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August 4, 2000
Revised August 7, 2000


SUBJECT: Preliminary Report of the August 2-3, 2000 Meeting

The major actions of the Board at its 359th meeting on August 2-3, 2000, are summarized for the information of those members and consultants absent and as a reminder to those present.

1. Board Activities

a. Dr. Michael Rossmann and Dr. Daniel Simberloff were sworn in as members with terms ending in 2006.

b. The Board elected Drs. Greenwood and Richardson members of the Executive Committee, for unexpired terms ending May 2001.

c. The Board approved two programs in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources: The Federal Cyber Service: Scholarship for Service (SFS) Program; and the Centers for Learning and Teaching Program.

d. The Board approved a report, Communicating Science and Technology in the Public Interest (NSB-00-99).

e. The Board ratified the NSB management response to the Inspector General's Semiannual Report of June, 2000.

f. The Board approved the suggested level of donations to the NSB Trust Fund Subaccount for FY 2001.

g. The Board approved an off-site policy meeting and retreat for January/February, 2001 in the Washington D.C. area, to focus on the NSF niche in preschool to 12 education.

h. The Board approved plans for a December, 2000 event to celebrate the NSB 50th Anniversary.

i. The Board approved the Closed and Open Session minutes of the May 2000 meeting.

2. Awards

The Board approved the following awards: Amount not to exceed 

Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Division of Astronomical Sciences Amendment to Cooperative Agreement AST-9414257 for the Gemini International 8-Meter Telescopes Project The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA, Inc.) (NSB-00-141) $242,800,000
Through December 31, 2001 
Extension of Cooperative Agreement for Support of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. NSB-00-145 An increment of $63,500,000,
For a total of $190,500,000
for two additional years, through March 31, 2003  
Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering Division of Advanced Computational Infrastructure and Research Terascale Computing System MPC Corporation Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center NSB-00-144 $45,000,000
36 months

3. NSB Committees

(Committee summaries are provided by executive secretaries.)

The Chairman discharged the CPP Task Force on the Environment with thanks to the Chair, Dr. Lubchenco, members Drs. Armstrong, Gaillard and Washington, NSF Staff member Dr. Clutter, and Executive Secretary Dr. Firth.

The Chairman also discharged the Committee on Communication and Outreach, with thanks to the Chair, Dr. Greenwood, members Drs. Langford, Savitz, Suzuki and Tien, and Executive Secretary Ms. Higgs.

a. Executive Committee

The Executive Committee heard status reports on the FY 2001 and FY 2002 budget processes. It approved for recommendation to the NSB the FY 2002 budget for the NSB subaccount of the NSF Trust Fund and the suggested donation level for Board members for the coming year. The committee also agreed to move its next meeting from August 15 to September.

b. Audit & Oversight (A&O)


Briefings and updates were provided on the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) and the Chief Financial Officer Act Financial Statements and Audit. A review of information and statistics on the NSF Workforce and plans for an agency workforce study were presented.


Dr. Tina Boesz, NSF Inspector General, provided the committee with copies of the Office of the Inspector General's (OIG's) recently completed Strategic Plan, which recognizes the OIG's role in outreach to the NSF's research community. She also described the OIG's organizational structure, including some recent changes to better manage and focus the office's work efforts. The committee discussed the OIG's budget request for FY 2002 and endorsed the requested funding amount.

c. Programs and Plans (CPP)

The Committee on Programs and Plans reviewed and approved three action items for consideration by the NSB: an amendment to the cooperative agreement for increased support and duration for the Gemini International 8-meter Telescopes Project; an extension of the Cooperative Agreement for support of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories; and an award for a Terascale Computing System at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center.

The committee heard presentations on some ideas for Major research Equipment projects. It also received a report on implementation of the NSB Environmental Report, outlining organizational plans, resources and funding, and research areas.

The committee discussed an information item updating plans for the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), and received a written information item on Physics Frontier Centers.

The committee also discussed NSF goals and objectives for High Performance Computing infrastructure, with plans for continued discussion at its next meeting.

d. CPP Subcommittee on Polar Issues

The subcommittee heard reports from OPP staff on a number of items including: the follow-on to the AMANDA Neutrino detector, ICECUBE, the size and scope of the project and the international cooperation involved; information on the Arctic Natural Sciences program and findings from research in the Arctic with regard to changing theories about the global nitrogen budget; recent activities of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment program; and research related to the impact of rapid glaciation on earth geology and the role of the Antarctic in studying early life on earth.

OPP staff and representatives from Antarctic support contractor Raytheon Polar Services Company discussed the Antarctic Health and Safety program and the plans established by Ratheon to address health and safety issues at the Antarctic.

e. Education and Human Resources (EHR)

The committee recommended for Board approval two new EHR programs - Scholarship for Service, and Centers for Learning and Teaching. Dr. Sunley continued the discussion from the March and May 2000 meetings of priority-setting in EHR and education programming across NSF. She also continued from the May meeting a presentation on NSF diversity programs. Dr. Tapia reported on activities of the Indicators Subcommittee, including two teleconferences and the results of the August 2, 2000 meeting in which eight chapter topics for Science and Engineering Indicators-2002 were approved. Topical outlines for each chapter will be developed.

The committee discussed the membership of the Expert Panel on NSF's Niche in K-16 Education. Dr. Karl Pister has agreed to chair the Panel. The committee will complete the panel of 5-7 members and plans to meet with them in conjunction with the October 2000 NSB meeting. The committee agreed that early childhood through high school education in mathematics and science should be the focus of the Board's February 2001 policy meeting to be held in the Washington, DC, area. Finally, the committee, in response to a letter from Chairman Kelly, endorsed the establishment of an EHR Task Force on Workforce Issues.

f. EHR Subcommittee on Science and Engineering Indicators (SEI)

Dr. Lynda Carlson presented a proposal on content, organization and process for Indicators 2002, including: improved accessibility and relevance, thematic organization of each chapter, effective integration of themes across chapters, early review and input from the Board, and delivery to the President on January 15, 2002.

Eight Indicator chapter topics were proposed and approved by the subcommittee. The environmental theme would be incorporated into various chapters of the 2002 report where appropriate, at the same time as a thematic outline for a 2004 environment chapter is developed. The subcommittee approved the chapter outline development process as well as the schedule for outline review, the timeline, and process for Board review of the draft chapters.

Dr. Thomas Smith presented eight proposed topics for the K-12 chapter, including student performance in math and science, content standards, statewide assessments and time spent on math and science, instructional processes, and IT in schools. The subcommittee agreed that the topics were appropriate and that SRS should develop thematic outlines. Dr. Tapia reiterated his strong concern and suggestion that K-12 experts provide input into the content and review process of the K-12 chapter as it develops. Dr. Carlson requested that subcommittee members provide recommendations of K-12 practitioners who would review the chapter.

Mr. Rolf Lehming provided an update on the various Indicator development activities currently underway. These include survey redesign activities, new survey activities, grants program and international activities. Finally Mr. John Gawalt provided an overview of the numbers, types and distribution of visitors to the Indicators website received thus far.

g. Task Force on International S&E Issues (ISE)

The task force discussed Dr. Natalicio's proposal (NSB/ISE-00-26) that, in addition to the report with general recommendations for the transition team, the task force also prepare by the end of the year a second paper with summary policy guidance for NSF. This paper would respond to a request from Dr. Colwell for guidance from the Board on NSF's international activities. Receiving this guidance by the end of this calendar year would enable incorporation of the guidance into discussions on the FY 2002 budget. Since these two documents would be targeting two separate audiences-the transition team and NSF management-the task force agreed to prepare a separate, public NSB statement of policy guidance to the Foundation.

The task force discussed in detail the revised report for the transition team with respect to structure, topical areas, and range of recommendations. The task force felt the report was in very good shape. After some additional revision, the report is expected to be submitted to the full Board for comment in the Fall and approval at the October meeting.

The task force also discussed the first draft of the parallel NSF report which, like the transition report, will be completed by the end of the year. The task force strongly agreed that a major recommendation of this report would be guidance to NSF to raise the profile of its international activities.

h. Committee on Strategic S&E Policy Issues (SPI)

The committee discussed draft recommendations based on its study of priority setting methodologies to date, and planning for a meeting with agencies on Friday, August 4. Members agreed to a date of October 20-21, immediately following the October Board meeting, for a Stakeholders' Symposium, and reviewed the schedule through the end of 2000, which includes bringing a report to the Board for consideration at the December meeting, with release as a draft interim report to follow. The committee then met with Program Examiners from the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB's) Energy and Science Division.

i. Task Force on NSB 50th Anniversary (NSB50)

The task force discussed the results of the external reviewers' comments on the 50th anniversary commemorative brochure. Terry Savage and Cindy Lollar, Low+Associates, reported on the inclusion of text to strengthen the 1980's and 1990's sections and noted that the document should be ready for Board approval in October. The proposed significant event timeline was reviewed and task force members proposed the inclusion of additional significant events. Ms. Savage asked the members to provide comments on the proposed timeline by mid-September.

Dr. Vera Rubin, Chair, made a final report on the JumpStart 2000 competition, noting that the six winning teams were honored in Washington the week of May 16-28, 2000. Celebratory events included an awards breakfast on Capitol Hill where the winners demonstrated their projects, and an awards banquet where the winners were presented individual plaques. David Levy, Science Editor for PARADE and one of the contest judges, was the 'emcee' for both of the events. The teams also met with senators and representatives from their home districts and had a special tour of the White House.

Dr. Rubin asked the task force to approve a change of location for the 50th Anniversary celebratory event to accommodate comfortably the number of guests the Board wishes to invite. The task force agreed to recommend a change of venue to the Board. Members also agreed to recommend Bert and Jeanne Westwood, whose specialty is 'scientific sonnets' where they fit lyrics to well-known popular songs, as the evening's entertainment.

Marta Cehelsky
Executive Officer

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