Groups and Traineeships
- Extend opportunities for graduate students to
work on multidisciplinary projects and to gain
experience in private industry.
NSF Supported Centers
And our research centers continue to provide an environment
where research and education cross disciplines as
well as industry and university boundary experiences
for the almost 25,000 (actual: 24,793) participants
that are involved in these Centers.
Overall financial support for the Centers from NSF
is $209 million. Total leveraged support for the Centers
(i.e., funding for centers from sources other than
NSF) is approximately $305 million.
It is significant to note that the Centers have almost
2,000 (1,982) different non-academic partners ranging
from industry, to states and other federal agencies.
The total number of Centers NSF now supports is 176.
An important point about the Centers is that we believe
in ensuring the work of the Centers remains fresh
and cutting edge. Recent competitive merit review
has resulted in phasing down six of the Engineering
Research Centers and initiating three to four new
ERCs in 1998.
This is a process that enables NSF to continue to
push the frontiers of new knowledge and education
and provide resource to new opportunities as they
In FY 1998, we will initiate support for two major
- The Polar Cap Observatory will be located near
the Earth's northern magnetic pole. This facility
will track a number of phenomena in the atmosphere
and ionosphere, including events like the solar
eruption that many believe knocked out a $200
million communications satellite this past January.
Our request is $25 million which will provide
for the full cost of constructing the observatory.
- Our other new start is the first phase of the
Millimeter Array, which will be the world's most
sensitive, highest resolution, millimeter-wavelength
telescope. The FY 1998 request includes $9 million
to begin the design and development phase of the
- The budget also includes $26 million to complete
funding for the construction of LIGO, the Laser
Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory.
- We are also requesting $25 million to maintain
investments in much-needed facility improvements
at the South Pole. My enormous thanks go out to
Norm Augustine who led a top-to-bottom review
of NSF's operations in the Antarctic. The Antarctic
is a true scientific treasure-trove - a veritable
bounty for everything from solar neutrinos to
Martian meteorites. Norm's work has positioned
the U.S. Antarctic Program to remain a mainstay
of U.S. science and engineering for many generations
NSF FY 1998 Request/Operations Context
- Balanced Portfolio
- Low Overhead, High Efficiency
- Increased Investment in Key Areas
Investment Portfolio: Setting Priorities
- Field specific: physics vs. chemistry, science
- Mode of support: individual investigators vs.
centers, people vs. facilities
- Conceptual: basic vs. applied, fundamental vs.
- Analysis vs. synthesis, hands-on vs. abstract
learning, hard vs. soft
- Balanced Risk: embryonic vs. emerging vs. state
of the art
Impact of Investments in S&E/ Partnership Opportunities
We know from countless studies and examples that investments
in science and engineering deliver high returns. Indeed
nearly half of all real economic growth in our economy
over the past fifty years can be attributed to advances
in science and technology.
And we are increasingly aware that investments in
science and technology are inseparable from job creation
and economic growth.
I don't want to take up much time during the presentation,
but I do want to say a few words on the issue of the
CHI Report (aka the Narin Report) released last month.
This report, supported by NSF, performed a study on
the growing citation linkage between U.S. patents
and scientific research papers.
Some of the findings include:
- 73% of the papers cited by U.S. industry patents
are public science, authored at academic, governmental,
and other public institutions; 27% are authored
by industrial scientists.
- References from U.S. patents to U.S.-authored
research papers have tripled over a six year period,
from 17,000 during 1987-88 to 50,000 during 1993-94,
a period in which the U.S. patent system grew
by only 30 percent.
NSF feels the study's results confirm what we have
maintained since 1950 when the Foundation was created,
and that is that basic science and engineering research
is the critical catalyst for much of our nation's
economy and quality of life.
Noteworthy as well from this report is the linkage
between basic research and commercial technology development.
In my estimation, the study's conclusion has the most
impact, and that is that industry is increasingly
depending on publicly supported basic research.
The work of top economists like Edwin Mansfield provides
further evidence of this direct linkage. Mansfield's
recent work has focused on links between academic
research and innovation in industry and the rates
of return from this investment. He has found that
government support lays the foundation for successful
And further, that academic research that attracts
industry support is most often an extension of work
supported by public sources. This again testifies
to the importance of Federal support, since over 60
percent of the funding for academic R&D comes from
NSF, NIH and other Federal agencies.
These findings, coupled with today's Federal budget
environment makes this an especially crucial period
for industry-university linkages. Over the last two
decades, we have seen partnerships between academe
and industry grow from virtually nothing into a bountiful
landscape of innovative endeavors.
In 1980, for example, industry's total investment
in academic R&D was under $250 million. Today, it
tops $1.5 billion. When we adjust these levels for
inflation, that represents an increase of over 300
In the current environment, however, nothing would
be more dangerous than to look at the gains we've
realized and assume we can rest on our laurels. Even
with the growth we've seen over the last fifteen-plus
years, industry support for academic R&D remains a
small portion of the total for academic R&D, and it
constitutes an even smaller portion of industry's
total R&D portfolio.
The latest data show that industry funding is still
under 7 percent of total academic R&D, and that these
investments constitute only 1.5 percent of total industry-funded
For both sectors, these collaborations are small but
growing slices of much larger pies. We'd all like
for them to continue growing.
As I have articulated in these remarks, NSF's budget
request for FY 1998 indicates a strong emphasis on
integrative and cooperative activities where our investment
can have the most impact.
As part of this great nation, industry and government
together must forge a "critical mass" of knowledge,
skill, and infrastructure. This must also include
public and private schools, colleges and universities
of all types, industry and small business, government
at all levels, and the talented personnel from each
sector. It must be guided by a collective vision of
where we need to go and a collaborative spirit of
how we can get there.
In essence, it means going back to words written over
50 years ago by FDR's science advisor, Vannevar Bush.
At the beginning of his 1945 report, Science:
The Endless Frontier, Bush laid down a concise
vision. He said, "Science can be effective in the
national welfare only as a member of a team." I think
that his words have become increasingly prescient.
It does not matter that we now talk of partnerships
instead of Bush's "teams." What does matter is that
we recognize the need for collective effort, for collaborations
where each partner has something to offer and each
has something to learn.
We no longer live in an era where academe can provide
an autonomous career sheltered from society's needs
and problems. We no longer live in a time when U.S.
industry believes it has nothing to learn from other
nations or other sectors, an attitude that persisted
for too long. We no longer live in the luxury of succeeding
on first-rate higher education and mediocre K-12 education.
We no longer live in the industrial age when a modestly-skilled
assembly-line workforce could propel the nation.
And, we can no longer expect public support for science
and engineering research in the form of a blank check
and an undefined agenda. Well, maybe a modest blank
check here or there, once in a while, based on partnered
trust, but certainly not an undefined agenda - and
certainly not an agenda that overlooks the natural
linkages between research and education.
In this period of transition from an era of Cold War
to an era of knowledge and distributed intelligence,
both pitfalls and possibilities abound. We must be
astute observers, students and practitioners of the
shifting global landscape, and we must agree on a
collective vision and plot a path together to reach
Thank you so much for your attention and I'd be happy
to answer any questions you may have.