Preliminary Report of the November 19, 1999 Meeting
MEMORANDUM TO NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD MEMBERS
November 22, 1999
SUBJECT: Preliminary Report of the November 19, 1999 Meeting
The major actions of the Board at its 355th meeting on November 19,
1999, are summarized for the information of those members and
consultants absent and as a reminder to those present.
1. Board Actions
a. The Chairman announced the selection of Christine C. Boesz as NSF
Inspector General. Ms. Boesz comes to NSF from Aetna U.S. Healthcare,
where she served as head of regulatory accountability.
b. The Chairman established an Ad Hoc Committee on the 2000 Vannevar
Bush Award. Dr. Eve Menger is Chair, and Drs. Jones, Langford,
Richardson and Tien are members. The Committee will present
recommendations at the March 16, 2000 NSB meeting. Ms. Susan Fannoney
will serve as Executive Secretary.
c. The Board adopted the following resolution on delegation of
RESOLVED, that the National Science Board adopts the delegation of
award-approving authority contained in Attachment A to NSB-99-158,
reaffirms the delegation of authority to the Executive Committee
contained in Attachment B to NSB-99-158, and authorizes its Executive
Officer to publish the award-approval authority delegation in the
Federal Register and report it to the Foundation's House and Senate
d. The Board approved the NSB EHR Committee workplan, NSB-99-5.
e. The Board authorized the Executive Committee to approve Science &
Engineering Indicators, 2000 and an NSB companion piece. Board members
are asked to submit comments on the draft report ("orange book") by
December 1, 1999.
f. The Board asked NSF to pursue all avenues to restore the
Congressional mandate to the Science & Engineering Indicators
g. The Board approved plans for the February 2000 policy meeting in
Irvine, California, on the topic of communication and outreach. The
meeting will begin Wednesday morning, February 2. Following routine
Board business, a luncheon speaker will begin the policy symposium,
which will run through midday Thursday, February 3. In connection with
this activity, Board members may convey to the Board Office information
about significant business and civic groups with which they are
h. The Board authorized Dr. Vera Rubin, Chair, Task Force on the NSB
50th Anniversary, to forward three suggested names to Dr. Carolyn
Shoemaker for an asteroid: Scientia, L. Scientia, and Scienstar 50.
i. The Chairman asked Board members to send any additional comments on
the revised NSF Strategic Plan (NSB-99-173) to the Board Office as soon
|The Board approved the following
|Amount not to exceed
|Geosciences Division of
Ocean Sciences U.S. Science Support Associated with the Ocean
Drilling Program Joint Oceanographic Institutions,Inc., (NSB-99-159)
||$23,900,000 for 72 months
3. NSB Committees
(Committee summaries are provided by executive secretaries.)
a. Executive Committee
The Executive Committee heard a report from the Director on the status
of the FY 2000 and FY 2001 NSF budgets, was informed about several
personnel issues, and received a report from the Executive Secretary on
the status, under the Board's Conflict of Interest Rules, of a proposal
to NSF by an NSB member. The committee also previewed reports to be
presented to the Board on calendar and videoconferencing issues.
b. Audit & Oversight (A&O)
Mr. Kull reported on NSF participation in a national assessment of
customer satisfaction. The details are currently embargoed but the
Board will be provided with copies when it is released by the White
House in December. Mr. Herer, Dr. Pitts, and Dr. Hopkins provided a
GPRA Update. Mr. Kull and Mr. Blansitt gave an update on the status of
the FY99 NSF Financial Statement and Audit . Mr. Kull also gave a
briefing on the NSF Management Controls Committee. Ms. Feldman gave a
briefing on the revisions to OMB Circular A-110 related to the sharing
of research data as required by recent legislation. The NSB had issued a
public statement of concern about the impact of the legislation in
February. The final implementation by OMB was sensitive to those
concerns and as a result the effect on NSF is expected to be minimal.
Ms. Eisenstadt and Dr. Fischer provided an update on Research Misconduct
Policy. A draft policy acceptable to NSF has been published in the
Federal Register for comment.
The Committee discussed the Inspector General's semiannual Report for
the period ending September 30, 1999. The Committee took no exception
to the IG's report and agreed on the contents of the NSB Management
Letter, which will transmit the report to the Congress by December 1,
1999. Mr. Sunshine also provided information that the Committee had
requested comparing the IG's staffing, budget and functions to those of
other Federal agency IG's.
c. Programs and Plans (CPP)
The Committee discussed comments received on the interim report of the
Task Force on the Environment. A wide range of respondents have
provided comments, including individuals, scientific and professional
societies, and other federal agencies. Overall, the comments are very
supportive of the report. There are also questions on some items. The
Committee discussed ways to modify and edit the report. No major
changes to the findings and recommendations are anticipated, but there
will be clarifications. A final report is expected to be available for
approval by the NSB at its next meeting.
The Committee received a report from the Polar Issues Task Force,
including: the visit of the President to US Antarctic facilities in New
Zealand, discussions of support for Antarctic and for Arctic logistics,
an update on construction activities at South Pole, an overview of the
Interagency Arctic Research Program, and discussion of the international
Arctic Climate Impact Assessment.
The Committee reviewed and approved one action item for consideration by
the NSB: U.S. Science Support Associated with the Ocean Drilling
Program; Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc. (NSB-99-159).
The Committee heard a presentation on the initiative on Information
Technology Research (ITR), covering the research agenda for software,
human-computer interaction and information management, high-end
computing, scalable information infrastructure, and socioeconomic,
ethical, legal and workforce implications. The status of the ITR
competition was provided, including plans for management of the
initiative. A brief update was provided on plans for the competition
for terascale computing.
The Committee received a brief update on facilities, covering the FY
2000 appropriation and the FY 2001 budget request to OMB for Major
d. CPP Task Force on the Environment (TFE)
The Chair reviewed the status of the Interim Report: It is now a Board
report, having received interim approval from the Board on 29 July 1999.
The Task Force anticipates that the completed report will be transmitted
to the Board for final approval at the February 2000 meeting.
The Task Force reviewed the responses to the Interim Report that have
been received, and discussed the schedule for the Final Report. The
feedback has been almost uniformly positive and has included many
helpful suggestions for improving the Report. The Task Force is in the
process of responding to these suggestions. Substantive changes in the
report's recommendations are not anticipated.
Dr. Colwell reported to the Task Force on the interagency meeting she
convened in early November. The meeting went well and the other agencies
are pleased that NSF is making the effort to keep them informed. The
participants affirmed that the topic of the report is timely and
important, that NSF has a key role to play, and that cooperation with
other agencies will enhance the response to the report.
The remainder of the meeting was spent discussing the relationship
between the terms "Environmental Science and Engineering"-as covered in
the Task Force report-and "Biocomplexity in the Environment."
The Task Force meeting concluded with an announcement that several
teleconferences will be scheduled in the coming months to review report
revisions and finalize the report.
e. CPP Task Force on Polar Issues
Dr. Colwell and OPP staff briefed the task force on President Clinton's
visit to USAP facilities in New Zealand in September.
OPP staff reviewed activities of recent workshops on Lake Vostok
research and progress of the South Pole Safety and Environment and
Modernization projects. Mr. Rudolph, NSF General Counsel, briefed the
task force on the recent award of a new Antarctic Logistics and Support
OPP staff briefed the task force on activities of the Arctic Research
Commission and the Interagency Arctic Research Committee, including
Arctic Research Program planning; the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment
being developed by the Arctic Council; and progress of Arctic Science
and Logistics activities including competition for a new Arctic
logistics support contract and the recent commissioning of the Coast
Guard icebreaker Healy.
f. Education and Human Resources (EHR)
The Committee was given a preliminary plan for the reorganization of the
Education and Human Resources Directorate. The Committee was briefed on
FY2000 Implications of FY 1999 Activities in NSF Graduate Teaching
Fellows in K-12 Education; Interagency Education Research Initiative
(IERI); and the National SMETE Digital Library. It was also reported
that a scholarship program (CSEMS) was being developed that will be
supported by the monies garnered from H-1B Visa fees. A summary of
NSF-Smithsonian Institutioninteractions was presented and the Committee
expressed interest in a briefing on further NSF Informal Education
activities at the next meeting.
The Science and Engineering Indicators Subcommittee reported on the
progress of Indicators-2000 and the Committee was briefed on the Federal
Reports Elimination and Sunset Act of 1995 (P.L. 104-66, 109 Stat. 734)
which, on December 21, 1999, ends the statutory requirement for the
preparation of Science Indicators. The Committee recommended that NSF
seek to reestablish the requirement. The Committee recommended that an
edited version of the current Committee Workplan be submitted to the
full Board for approval. For the next Meeting, the Committee requested
a review of EHR Programs related to Workplan issues. Based on this
review, plans for a symposium will be considered. In Executive Session,
the Committee discussed future formatting for Indicators and the content
of the NSF Strategic Plan.
g. EHR Subcommittee on Science and Engineering Indicators (SEI)
The Subcommittee meeting was chaired by John White on behalf of Claudia
Mitchell-Kernan. A discussion of the "Orange Book" of the S&E
Indicators-2000 took place with Dr. White reminding the members that
comments on the report must be provided to the SRS staff by December 1.
The cover design prospectus for S&E Indicators-2000 was discussed and
the members voiced their approval of the concept. The subcommittee
recommended that a companion piece to S&E Indicator-2000s be written
that would include highlights of changes made in science and technology
over the past 50 years, enduring themes, and a look forward to the
future. The proposed topic of this companion piece is very appropriate
for NSF's 50th Anniversary celebration.
Mr. Lawrence Rudolph, NSF General Counsel briefed the subcommittee on
the background of the Federal Reports Elimination and Sunset Act of 1995
which included a section which provided that most requirements for
annual, seminannual or other periodic reports (including S&E Indicators)
identified in a 1993 listing of statutorily required reports to Congress
would cease to be effective on December 21, 1999. Subcommittee members
discussed the importance of Indicators to many communities including
Congress and were in unanimous agreement that all steps necessary to
ensure that the statutory requirement for S&E Indicators be reinstated
in congressional legislation be pursued at the earliest possible time.
h. Task Force on International Issues in S&E (ISE)
The Task Force reviewed recommendations from past reports related to
international activities of NSF. The Task Force reviewed a partial
summary of issues raised at the three hearings it has convened and
discussed points to be covered in its report. Dr. Bennett Bertenthal
made a presentation on previous recommendations made to enhance
international activities throughout NSF and on his perspectives. The
Task Force reviewed draft questions to be submitted to the Director's
office, after consultation by the Task Force chair. The responses will
be factored into the outline of the Task Force's draft report. The Task
Force approved the framework for its interim status report to the NSB.
i. Committee on Strategic S&E Policy Issues (SPI)
The committee was briefed by the two consultants currently undertaking
literature reviews on R&D budget coordination and priority setting
methodologies for the Committee. Representatives of RAND's Science and
Technology Policy Institute discussed with the committee the organizing
strategy and content of the report on the Federal system, due at the end
of the year. SRI staff summarized R&D budget coordination and priority
setting methodologies used by governments participating in the joint
SPI/ISE Symposium taking place November 19 and 20. The Chairman briefed
members on a meeting between Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff
and the NSB Chair and Vice Chair, where priority setting methods for the
Federal R&D budget were discussed
j. Task Force on NSB 50th Anniversary (NSB50)
The Committee heard a report from Deborah Shapley on the format for the
NSB commemorative brochure, which will be easy to navigate via graphics
and a national timeline, authoritative about the Board's statutory
powers, and will explain the self-governing nature of U.S. basic
research. The schedule calls for approval of the design and final
outline in January, and distribution of the first draft for the Board's
review and comment in May.
The response to the Jumpstart 2000 competition has been tremendous, with
almost one million 'hits'on the Web page. The competition and the Web
page have received numerous mentions in articles and links from other
Web sites, and six entries have already been received. The committee
reviewed a preliminary agenda for the Jumpstart 2000 celebratory events
in Washington, DC on May 15-18, 2000 and agreed to ask the full Board
The task force agreed to ask the Board for approval to forward the three
top entries: Scientia, L. Scientia, and Scienstar 50, to Carolyn
Shoemaker, astronomer at Lowell Observatory, who will submit one of them
to the International Astronomical Union for approval. The task force
hopes final approval and notification will be made by May 2000 in order
to announce the asteroid name and winner during the NSF 50th
The task force discussed the NSB 50th anniversary celebration event,
which will be held at the Carnegie Institution of Washington on Tuesday,
December 12th. The task force will bring a plan to the Board in March
2000 for approval.
k. Communication and Outreach (CCO)
Members reviewed their workplan and agreed to schedule the interim
report to the NSB for February 2000, with a final report due at the May
2000 meeting. The committee agreed on a structure for the February
policy symposium, "Communicating Science and Technology in the Public
Interest" for recommendation to the Board.
Attachment A to NSB-99-189
ATTACHMENT A TO NSB-99-158
DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY
(1) The Director of the National Science Foundation may make no
award involving an anticipated average annual amount of one percent or
more of the awarding Directorate's or Office's prior year current plan
without the prior approval of the National Science Board, except for any
continuing project, facility, or logistics-support arrangement for which
the Board has waived review.
(2) The Director may make no award under any program of the
Foundation that has not been approved by the Board when that program -
(A) is expected to involve annual expenditure of more than three percent
of the awarding Directorate's or Office's prior year current plan, (B)
involves sensitive political or policy issues, or (C) will be funded as
an ongoing Foundation-wide activity.
(3) Except as provided in paragraphs (1) and (2) or by special
resolution of the Board, the Board delegates to the Director authority
to make any award within the authority of the Foundation.
(4) When the Board approves the award of a specific amount of funds,
the Director may subsequently amend the award to commit additional sums,
not to exceed twenty percent of the amount specified or ten million
dollars, whichever is less, or to change the expiration date of the
(5) This delegation supersedes and replaces that adopted by the
Board in 1994 (NSB-94-95).
Attachment A to NSB-99-189, cont.
ATTACHMENT B TO NSB-99-158
DELEGATION TO EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The Executive Committee of the National Science Board may approve awards
where Board approval is required or otherwise act for the Board in those
rare instances when immediate decision is required between Board
meetings and when the necessary action is not within the authority of
the Director of the National Science Foundation.
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