The Hilton Hotel and Conference Center
The University of Houston
Houston, Texas
October 8-10, 1997

Members Present Members Absent:
Richard N. Zare, Chairman
Diana S. Natalicio, Vice Chairman
John A. Armstrong* Sanford Greenberg
F. Albert Cotton Frank H.T. Rhodes
Mary K. Gaillard Ian Ross
M.R.C. Greenwood Vera Rubin
Charles E. Hess Robert Solow
John H. Hopcroft John A. White, Jr.
Stanley Jaskolski*
Eamon M. Kelly
Jane Lubchenco*
Shirley Malcom**
Eve L. Menger*
Claudia Mitchell-Kernan
James L. Powell*
Bob H. Suzuki
Richard Tapia
Warren M. Washington
Neal F. Lane, Director

*Attended Wednesday and Thursday only.
**Attended Wednesday and Friday only.
Note: The Board, at its 347th meeting, February 25-27, 1998, approved the Provisional Minutes of the Open Session of the 345th meeting.

The National Science Board convened in Open Session at 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday, October 8, 1997, with Dr. John Hopcroft, Acting Chairman, presiding (Agenda NSB-97-169, Revised, October 7, 1997). In accordance with the Government in the Sunshine Act, this portion of the meeting was open to the public.

AGENDA ITEM 1: Closed Session Agenda Items, November 1997 Meeting

The Acting Chairman reviewed the Closed Session Agenda items and presented a resolution to close portions of the November1997 meeting (NSB-97-162, Board book, Tab A). The Board's action on the proposed resolution and certification is attached to these minutes as Appendix A.

AGENDA ITEM 2: Chairman's Report: Schedule for the Meeting

Due to Dr. Zare’s delayed arrival because of weather and airline problems and Dr. Natalicio’s absence, Dr. Hopcroft served as Acting Chairman during Wednesday afternoon, October 8. Dr. Hopcroft reported that the major objective of the meeting on Wednesday was to complete the discussion of the working paper on Government Support of Scientific Research. Thursday and Friday morning would be devoted to a discussion of graduate and postdoctoral education.

NONAGENDA ITEM: Director’s Report

Congressional Matters


Dr. Neal Lane, NSF Director, reported that on September 30 the House and Senate completed the conference report on the VA, HUD and Independent Agencies appropriations for FY 1998. For NSF, the conferees recommended $3.43 billion, an increase of 5% over the FY 1997 level and $62M more than the FY 1998 request. The Director noted that this is the first time since the

FY 1984 budget that NSF has received its full request, and had Congress provide more than the President’s requests for the Foundation’s research and education programs.

The Director stated that the appropriation contains a 5% increase, or $114M more than in FY 1997, including $31M more than requested for the Research and Related Activities account. There is an additional $40M to support an expanded plant genome research effort and $1M for NSF participation in the U.S.-Mexico Research Foundation. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency also received $1M each for the same Foundation.

The Conferees directed NSF to credit to the research account $23M from the Domain name registration activity’s intellectual infrastructure fund to support NSF activities in the Next Generation Internet program.

For the Major Research Equipment (MRE) account, the conferees recommended $109M, to include $70M towards the rehabilitation of the South Pole Station in the Antarctic, with $35M available upon enactment and $35M available at the start of the next fiscal year. However, the conferees deferred support for the proposed Polar Ice Cap observatory and called for NSF to submit a report on the proposed project and the science to be done there. The conference agreement also provides $9M to begin the Millimeter Array radio telescope, $26M for Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) construction, and an additional $4M to support technology enhancement and other related construction expenses associated with the Gemini telescope project.

The Education and Human Resources budget of $632.5M is $14.5M more than the FY 1997 level and $7M more than requested. This includes additional funds for the Advanced Technological Education program and for minority graduate and undergraduate initiatives.


The Director reported that House and Senate staff held informal discussions concerning the feasibility of completing the NSF authorization bill this Fiscal Year.

Hearings and New Legislation

The Director reported on two hearings before Congress: (1) representatives from NSF, the Department of Commerce, and the Internet community testified before the House Basic Research Subcommittee on the transition process of the internet registration issue from the Federal government to the private sector; and (2) the House Science Committee continued hearings on math and science education and heard testimony from Dr. Bruce Alberts, President, National Academy of Sciences and others.

Two authorization bills of interest to NSF recently passed the U.S. House. They are an interagency earthquake hazards reduction bill, and reauthorization of the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. The earthquake bill involves NSF, the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA). The STTR bill, which reaffirms the existing program in a number of R&D agencies, is intended to help create partnerships between university researchers and small businesses in the high-technology arena.

AGENDA ITEM 3: Report of the Task Force on the October 1997 Meeting

The Acting Chairman, Dr. Hopcroft, expressed appreciation to the Task Force, chaired by Dr. Kelly, with Drs. Cotton, Greenwood, Natalicio, and Tapia, and staffed by Ms. Jean Pomeroy, Senior Policy Analyst, NSB Office, for their efforts in planning the meeting.

Dr. Kelly reported that the Task Force agreed to a general framework for preparing a response to the Government University Partnership Presidential Review Directive (GUPPRD). The paper being prepared for the Friday morning session outlines three areas for Board discussion: (1) a statement of the importance of graduate education to the Nation; (2) the principles for Federal support of graduate education in universities established after World War II, and (3) current issues with regard to the Federal role in graduate and postdoctoral education, and a suggested framework for addressing them.

The framework for the Board response to the GUPPRD would be revised following Thursday’s Convocation on "Graduate and Postdoctoral Education: The Federal Role," and distributed to the Board on Friday. The Board contribution may be in the form of a statement of principles for the Federal/university partnership in graduate/postdoctoral education and/or a framework for a longer term assessment of the Federal role in the partnership.

Dr. Kelly noted that the general content of the paper would be defined on Friday and that there were two options for completion of the paper: (1) if the Board is generally satisfied with the paper, it would be forwarded to Dr. John H. Gibbons, Assistant to the President for Science & Technology and Director, Office of Science & Technology Policy, as the Board’s contribution to the GUPPRD response; or (2) additional editing will be completed and the paper will be further discussed and finalized at the November NSB meeting prior to transmittal to Dr. Gibbons.

AGENDA ITEM 4: Working Paper on Government Funding of Scientific Research

The Acting Chairman, Dr. Hopcroft, introduced the discussion of the Working Paper on Federal Funding of Scientific Research, stating that the objective would be to complete work on this paper. He noted that the paper raises important questions about the coordination of the Federal research budget and about priority setting. He reviewed the process by which the paper has been developed, noting that it benefited from consultations by the Chair and Vice Chair with other stakeholders, including representatives of other agencies and with Dr. John Gibbons, the President’s Science Adviser. These conversations encouraged the Board to proceed.

Dr. Hopcroft reminded the Board that concurrence was achieved on most of the paper at the August NSB meeting, but that further discussion was needed particularly of the fourth section, concerning the need to develop appropriate methodologies for priority setting in research in the Federal context. The draft currently before the Board reflected revisions made by the Committee on Strategic Science and Engineering Policy Issues, based on input from the Board at the last meeting.

Before taking up the unresolved issues in Section IV of the paper, Board members discussed and agreed on several additional changes in the first three sections of the paper. These included strengthening the reference in Section II to the human talent base and, in response to comments by Dr. Lubchenco, references in Sections I and II to the increasing importance of knowledge and scientific information for policy decisions.

During the discussion of the fourth section of the paper, the Board agreed to strengthen the argument that need for coordination and priority setting is not motivated solely by fiscal constraints; it is, rather, integral to the development of a sound, future-oriented strategy for the investment of limited Federal dollars. Wise use of resources is just as important in the event that new funding is made available.

Members agreed that it is not the level of investment in research alone that is important, but the investment strategy as well, including consideration of how we use our institutional resources and infrastructure. Additionally, the Board agreed to add a statement that a study of the appropriate guidelines for priority setting should include a review, in the light of changed circumstances, of the goals for Federal investment in scientific research as stated in the Administration’s 1994 report, Science in the National Interest.

The Board discussed at length a new proposal regarding the paper’s concluding recommendations developed by Dr. Ross, incorporating information about the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) charter provided by Dr. Lane. The proposal, consisting of two alternative approaches, would encourage the NSTC to sponsor a study on methodologies for priority setting. Drs. Gaillard and Powell, members of the drafting committee, indicated that the committee as a whole had not take a position on the new paragraphs. After discussion, the Board endorsed the new approach and expressed preference for the second, broader of the two alternatives, and agreed that the draft paper should be shared with Dr. Gibbons to obtain his comments.

The Board approved the draft of the working paper on Government Funding of Scientific Research, as amended, with the understanding that the drafting committee, with assistance from Dr. Lubchenco and staff, would make revisions to the text that had been agreed to, including several smaller editorial changes. Concurrence on a remaining point of language would be secured from the Board at its concluding session on Friday morning. The Board delegated to the Chairman, Dr. Zare, authority to make final editorial changes needed to polish the paper for final release. The Board also agreed that Dr. Zare should consult with Dr. Gibbons and, depending on the nature of his comments, bring the document to the Board for additional discussion.

Dr. Hopcroft expressed appreciation to Drs. Ross, Gaillard, Menger, Powell, and Solow for their considerable efforts in the development of the document and to Ms. Jean Pomeroy, Senior Policy Analyst in the Board Office, for her able staffing of the committee. Dr. Hopcroft also urged Board attention to Dr. Menger’s request that the Board reflect on the difficult process of developing this paper and devise a more efficient and effect process for developing policy documents.

The Board recessed the Wednesday session.


Thursday, October 9, 1997

Dr. Richard N. Zare, Chairman, reconvened the Open Session at 8:45a.m.

Note: A copy of each speaker’s remarks during the Convocation, briefly described in Agenda Items 5 and 6, is available in electronic format on the NSB HomePage on the World Wide Web and in paper format at the National Science Board Office on request.

AGENDA ITEM 5: Introductory Remarks

Opening Remarks

The Chairman provided a history of the Foundation and the NSB and stated that the Board, in its role as a national policy board for science and engineering research and education, continues to conduct studies and issue reports on national issues. It is in this capacity that the University of Houston meeting would focus on a response to a special request to the Board from Dr. Gibbons, in connection with the review of the government and university partnership. The review is being conducted by the NSTC in response to a recent Presidential Review Directive (PRD).

Graduate and postdoctoral education is a topic where the Board has significant expertise. The condition of these areas has been a matter of concern for some time and in 1995, then NSB Chairman, Dr. Frank Rhodes, established the Task Force on Graduate and Postdoctoral Education. NSF is currently implementing the recommendations of the Task Force adopted by the Board in February 1966 (see also NSB-96-31, Appendix B, NSB/GE-96-2, February 1996 Open Session Minutes). The Convocation would explore the larger Federal role in graduate and postdoctoral education from the perspective of the Federal/university partnership and the future needs and issues of graduate education. The Chairman noted that there would be time for discussion among the speakers and audience participants, as the Board wants to hear the views of others.

The Chairman expressed the Board’s appreciation to Dr. Arthur Smith, Chancellor and President, University of Houston for hosting the meeting, and Shell Oil Products Company for hosting the Thursday evening reception.

The Chairman noted that (1) universities are changing, and there is now an extraordinary opportunity for a constructive university/Federal dialog on how, as partners, the changes can be addressed. (2) There is every reason to continue the Federal/university partnership effort, keeping in mind that the nations around the world continue to send students to the United States for higher education. The need to consider the interdependence of the various educational aspects, and the need to foster alliances, continue. In the discussions during the Convocation, it would be important not to lose sight of the fact that graduate students play an important role in the education of undergraduates. (3) The loyalty of faculty to institutions is decreasing because of opportunities in the private sector; and (4) there are solutions to these complex problems, and during today’s discussions some solutions might be brought forward.


Dr. Arthur Smith, Chancellor/President, University of Houston, and Convocation Host, welcomed the Board and other distinguished guests from the higher education institutions in the Houston area and from the scientific community expressed his pleasure at the selection of the University as the site for the meeting. Dr. Smith noted that the University’s research initiatives are closely linked to the very foundation of Houston’s economy, -- space exploration and commercialization; computation science and visualization; and petrochemicals, environmental engineering, bioengineering, superconductivity, and health care. He recalled his involvement in a national conference sponsored by the Council of Graduate Schools and the U.S. Department of Education about graduate education twenty-five years ago and noted that the ‘worst fears expressed at the meeting’ had not been realized. But neither had the grand plans and designs for great infusions of Federal funding in support of graduate education. The unique partnership between the Federal government and research universities is a pillar of the country’s world leadership in the fields of science and technology. Continued Federal support of both basic research and graduate education, and continued recognition of the mutually supportive relationship are vital if America is to continue to lead in the technology and science-driven society of the 21st Century.

Dr. Smith invited Convocation attendees to tour the campus and to talk with Dr. Arthur Vailas, Vice President for Research at the University, who attended the full Convocation.


Dr. Eamon Kelly, President, Tulane University, NSB member and Chair of the NSB Task Force on the October 1997 Meeting, outlined a framework for the discussions, noting that the partnership between the Federal government and universities in graduate and postdoctoral education is at the heart of the compact between the government and universities that has existed since World War II. He briefly reviewed the principles of the compact as it was defined by Vannevar Bush in Science-The Endless Frontier, where Bush argued that the Nation could not rely on government agencies, the private sector, or foreign nations to produce the fundamental knowledge necessary for the continued advancement of U.S. science and through it the U.S. economy and quality of life.

Since the initiation of the compact, society has become larger, more diverse, more urban, and the economy increasingly global. With the end of the Cold War, there is greater national focus on environmental and social needs. As higher education has become increasingly central to the economy and the quality of life, universities are confronting stresses associated with rapid growth and with increasing demands by a wider more diverse range of stakeholders. Increasing demands on universities are accompanied by rising costs, budget constraints on traditional sources of funds, globalization of advanced education, and the need to respond to technological changes. Growing demands for accountability by the Federal government and increasing competition for research dollars decrease the availability of time for mentoring and teaching.

The issues to be addressed include principles for Federal support of graduate education today, and the impacts of Federal support on achieving national objectives for science and engineering. This involves two questions:

What are the principles for Federal support of graduate education today? Federal government supports a wide range of R&D efforts in academic institutions, many related to specific agency missions, that impact on the development of science and engineering personnel. Stresses on universities associated with the diversity of requirements from different funding sources multiply administrative requirements for universities and researchers. A common set of principles in support of graduate and postdoctoral education could be a first step to simplifying the interfaces between universities and Federal partners. Additionally, could the underrepresentation of minority groups in science and engineering be addressed more effectively through the Federal/university partnership; should Federal policies be directed to decreasing the time to degree; does Federal support encourage preparation of graduates for career opportunities outside the research university environment; what is the national interest in supporting foreign students on Federally-funded research grants?
Do Federal programs and policies for support of research in universities enrich the learning environment and support free and open inquiry? Specifically, does Federal support encourage narrow specialization in areas related to the immediate needs of mission agencies or faculty members; do Federal policies and support methods encourage dissemination of knowledge and sharing the benefits of research in graduate education throughout the host institution, including the undergraduate level; and is synergy among researchers in different fields and sectors encouraged in the graduate and postdoctoral research experience by current Federal policies and programs?
Dr. Kelly noted that although there is a general consensus that the Federal partnership with universities in research and education has been an enormously profitable investment for the Nation, stresses have developed and new needs have emerged or have been identified since the partnership was framed by Vannevar Bush. It is timely to assess these stresses and consider useful modifications to the compact.

Keynote Address

Mr. Paul Cuneo, Director of Technology, Shell Oil Products Company, Houston, Texas, spoke on graduate education as the primary driver of the ability of America to compete in world markets, thus determining the standard of living in the United States. He outlined some opportunities to improve the effectiveness of graduate education through actions that can be taken by universities, industry and government.

AGENDA ITEM 6: The National Interest and Federal Role in S&E Graduate and Postdoctoral Education

a. Federal/University Partnership in Research and Education for the Future

Dr. MRC Greenwood, Chancellor, University of California, Santa Cruz, introduced the session, noting that presentations would include spokespersons for four major Federal science and engineering funding agencies. These presentations and discussion would be followed by presentations by a university chancellor from a public system, and the president of a private university.

(1) The Federal View

Dr. Neal Lane, Director, National Science Foundation addressed "The NSF Role in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education: Will Traditions Survive the Tests of Time."

Dr. Marvin Cassman, Director, Institute of General Medicine, National Institutes of Health focused on the support by the Institute of General Medicine that provides more than half the funds for all pre-doctoral training at the National institutes of Health (NIH).

Dr. Robert Trew, Director of Research, Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E), Department of Defense (DOD), provided an overview of the education and research programs provided by DOD.

Mr. James Decker, Deputy Director, Office of Energy Research, Department of Energy (DOE), discussed the DOE’s role in graduate education.


Responding to Dr. Tapia concerning his impression that there is not enough accountability on the part of individual PIs for inclusion of women and underrepresented minorities, Dr. Cassman responded that the NIH has specific requirements to demonstrate recruiting and retaining minorities. Some NIH grant applications are turned down because they do not demonstrate such recruitment; others are reduced in scope, although it is harder to lessen research grants because there are matters of employment. To reduce paperword, very little information (i.e., financial, minorities) is tracked for individual research grants. However, such information is tracked in training grants. Dr. Trew commented that this difficult problem needs to be addressed early on, especially at secondary and elementary school levels. Dr. Lane commented that the problem of underrepresentation will not be solved, particularly in science and technology, until the larger science and engineering community takes ownership of the problem. If the NSF or other agencies have special programs to deal with this, that alone is not going to get the job done. He noted that the recently revised NSF Merit Review criteria (see also NSB-97-96, Attachment C, NSB/MR-97-5) looks at the quality of the people and ideas, and the impact of the proposed research on the diversity in education. Dr. Brian Schwartz, speaking from the audience, noted a program by the Sloan Foundation to identify and support faculty members with good track records in preparing women and minority professionals.

Dr. Jaskolski commented that within industry teamwork and encouragement of an interdisciplinary focus are keys to the introduction of products or commercialization. The Federal government, in looking to the future, needs to encourage teamwork and a cross-disciplinary perspective. Dr. Trew stated that DOD is very serious about encouraging teamwork. He noted that the University Research Initiative’s (URI) Multidisciplinary Research Initiative (MURI) is a quarter of a billion dollar a year program funding consortia. Dr. Decker pointed out that the Department of Energy (DOE) is developing the tools that will better enable researchers at different institutions to collaborate through the use of improved networks and facilities.

Dr. Greenwood asked the panel members to respond to a two-part question: (1) Is there really a postdoctoral training environment, or in today’s society is that just a euphemism for continued employment without personal portfolio? and (2) If there is a postdoctoral training mode, would that be the place to try to encourage teamwork? Responding, Dr. Cassman stated that the NIH supports 6,000-7,000 postdoctorals through specific training programs that are very varied. He noted that it is impossible to determine the number supported on individual research grants, but estimated it at between 2,000-3,000. Postdoctorals candidate are the "forgotten persons" on many campuses as they are employed by individual researchers for individual purposes. Dr. Lane noted that the postdoctoral student is critical in the training that occurs in research laboratories. Some postdoctorals are research directors, research organizers and managers. The principal investigator of the laboratory is responsible for insuring the optimal working environment. Therefore, researchers do not feel they are part of the host institution, but rather are apprenticed to a research scientist or engineer.

Dr. Armstrong asked the panel to comment on the extent to which any of the agencies support programs that provide educational experiences outside of the university. Dr. Cassman explained that at the NIH the only predoctoral program that has a defined requirement for external involvement is the biotechnology training program. Training programs with external involvement depend greatly on the geographic location of the institution -- for example, in the San Francisco Bay area there are substantial opportunities for predoctoral training in biotechnology firms. However, it is difficult to move a graduate student in one institution to an internship in another locale unless the needed linkages preexist.

Dr. Zare asked panelists about Federal agency policies in support of foreign graduate students in U.S. Ph.D. programs. Dr. Trew reported that DOD has supported a large number of foreign graduate students on research projects, but there is no firm policy regarding this type of funding. Formal fellowships, however, require citizenship or permanent residency. In engineering and the hard sciences at least 50% of the graduate student population is foreign. Dr. Lane noted that NSF fellowships cannot be held by foreign students, but there is no policy regarding graduate support through research assistantships. Dr. Cassman explained that the NIH National Research Service Act prohibits non-American citizens or naturalized citizens from holding training positions. Dr. Decker noted that there is no restriction on DOE research grants.

Dr. Zare asked the panelists to respond to a proposal that foreign students who receive Federal support and earn a Ph.D. be provided preferential status to remain in the United States. Responding, Dr. Cassman noted that other countries look to the U.S. to provide training not available elsewhere and that American students in previous generations, when training was not available in the United States, had received their educations in other countries (e.g., Germany, England). He argued that the U.S. has some obligation to train foreign students who will then return to their countries to be leaders in various areas of science in their governments. The ties they retain with the United States can be invaluable. Dr. Greenwood noted that this will become an issue for the U.S. now that many of the foreign nationals who are educated here will be able to find employment in research in their own countries, whereas before they needed to remain in the U.S. to find appropriate jobs. This change may require the U.S. to rethink immigration policies to encourage more foreign Ph.D.s to stay. Dr. Suzuki reminded members and panelists that a number of countries send their students here for graduate training in order to raise the educational level of their workforce, and that to keep those students here would create a "brain drain" within the home countries. The objective should be a balance between students who remain in the U.S. and those who return to their home country. Dr. Bordogna echoed Dr. Suzuki’s remarks and further stated that the real issue is the need for better preparation of U.S. citizens in the K-12 education system. Dr. Lane suggested that first the Nation’s science and technology enterprise should be reviewed in the context of where it would be without foreign students and second with respect to the benefits to the U.S. from some foreign students returning to their home countries and continuing relationships with the U.S.

(2) The University View

Dr. Henry Yang, Chancellor, University of California, Santa Barbara, shared his perspective on the university-Government research and education partnership.

Dr. Malcom Gillis, President, Rice University, presented the private research university view of the problems and opportunities in graduate education encountered in the continued interaction with the Federal government.


Ms. Sybil Francis, Senior Policy Analyst, Science Division, Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and Chair of the interagency working group of the NSTC addressing the issue of government/university research partnerships, noted the working group’s interest in the findings of the NSB on the role that graduate students play in the science and technology enterprise.

Dr. Suzuki introduced discussion of Ph.D.s in nonresearch institutions. He noted the role of faculty of nonresearch institutions both in collaborative research with other researchers, usually at research universities, and in improving K-12 education. Dr. Greenwood agreed with the need to solicit feedback from likely employers of graduate students and to prepare Ph.D. students in teaching technologies. Dr. Gillis noted efforts at Rice to increase involvement of undergraduates in the research enterprise.

Responding to a request from Dr. Menger, Dr. Gillis commented on Rice’s assessment of the creativity of applicants to graduate school. He explained that Rice relies on outreach to public schools to recruit undergraduate students, and noted his institution is skeptical of reliance on Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores in graduate admissions.

Dr. Lane asked the presenters to assess how well the academic research enterprise is employing research as a very important component of higher education and to comment on incentives that the Federal government can offer to help institutions be more successful. Responding, Dr. Yang noted as a problem associated with the research enterprise the high pressure on new faculty to be successful in research, even if not employed by a research university, because the reward system for faculty is based principally on research performance.

Responding to a question from Dr. Washington on how the presenters saw the role of the internet in science and education, Dr. Gillis noted his expectation that the impacts would be positive, and that after five or six years it would be easier to assess how this technology will change the research university.

Dr. Greenwood asked about the possibility of downsizing research capacity in the university sector, noting the public perception that university research contributes to economic vitality. Dr. Gillis responded that unresolved issues with entitlements would continue to be a threat to the health of university research until they are dealt with by the national legislature, but that the tradition of philanthropy in the U.S. helps to buffer academe in this country from Federal budget cuts to some extent.

A member of the audience suggested consideration of a national foundation modeled on the Wisconsin Alumni Research Fund, which could support research using income obtained from intellectual property produced from federally funded research.

The Chairman thanked the presenters for their insightful remarks. He adjourned the morning session for lunch.


Dr. Zare opened the afternoon discussion by introducing Dr. F. Albert Cotton, chair of the first panel.

b. Modes of Federal Support for Graduate and Postdoctoral Education

Dr. Cotton introduced the next panel, noting that the afternoon discussion would contrast the relative merits of the modes of Federal support from different points of view.

Dr. Stuart Rice, Professor of Chemistry, University of Chicago, presented his view on federal support for graduate and postdoctoral education based on his experience as a faculty member, chairman, dean, a former member of the National Science Board, and member of various advisory councils.

Dr. Marye Anne Fox, Vice President for Research, University of Texas at Austin, focused on the Texas education environment and the impact of the high-tech job market on continuing graduate education.

Dr. Thomas Appelquist, Dean, Graduate School and Professor of Physics, Yale University, provided a local perspective from the point of view of a middle-sized graduate school, addressing topics of downsizing, financial aid, teaching by graduate students, and the job market.

Dr. John Alderete, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio and President, Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), spoke to the issue of graduate education and postdoctoral fellowships, and the reasons for underrepresentation of women and minorities, especially the Hispanic population, in advanced science and engineering training.


Dr. Lane asked panelists what they believed the appropriate criteria for traineeships might be. Dr. Rice responded that the focus of the traineeship would dictate the criteria. If the focus is to increase the number of well-educated scientists, then institutions should define criteria for their own traineeships. Criteria for most traineeship programs, however, are in part set externally. More traineeships integrated with programs of Federal agencies should be made available to support stable programs within academic departments, by providing grants to teams within the departments rather than to individual researchers. However, the best vehicle for assuring excellence of the science supported is in the individual investigator grant program. This last mechanism does not have a political agenda attached. Dr. Lane commented that the individual investigator program, which is the core of NSF support, has not adequately addressed the issue of underrepresentation and that perhaps better mechanisms for inclusion of minorities could be identified. Dr. Rice responded that it is important for all groups to participate in science programs, but agreed that a social goal should not be a primary purpose of support for science.

AGENDA ITEM 8: S&E Graduate/Postdoctoral Education: Needs and Issues

Dr. Diana Natalicio, President, University of Texas at El Paso and Vice Chairman, National Science Board, introduced the four panelists who would be addressing the needs and issues in science and engineering graduate and postdoctoral education.

Dr. David Sanchez, Department of Mathematics, Texas A&M University, discussed the effectiveness of Federal support in graduate education, particularly by NSF, and what special attention is needed to connect graduate and undergraduate education.

Dr. Roy Schwitters, S. W. Richardson Foundation Regental Professor of Physics, The University of Texas at Austin, described graduate education from the point of view of student interaction with professors and involvement in research.

Dr. Brian Schwartz, Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY), and Senior Assistant to the Executive Officer, American Physical Society, explored the Ph.D. production system, analyzed why change is so difficult in this system, and suggested some actions and recommendations.

Dr. Karan Watson, Associate Dean, College of Engineering, Texas A&M University and Director of the Texas A&M System Alliance for Minority Participation, addressed the issues of attracting minorities, women, and U.S. citizens into graduate education, particularly to Ph.D. programs.

Dr. Richard Tapia, NSB member, commented on the topic of diversity in graduate education from his own experience.

Dr. Natalicio introduced Dr. Michael Smailey, Texas Instruments, and Adjunct Faculty Member, Rice University, to comment on the panel’s discussion. Dr. Smailey explained that industry views Ph.D.’s as candidates for top positions in technical leadership and management. Therefore, as part of a Ph.D. education there is a need for more training in communication and planning skills. Such training should begin as early as possible, even before graduate school. In addition, he noted that Texas Instruments’ substantial investment in Rice University reflects the Company’s interest in graduate research.


Speaking from the audience, Dr. Terrence Millar, Associate Dean for Physical Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison and interim Codirector of NSF’s National Institute for Science, supported Dr. Tapia’s position that dependence on scores on standardized tests is too great in decisions concerning admissions and funding for graduate education. Several Board members noted that close attention should be given to insuring through the measurements used in such decisions that the qualities that are essential for success in graduate school and scholarly and scientific careers are given consideration. Dr. Natalicio commented on the misuse of test scores in lawsuits concerning admission decisions for comparing individual students. However, she noted that those same measures could be used effectively in the aggregate to measure institutions. Dr. Greenwood commented that scientists in particular should accurately convey what scores on standardized tests actually mean, noting that disclaimers from the testing services on the meaning of scores on their tests are routinely ignored. However, she cautioned that institutions not abandon legitimate use of standardized tests in the effort to avoid misuse and urged greater efforts to develop a balanced perspective. She noted her agreement with Dr. Bordogna’s point concerning the need to address disparities in precollege preparation of students. Dr. Schwitters concurred with the perspective that scores are a good threshold indicator, but are unable to distinguish among high-performing students. Dr. Mitchell-Kernan, NSB member and chair elect of the GRE Board, agreed that scores are misused and misunderstood in academia. She pointed out that the scores do not measure many qualities that are essential for success in graduate school and in scholarly and scientific careers.

Dr. Lane noted that the Government Performance and Results Act requirements will be applied to student, faculty and government performance. Dr. Natalicio commented that state legislatures also require performance outcome measures for public institutions and that some states are employing the measures that have already been adopted and promulgated by universities. She further observed the difficulty in developing measures that are more effective than those now in use.

Concluding Comments

Dr. Natalicio reviewed the day’s discussion, noting that members and panelists have been struggling with social responsibilities of the Federal/university partnership within the science framework and the human resource framework, and with how to decide where graduate and postdoctoral research and education fit within the broader social context. She noted the need for partnerships to address human resource issues in the academic sector and commented on Dr. Suzuki’s points concerning partnerships in research and education among different types of academic institutions. She expanded this argument to underscore a broader need for partnerships between universities and other sectors in the achievement of broader social goals, using as an example collaborations between universities and public schools is the NSF-supported urban systemic initiatives. She noted that supporting mechanisms to encourage collaboration in the university sector have been lacking and that the rewards have been more available for people to work in isolation. Partnerships require substantial effort and support to succeed.


In closing the Convocation, the Chairman thanked the speakers for their thought-provoking discussions on the proper Federal role in terms of supporting graduates and postdoctoral students.

Dr. Kelly expressed his appreciation to all the participants and noted that Board members would be receiving further materials for discussion during the Friday NSB Open Session.


Friday, October 10, 1997

The Chairman, Dr. Zare, reconvened the Open Session and called on Dr. Hopcroft, Acting Chairman of the NSB October 8, 1997 Open Session, to report.

AGENDA ITEM 4 (continued): Working Paper on Government Funding of Scientific Research

Dr. Hopcroft recounted that the Draft NSB Working Paper on Government Funding of Scientific Research had been accepted by the Board on Wednesday, subject to review and approval of changes to one paragraph. Oversight of minor editing was delegated to the NSB Chairman. The Board expressed its expectation that the Chairman would forward the approved document to Dr. John Gibbons, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy, for comment. Following Board concurrence with revisions reflecting the Wednesday discussion, the Chairman agreed to move forward on sending the document to Dr. Gibbons for comment and, following receipt of those comments, to finalize the document for publication.

AGENDA ITEM 9: NSB Discussion - Graduate and Postdoctoral Education: The Federal Role

The Chairman called on Dr. Eamon Kelly, Chairman, Task Force on the NSB October 1997 Meeting, to lead the discussion of the NSB contribution to the response of the NSTC to the Government-University Partnership Presidential Review Directive (GUPPRD). Dr. Kelly referred to a draft document distributed earlier to the Board, and an amendment to that document developed as a result of input from the Convocation on the previous day.

Dr. Kelly presented two options for the Board response. The first was approval of the original document, which identified questions on the role of the Federal government in partnership with universities in graduate and postdoctoral education but left their resolution to a later discussion among stakeholders, as the Board submission to NSTC. The second option, based on an amendment to the original draft that had been distributed at the Friday session, would be a more prescriptive response, incorporating aspects of the previous day’s discussion.

Dr. Kelly briefly the reviewed the issues contained in the amendment, including: Federal investment for the future, with emphasis on stability and growth, and including issues of priority setting; breadth of graduate training and the curriculum; objectives for human resources, including issues such as diversity; Federal support mechanisms; government administrative requirements; and data for policy and assessment.

In the discussion, Board members noted the need to emphasize that the Federal/university partnership supports an enterprise. They noted that there were unintended consequences of some of the new cost accounting methodologies and standards, which, with the best intentions of fully accounting for taxpayer money, may yet have unintended consequences in creating additional stresses on the government-university partnership. They explored the possible impacts of migration to a "procurement" model for the Federal/university partnership, which would change the character of the partnership to a contractual relationship, and the Federal government to a purchaser of research and education products. Members noted that, even under current conditions, the migration toward a procurement model has resulted in tensions between the administrations of institutions and faculty and students.

The Board further discussed the impacts of Federal support on the general culture of institutions, including the reward structure, the shift in attitudes transforming the student-mentor relationship to one of employee-employer, and proposal pressure as researchers to support students on research projects.

Members explored the role of "non-research" institutions within the Nation’s research and education infrastructure for science and engineering, and agreed that attention should be drawn to the interconnections among all of the institutions that form the enterprise. Expanded collaborations in research and graduate education among faculty and students in research and primarily teaching institutions would offer greater opportunities for enrichment of the learning environment within the enterprise as a whole. Dr. Lane cautioned that if faculty in non-research institutions were to become more involved in research collaborations, their employing institutions must recognize the change in content of their workload by adjusting other responsibilities. Board members noted the important role that could be played by Internet technology, but also that remote collaborations would be limited in some fields by the inability to share facilities and equipment through this mechanism.

With respect to human resource development, members noted the ambiguous status of postdoctoral researchers. Members noted the large returns to research from support of postdoctoral research, the value of the learning experience to the postdoctoral researchers themselves, and the value of having opportunities open to top students to continue to work in their fields of specialization when appropriate job opportunities are not available. However, they also noted the isolation of postdoctoral researchers from the university community, as neither graduate student nor faculty member, and that nonetheless, in some areas, these researchers serve as an important part of a continuum of mentors for graduate students. The Board agreed to the need for a dialogue on postdoctoral education and actions by institutions that would substantially improve the postdoctoral experience.

They noted that the postdoctoral issue is involved also in the Federal/university partnership in the form of issues of balance between graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. It was observed that some departments are moving toward almost all postdoctoral researchers on grants because of the need to meet the Federal requirements for sponsored research. Other issues included institutional responsibility for assessment practices, such as the potential for over-reliance on the Graduate Record Examination in determining entry to graduate programs, and the Federal responsibility for attention to human resource planning implications in funding research in universities.

Board members also noted the need to assess the impacts of Federal support on preparation of the science and engineering workforce of the future, in view of the fact that human resource production is accelerated by the availability of Federal funds to support research activities related to agency missions. This may leave gaps in human resources in areas critical to needs of the general science and engineering workforce that are receiving less generous support. In discussing breadth as opposed to narrowness in the Ph.D. curriculum, the Board members noted the need to emphasize the character of Ph.D. training. A Ph.D. is a person trained to be a creative problem solver, highly flexible, with lots of options, rather than a person prepared for a specific specialized occupation. Depth of training, attained through addressing a specialized problem, is at the core of Ph.D. education. Nonetheless, Ph.D. education can be enriched by supplements to provide some balance in the educational experience, with social science, management skills, interdisciplinary work, or other kinds of life experiences.

The Board agreed to ask the Task Force to develop a new draft Response for NSB review at the November meeting. The draft would be prescriptive in nature, reflecting what was learned from the Convocation and Board discussion. Dr. Lane expressed the opinion that the document should be directed to the Federal government as a whole, but that there should be sensitivity to the fact that recommendations would be expected to be reflected in NSF policies, practices and programs. He noted that the document should recognize the need for the Federal government to invest in broad and diverse R&D activities, and that procurement is part of that investment.

Board members agreed to the second option, and asked that the Task Force on the NSB October 1997 meeting take on the responsibility to revise the draft, retaining the first three sections and preparing a more prescriptive fourth section, based on the Board’s discussion. Board members further requested that information relevant to this report from Science and Engineering Indicators be included as an appendix.

AGENDA ITEM 10: Adjourn

There was no other business and the meeting adjourned at 11:00 a.m.

Susan E. Fannoney
Staff Assistant

Appendix A: Closing portions of November 1997 meeting

Appendix A to NSB-97-189
(Limited Distribution)

Record of Discussion
345th Meeting
National Science Board
October 8-10, 1997

The Chairman, Executive Committee, presented a list of items to be considered in Closed Session at the November 1997 meeting (NSB-97-162). A proposed resolution and a certification from the General Counsel regarding closing these portions of the meeting were also distributed. The Board adopted the proposed resolution as follows:

The Executive Committee DETERMINED that the following portions of the meeting of the National Science Board (NSB) scheduled for November 12-14, 1997 shall be closed to the public:

That portion in which minutes of the closed sessions of earlier meetings will be discussed. An open meeting on that portion would be likely to compromise information and discussions properly held confidential under the Board’s resolutions authorizing the closed sessions.

Those portions having to do with discussions regarding nominees for appointment as National Science Board (NSB) members and National Science Foundation (NSF) staff, or with specific staffing or personnel actions. An open meeting on these subjects would be likely to constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

Those portions having to do with future budgets not yet submitted by the President to the Congress.

Those portions having to do with pending proposals and proposed awards for specific grants, contracts, or other arrangements. An open meeting on those portions would be likely to disclose personal information and constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy. It would also be likely to disclose research plans and other related information that are trade secrets, and commercial or financial information obtained from a person that are privileged or confidential. An open meeting would also prematurely disclose the position of the NSF on the proposals in question before final negotiations and any determination by the Director to make the awards and so would be likely to frustrate significantly the implementation of the proposed Foundation action.

Susan E. Fannoney
Staff Assistant

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