356th MEETING 1
NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD
Arnold & Mabel Beckman Center
February 2-3, 2000
|Eamon M. Kelly, Chairman
||Diana S. Natalicio, Vice Chair|
||Sanford D. Greenberg|
|John A. Armstrong
||Eve L. Menger|
|Pamela A. Ferguson
||Robert M. Solow|
|Mary K. Gaillard
|Stanley V. Jaskolski
|Anita K. Jones
|George M. Langford
|Joseph A. Miller, Jr.
|Claudia I. Mitchell-Kernan
|Robert C. Richardson
|Vera S. Rubin
|Bob H. Suzuki
|Warren M. Washington
|Rita R. Colwell, Director
1 The Board approved these minutes at the 357th meeting, March 16,
The National Science Board (NSB) convened in Open Session at 9:00 a.m.
on Wednesday, February 2, 2000, with Dr. Eamon M. Kelly, Chairman of
the NSB, presiding (Agenda NSB-00-02). In accordance with the Government
in the Sunshine Act, this portion of the meeting was open to the public.
AGENDA ITEM 1: Chairman's Report
Dr. Kelly started his report by congratulating Dr. Jane Lubchenco on
her recent election as president-elect of the International Council
The Chairman established an ad hoc NSB Nominations Committee with Dr.
Jones as Chair and Drs. Greenwood, Miller, Richardson, Tapia, and Tien
as members. The NSB Chair and NSF directors serve as ex officio members.
Susan Fannoney will serve as executive secretary.
AGENDA ITEM 2: Director's Report
A. Staff Appointments
Dr. Rita Colwell, NSF Director, announced several staff appointments:
Dr. Christine Boesz as Inspector General as of January 18, 2000; Dr.
Margaret Leinen as Assistant Director for the Directorate for Geosciences
as of January 10, 2000; and Dr. Norman Bradburn as Assistant Director
for the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences as
of March 13, 2000.
b. Congressional Update
The Director reported that the proposed FY 2001 budget was sent to
Congress and included a request for a 17 percent increase for NSF that,
if approved, would represent the largest increase in NSF's history.
The boost would support funding for core activities as well as several
key initiatives, including nanotechnology and 21st Century workforce
To make the case for a budget increase, the Director announced that
NSF officials would testify before Congress in a number of hearings.
On February 3, Dr. Judith Sunley, Director of the Directorate for Education
and Human Resources, is scheduled to testify on NSF's systemic reform
and curricula development activities before the House Education and
Workforce Committee. The House Science Committee is scheduled to hear
testimony about NSF's FY 2001 budget request on February 16 and about
NSF's K-12 education programs on February 29. The Senate VA, HUD, and
Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee will hear testimony
from NSF on March 8th and April 4th, respectively.
The Director also reported that an effort is underway to enact another
three-year NSF authorization bill to succeed the current authorization
bill, which ends this year.
c. Antarctic Logistics Award
The Director expressed appreciation for NSF's legal team in the wake
of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims' determination that NSF did not
err when it awarded Raytheon Polar Services the contract to manage logistics
for the U.S. Antarctic Program.
AGENDA ITEM 3: The NSF Strategic Plan
The Director presented the revised NSF FY 2000-2005 GPRA Strategic
Plan (NSB-00-16, version 3.0), which is due to Congress in March,
and recommended it to the Board for approval. She reported that the
new draft includes revisions suggested by Board members at their November,
1999 meeting, as well as suggestions provided by Directorate Advisory
Committees. Among the topics receiving greater emphasis in the revision
were: 1) NSF's role as the lead agency for IT research and basic research
in IT to support all fields of science and engineering; 2) K-12 education
and the diversity of the workforce; 3) international activities, including
providing the science and technology workforce with a global perspective;
and 4) more information on unmet opportunities in science and engineering.
The revision also clarified the relationship between the Strategic Plan
and the Board report on Environmental Science and Engineering for
the 21st Century.
In addition to urging a careful copy edit before printing, several
Board members offered suggestions for final changes. Dr. Lubchenco said
she would provide some editorial suggestions for clarifying the connection
between the strategic plan and the environmental task force recommendations.
Dr. Langford suggested that the goals for increasing the size and duration
of grants to an average $150,000 would not be sufficient to support
a well-equipped laboratory or research assistants. Dr. Colwell agreed
that $175,000 might be a more reasonable goal.
Dr. Miller asked if the scope of existing NSF educational programs
should be clarified, and the Director agreed that the Foundation needs
to communicate better the magnitude and importance of its educational
efforts in all Directorates to the U.S. public.
At Dr. Kelly's suggestion, Dr. Colwell called for any further suggestions
to be sent to the NSB Office no later than Tuesday, February 8. In a
resolution (NSB-00-18, Appendix A), the Board unanimously approved the
NSF FY 2000-2005 GPRA Strategic Plan and delegated approval of any final
changes to the Executive Committee.
Presentation: Progress on the FY 1999 GPRA Performance Report
Dr. Loretta Hopkins presented a status report on NSF's response to
the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993. GPRA requires
all Federal agencies as of FY 1999 to provide Congress with an annual
strategic plan and performance report citing measurable goals and achievement
outcomes. The report for FY 1999 is due to Congress in March. Dr. Hopkins
said that NSF's performance report is currently organized into three
areas: long-term "outcome" goals (activity related to NSF-funded programs);
"investment process" goals (how awards are made, how reviews are conducted);
and "management" goals (administration and staff issues).
Taken as a whole, NSF has reached 80 percent of its benchmarks for
1999. The Foundation also met virtually all of its outcome goals, but
was less successful with the other two sets of goals. Areas of needed
improvement include: ensuring a commitment to high risk research; achieving
greater participation of underrepresented groups; lengthening the time
between new program announcements and proposal due dates; use of the
new merit review criteria; and addressing problems with FastLane training.
Dr. Hopkins said that the goals themselves will be reassessed for FY
2000 to ensure their rigor and applicability. The next step is development
of a draft performance report and adjustments to the policies and mechanisms
by which future GPRA data are gathered.
Discussion followed on improving performance measures and analyzing
results related to the customer satisfaction survey. Dr. Tapia raised
questions about the definitions used in measuring trends related to
underrepresented populations, and urged the Foundation not to use inappropriate
population aggregates, especially for Hispanics. Dr. Hopkins responded
that an NSF staff working group is examining data and measurement issues
related to GPRA reporting.
Regarding measures of customer satisfaction, members urged the Foundation
to conduct further studies to determine whether satisfaction varies
with proposal success, suggested reviewing customer satisfaction measures
at comparable agencies, and proposed that data on discouragement of
young or entry-level scientists might be especially useful in program
The Director stated that the results of the customer satisfaction survey
were further evidence of the need for increases in both research funding
and administrative funding for the Foundation. Dr. Jaskolski complimented
NSF management and staff for progress made since 1993 to meet GPRA requirements
and use them as a strategic planning tool.
AGENDA ITEM 4: NSB Report on Environmental Science and Engineering
for the 21st Century.
Dr. Lubchenco provided a summary of activities since the Board's November
meeting. She reported that Dr. Kelly made a presentation about the report
to the President's Council on Science and Technology (PCAST) and to
the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) of the National
Science and Technology Council (NSTC), White House Office of Science
and Technology Policy (OSTP). The report received praise from these
and other reviewers. She said the final revisions did not affect the
substance of the report. In response to reviewers' questions some sections
had been clarified, and details added.
She thanked the NSF Director and Deputy for their contributions, along
with members of the Task Force on the Environment, the Committee on
Programs and Plans, and NSF staff who assisted, especially the Task
Force Executive Secretary, Penny Firth.
Members complimented the Task Force on the report and approved the
resolution (NSB-00-19, Appendix B) to approve the report on Environmental
Science and Engineering for the 21st Century (NSB-00-22), delegating
any final changes to the Executive Committee.
The Chairman thanked the members of the Task Force and Dr. Firth, and
the Director and Deputy for their support.
AGENDA ITEM 5: Interim Report from the Committee on Communication and
Dr. Greenwood, chair of the Communication and Outreach Committee, requested
comments from the Board on the Committee's interim report (NSB-00-01)
and described the purpose of the Symposium, which the Committee organized.
The Committee is charged with developing recommendations for better
communication of science and engineering to policymakers and government
leaders. The Committee also seeks to define the role that NSF should
play in generating public awareness of (a) NSF's mission and (b) science
and engineering overall. Science literacy, while related to the matter
of the public's understanding of science, will not be a primary focus
of the Committee. Dr. Greenwood said the Committee will support and
build on outreach efforts already underway by the Director, and work
to expand the concept of the "civic scientist" as one who establishes
a dialogue with the public about the importance of science. With regard
to the latter, Dr. Greenwood again requested that Board members provide
the Committee with a list of their associations and other opportunities
they might have for public speaking. The Committee plans to deliver
a final report to the Board at the May 2000 meeting.
At the request of Dr. Colwell, Ms. Julia Moore of NSF's public affairs
office gave a brief report on NSF's Public Affairs Advisory Group (PAAG),
whose first meeting is scheduled for February 16. PAAG will be chaired
by Mr. Frank Mankiewicz (Hill and Knowlton). Other members include:
Mr. Norman Augustine (Lockheed Martin); Mr. Al Berkeley (NASDAQ); Ms.
Kathy Bushkin (America Online); Mr. Paul Hoffman (Encyclopedia Britannica);
Ms. Edie Magnus (Dateline NBC); Dr. Cora Marrett (University of Massachusetts-Amherst);
Mr. Phill Merrill (Washingtonian); Mr. Jody Powell (Powell Tate); Mr.
Bill Schneider (CNN); Dr. E.O. Wilson (Harvard University); Mr. Richard
Thornburgh (Kirkpatrick & Lockhart); and Dr. Richard
Tapia (Rice University, NSB). Ms. Moore said that PAAG will make a full
report to the Director by the end of the year, including a full review
of NSF's strategies, goals, programs, and resources with regard to public
AGENDA ITEM 6: Symposium on Communicating Science and Technology in
the Public Interest
Note: Copies of materials presented at the Symposium (described below)
are available from the NSB Office and at the Committee web site www.nsf.gov/nsb/cco>.
The Symposium on Communicating Science and Technology in the Public
Interest was opened by Dr. Eamon Kelly, Chair, National Science Board.
Dr. M.R.C. Greenwood, Chair of the National Science Board's Communication
and Outreach Committee, gave an overview of the symposium and Dr. Robert
Suzuki introduced the keynote speaker.
The keynote address on Public Advocacy and Polling was presented
by Ms. Mary Woolley, president of Research! America, a nonprofit membership
organization supporting grassroots public education and advocacy in
the area of health-related research. Ms. Woolley reviewed polling data
showing that people tend to regard basic science as important and prestigious
work that deserves significantly more public funding than it is getting.
Translating public support into actual funding increases, however, requires
a greater willingness among scientists to act as advocates and communicators,
both to the public and to policymakers and opinion leaders in government.
To be more effective in this regard, said Woolley, scientists should
be more accessible and more accountable; they should be vocally passionate
about their work and the good it is doing for society; and they should
be willing to lead or participate in orchestrated advocacy campaigns
in a wide variety of public arenas, from schools to the media.
The first panel on Public Affairs featured three speakers: Dr.
Mary Good (Venture Capital Investors); Dr. Jon D. Miller (Northwestern
University); and Mr. Skip Stiles (science policy consultant). The panelists
reiterated the importance of scientists overcoming their aversion to
participating in public outreach and advocacy activities, and urged
that the Board do more to change the culture of university-based science
so that such activities will be rewarded rather than discouraged. The
speakers noted several disturbing U.S. trends that necessitate greater
advocacy for basic science: the shortage of technically skilled workers;
the dwindling number of science and engineering students; the greater
proportion of R&D carried out by industry (which tends to be more applied
than basic); and the flat rate of growth for physical and engineering
research funding as compared to the life sciences. As citizens and policymakers
become better informed about how science is done and how it benefits
daily life, public support for basic science should grow, the panelists
said. The National Science Board is in a particularly good position
to advocate, they said, given its status, knowledge, and visibility.
The second group of panelists discussed the Entertainment Industry
and News Media, and featured Mr. Dave Yarnold (San Jose Mercury News);
Ms. Joanne Rodgers (Johns Hopkins University); and Mr. Ira Flatow (National
Public Radio). The speakers shared their views of how the public's understanding
of science is arbitrated by popular media. Scientists should do more
to reach out to print and broadcast journalists, the speakers agreed,
and to fashion their messages in simple, clear ways that appeal to the
story-telling needs of the media. Science institutions should also think
about marketing themselves more directly to the public without journalists
as a conduit; for example, through the development of new Web sites
or through branding campaigns. And everyone agreed with the first set
of panelists that universities need to find a way to reward scientists
for participating in public outreach.
At 5:00 p.m., the Open Session was recessed.
* * * *
The Open Session was reconvened at 8:30 a.m. by Dr. M.R.C. Greenwood.
The symposium on Communicating Science and Technology in the Public
Thursday, February 3, 2000
Four speakers participated in the third panel on New Technologies:
Dr. David Baltimore (California Institute of Technology); Dr. Anita
Borg (Institute for Women and Technology; Xerox); Ms. Judy Estrin (Cisco);
and Dr. Jim Mitchell (Sun Microsystems). The Internet and related technologies
have changed virtually every aspect of life, the speakers noted, and
more change is imminent, including bigger bandwidth, more pervasive
wireless communications, and more collaborative, interactive classrooms
and labs. Dr. Borg warned that the computer "elite" should not only
reach out to the public but should also be ready to listen, thereby
ensuring that new technology developments will be informed by the concerns
and participation of the many rather than the few. Ms. Estrin and others
stressed that new technologies change how we think as much as what we
do: we still need to plan long-term but with much greater flexibility
and agility in the here and now. Questions about privacy and regulation
on the Web occupied the speakers and several members of the audience,
with concern expressed that the commercial need to withhold information
conflicts with the academic and Internet traditions of openness.
The final session featured Mr. Rick Borchelt (NASA Marshall; Vanderbilt
University). Mr. Borchelt is Chair of NASA's Research Roadmap for Communication
of Science and Technology for the 21st Century Working Group, a 15-member
blue-ribbon panel of journalists, scientists, and public relations professionals
that is undertaking a three-year study of how science can best be communicated
to the public. In addition to collecting "best practices" from the Nation's
research institutions, Mr. Borchelt's working group is investigating
what research has been done, or should be done, in the area of science
communication. So far, the committee has identified at least five areas
that deserve further research: (1) the relationship, if any, among science
communication, science literacy, and science advocacy; (2) how audiences
actually consume scientific information; (3) how public information
officers serve as brokers between researchers and reporters; and reviews
of the research literatures on (4) health communications and (5) diffusion
of innovations, to see what may already be known about effective science
Among the committee's interim conclusions are that there is no such
thing as the "general public"-especially with the advent of new media,
target audiences have become diffuse and lack the kind of shared assumptions
that make mass communication possible. Another finding is that, when
designing programs for public communication, it is important to distinguish
whether the goal is greater understanding of science or simply a greater
appreciation of science's benefits. In addition, said Mr. Borchelt,
scientists and engineers are themselves the best communicators of their
work and should be integrated into the mix, as is done on Science@nasa.gov
(www.science.nasa.gov), the award-winning Web site maintained by NASA
Marshall and written entirely by scientists. Mr. Borchelt urged the
National Science Foundation to fund more research into science communications,
including the prototyping of new communications technologies.
Dr. Kelly adjourned the Open Session at 12:25 p.m.
Catherine J. Hines
Appendix A: Resolution NSB-00-18
Appendix B: Resolution NSB-00-19
Appendix A to NSB-00-39
January 21, 2000
RESOLVED, that the National Science Board approves the National
Science Foundation's FY 2000-2005 GPRA Strategic Plan, NSB-00-16,
version 3.0, and its submission to the Administration and to the Congress
in March 2000. The Board also delegates approval of any final changes
to the Executive Committee
Adopted by the National Science Board
February 2, 2000
Appendix B to NSB-00-39
January 21, 2000
RESOLVED, that the National Science Board approves the report, Environmental
Science and Engineering for the 21st Century, NSB-99-133, and delegates
approval of any final changes to the Executive Committee
Adopted by the National Science Board
February 2, 2000
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