March 20, 2000
MEMORANDUM TO NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD MEMBERS
SUBJECT: Preliminary Report of the March 16, 2000
The major actions of the Board at its 357th meeting on
March 16, 1999, are summarized for the information of those members
absent and as a reminder to those present.
1. Board Actions
a. The Board approved the Closed Session minutes of the
November, 1999 meeting and the Open Session minutes of the February,
b. The Board approved three programs in EHR:
The NSF Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) (NSB-00-61).
Under this program, academic institutions that offer graduate degrees
in science, mathematics, engineering and technology can apply for
two- to three-year awards ranging from $200,000 up to $500,000 per
year. The institutions are responsible for selecting the teaching
fellows. Graduate teaching fellows will receive annual stipends of
$18,000, plus a cost-of-education stipend. Undergraduate fellows will
receive as much as $5,000 per academic year, plus up to an additional
$5,000 for service in the summer.
c. The Board approved selections for the Vannevar Bush Award, the
Alan T. Waterman Award, and the Public Service Award for 2000, as recommended
by the selection committees.
The Inter-Agency Education Research Initiative (IERI) (NSB-00-62),
is a partnership among NSF, the Department of Education and the National
Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The program will
support research to identify education strategies that improve the
teaching and learning of reading, mathematics and science from pre-kindergarten
through grade 12, especially the use of information and computer technologies
National SMET Digital Library Program (NSDL) (NSB-00-63). This inter
Directorate program will provide long-term support for maintenance,
improvement and expansion of high-quality digital science, mathematics,
engineering and technology materials for use by students and teachers
at all levels.
|The Board approved the following awards:
||Amount not to exceed |
|Office of the Director
|Office of Polar Programs
|A Request for Proposals (RFP) to Obtain a Follow-on Contract to
Provide Helicopter for 60 months Services to Support the United
States Antarctic Program (USAP) and Antarctica New Zealand (AntNZ)
|Office of Polar Programs
|International Arctic Research Center
University of Alaska
A cooperative agreement for an amount not to exceed $15,000,000
for 36 months. As part of the cooperative agreement there will
be created an eminent advisory and oversight council to advise
NSF and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. The NSB/CPP wishes
to be briefed on the program plan for the second year activities
early in FY2001|
|Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences
|Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences
for 48 months
|Center for Integrated Study of the Human
Dimensions of Global Change Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh,
3. NSB Committees
The Chairman established the Task Force on Polar Issues as a standing
subcommittee of the Committee on Programs and Plans, effective in May.
4. NSB Nominations
Anita Jones briefly reminded members that the Committee on NSB Nominations
for 2008 will meet in May, and asked Board members to begin thinking
of potential nominations.
5. Committee Reports
(Committee summaries are provided by executive secretaries.)
a. Executive Committee (EC)
The Executive Committee discussed the status of the NSF strategic plan
and the FY 2002 budget preparation process. The committee also heard
a report from the Director on personnel matters and discussed the responsibility
of the A&O committee in oversight of management policy. Finally, the
committee heard reports on the recommendations for the Alan T. Waterman,
Vannevar Bush, and NSB Public Service Award that would be presented
to the Board.
b. Audit & Oversight (A&O)
The new Inspector General Christine ("Tina") Boesz was introduced.
A Government Performance and Results Act update noted that the FY99
GPRA performance report was accepted by the President's Office of Management
and Budget (OMB) and is currently under review by GAO (Government Accounting
Office). A report on the status of the FY99 NSF Financial Statement
and Audit noted that audited financial statements were transmitted to
OMB March 1 and that NSF received a "clean" (unqualified) audit opinion,
for the second year in a row. There was also a report on the Information
System Controls audit, which included review of security, penetration
testing and back up plans, and a brief discussion of a revised draft
A & O charter.
Supervisory session: An External Quality Review performed on
the NSF OIG audit organization was discussed. The Review concluded that
the NSF audit organization conducted its audits substantially in compliance
with the Government Audit Standards. The OIG's initiatives for outreach
and plans for reevaluating the OIG Strategic Plan were also discussed.
c. Education and Human Resources (EHR)
The committee was given a presentation on NSF Informal Education activities
by Dr. Hyman Field and engaged in a dialog with Dr. Franklin Odo of
the Smithsonian Institution on broadening minority participation in
the Nation's science and engineering enterprise. The committee approved
a draft of the charge to the committee and noted that it was preferable
for NSB members to serve concurrently on more than one standing committee.
The Science and Engineering Indicators Subcommittee reported on the
progress of Indicators-2000 and the Committee approved a draft companion
The status of the statutory requirement for the preparation of Science
Indicators was also discussed. In action items, the committee recommended
approval of the Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education Program;
the Interagency Education Research Initiative (IERI) Program; and the
National SMET Digital Library (NSDL). Dr. Sunley gave the committee
a comprehensive framework for EHR decision making and, in Executive
Session, the committee discussed an expert panel process that would
help the Foundation assess its niche in K-12 education.
d. Science and Engineering Indicators (SEI)
Dr. Lynda Carlson, the new Director of the Division of Science Resources
Studies, provided the subcommittee with a status report on the printing
and publication schedule of the Science and Engineering Indicators-2000
report, emphasizing that Indicators is the highest priority of
the SRS Division. The Board will receive the 2-volume report and accompanying
CD at its May meeting. She noted that the delay in production of Indicators-2000,
which had earlier been promised for the March meeting, stemmed from
several problems in the editing, quality control, and composition of
the report. Dr. Carlson requested that the subcommittee consider having
a substantive discussion at its May meeting regarding various options
to put Indicators back on its January completion and release schedule
as well as content and format issues. Dr. Carlson also provided the
subcommittee with samples of data cards, which could serve as models
for highlighting specific Indicators-2000 data. Appreciation
was expressed to subcommittee members and SRS staff (Jennifer Bond in
particular) for all their efforts in producing S&E Indicators-2000.
Dr. Daryl Chubin, Senior Policy Officer, NSB, led a discussion on the
draft companion piece to Indicators-2000. The companion piece
is appropriate for the NSF 50th Anniversary celebration, highlighting
changes made in science and technology over the past 50 years, enduring
themes, and looking forward to the future. The companion piece has been
provided to all Board members for comments, which should be given to
Dr. Chubin as soon as possible for incorporation into the document.
The subcommittee indicated their overall satisfaction with the draft
companion piece and recommended and approved the following resolution
to the EHR Committee:
The S&EI Subcommittee recommends to the EHR Committee
that it accept the companion piece to S& E Indicators-2000 with
the understanding that Dr. Mitchell-Kernan will have the authority to
approve any final editorial changes in the companion piece.
Dr. David Stonner, Section Head, Congressional Affairs, OLPA provided
the Subcommittee with an update on the sunset requirement for the S&E
Indicators report. At the November meeting the NSB had voted their
unanimous agreement that all steps necessary to ensure that the statutory
requirement for S&E Indicators be reinstated in congressional
legislation be pursued. He indicated that chances for a stand-alone
piece of legislation were not good and more likely an amendment would
be attached to a relevant House Bill. The Senate could pass the legislation
but there is a very small chance that it would be passed this session
due to its low priority.
e. Programs and Plans (CPP)
The committee recommended that Dr. Margaret Leinen provide an annual
briefing to the NSB on the Foundation's activities in response to the
NSB report Environmental Research and Education for the 21st Century,
beginning with the May NSB meeting.The committee also requested that
Dr. Leinen provide a brief update to the CPP at every other meeting.
The committee received a brief report from the Polar Issues Task Force,
including Arctic and Antarctic support issues and the international
Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. The committee heard a presentation
on infrastructure and the steps NSF is taking to address the changing
nature of research and education infrastructure in NSF's strategic planning.
The committee discussed the proposed revision to the CPP Committee Charge
(NSB-00-25) and agreed that the revised charge was appropriate. The
committee reviewed and approved three items for consideration by the
NSB: Request for Proposals for Helicopter Services to Support the U.S.
Antarctic Program and Antarctica New Zealand (NSB-00-50); Center for
Integrative Study of the Human Dimensions of Global Change, Carnegie-Mellon
University (NSB-00-30); and International Arctic Research Center, University
of Alaska, Fairbanks (NSB-00-59). The committee called for the creation
of an eminent advisory and oversight council to advise NSF and the University
of Alaska, Fairbanks, and for a briefing to the CPP early in FY 2001
on the Center's program plan for the second year.
f. Polar Issues (PI)
The Chairman noted that the National Science Board had approved making
the Polar Issues Task Force a permanent subcommittee of the Committee
on Programs and Plans effective May 2000. OPP staff reviewed the 2001
budget for Polar Programs; initiatives to expand participation in polar
research projects; and Arctic and Antarctic logistic and support activities
including the successful transition of support contractors in the Antarctic
and recent Arctic and Antarctic science activities and future plans.
The task force recommended to the Committee on Programs and Plans approval
of issuance of a request for proposals for a follow-on contract to provide
helicopter services to support the United States Antarctic Program and
Antarctica New Zealand.
g. Committee on Communication and Outreach
CCO members shared their views on the policy symposium in February
in Irvine, CA ("Communicating Science and Technology in the Public Interest").
Members agreed the symposium was informative and provided many thoughtful
suggestions for how NSB and NSF can improve communication and outreach
about science and engineering. The next phase of the committee's work
is to prepare the final report, which is due to the Board in May. To
inform the committee and to help shape its recommendations for NSB and
NSF, members heard from staff in the Office of Legislative and Public
Affairs (OLPA), the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic
Sciences (SBE), and the Directorate for Education and Human Resources
h. International Issues in S&E (ISE)
Task Force Chair, Dr. Diana Natalicio, introduced Alan Rapoport, the
new Executive Secretary and thanked the previous Executive Secretary,
Dr. Frances Li, for all her work. The task force heard presentations
from two invited guests: former Science Advisor Jack Gibbons reporting
on the steps the Department of State is taking to reverse a decline
in scientific and technical expertise over the past decade, and NSF
Director Dr. Rita Colwell, summarizing the Foundation's response to
a set of questions posed by the task force about NSF's international
Dr. Marta Cehelsky presented a brief review of the task force's activities
to date, and the task force focused on next steps. Key issues, themes,
and recommendations will be identified and integrated from both the
literature and the hearings. In addition, a preliminary report outline
was distributed to elicit discussion from task force members and other
NSF attendees. A revised version, incorporating comments and suggestions,
will be distributed to the task force and discussed during an upcoming
i. Ad Hoc Committee on Strategic S&E Policy Issues (SPI)
The committee heard presentations from two speakers, Mr. Charles Larson,
President of the Industrial Research Institute, and Dr. James Duderstadt,
representing the National Academies' Committee on Science, Engineering
and Public Policy (COSEPUP). Mr. Larson discussed priority setting in
industry, and the roles of industry and the Federal government in U.S.
R&D. He also reviewed how investment strategies in industry have changed
over the last decade, and how these changes have required changes in
R&D personnel capabilities. Dr. Duderstadt discussed COSEPUP's work
on the Federal Science and Technology (FS&T) budget and on benchmarking
for fields of research, in cooperation with the American Association
for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). These efforts follow on the recommendations
of the Academy report, Allocating Federal Funds for Science and Technology.
Dr. Duderstadt noted that today's environment is conducive to progress
in this area and the Board is the appropriate body to lead this activity.
The committee discussed its Draft Interim Report to the Board. Members
focussed particularly on the second phase of the committee's workplan,
which will involve other stakeholders in discussions of the findings
of the committee. The schedule for completion of the committee's work
includes a first draft in May to be submitted to the Board for comment,
a revised draft during the summer, and a final interim draft for consideration
at the August meeting. Workshops and other meetings will be scheduled
in the fall and a final report issued in December. Staff was asked to
prepare a table organized by topical areas indicating the organization
and names of appropriate participants in focussed workshops or other
meetings; and a report on time line, budget and resources that would
be required to support committee activities through December.
j. NSB 50th Anniversary Task Force
The task force heard reports from Susan Mason, Office of Legislative
& Public Affairs, on the results of the national science and technology
challenge, "Jumpstart 2000: Your Chance To Build a Better Century."
Ms. Mason also provided an overview of the NSF 50th events, including
a publication on historical accomplishments to be released this spring;
bi-monthly two-page spreads in Discover magazine on broad science
and engineering topics; 90-second interstitials during Saturday morning
children's programming beginning in September on "Find Out Why"; partnerships
with Dow-Chemical, Science Service and Dartmouth College for a 50th
celebration, and a roundtable discussion and release of a Dartmouth
College white paper on the "Future of Science & Technology."
The task force discussed a proposed external review process for the
NSB 50th Anniversary Commemorative brochure. A group of 5-10 reviewers
will be selected from former Board members, senior NSF staff, NSF historians
and others familiar with NSB/NSF history, to review the text and sidebars
of the commemorative. The reviewers will be asked to read for balance
of items presented, accuracy, completeness, tone and inclusion of pivotal
NSB, NSF and other actors.
The task force discussed the type of event, entertainment, and focus
of the NSB 50th anniversary celebration on December 12. Also discussed
was the possibility of presenting special awards to individuals with
a long-standing association with the NSB, NSF and the science and engineering
community. Board members will be asked to provide names of candidates
for special recognition in the near future.
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