50th ANNIVERSARY MEETING
NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD
The National Science Foundation
December 14, 2000
The National Science Board (NSB) convened in Open Session at 1:15 p.m.
on Thursday, December 14, 2000, with Dr. Eamon Kelly, Chairman of the
Board, presiding (Agenda NSB-00-201). In accordance with the Government
in the Sunshine Act, this portion of the meeting was open to the public.
Eamon M. Kelly, Chairman
Anita K. Jones, Vice Chair
John A. Armstrong
Nina V. Fedoroff
Pamela A. Ferguson
Mary K. Gaillard
Stanley V. Jaskolski
George M. Langford
Joseph A. Miller, Jr.
Robert C. Richardson
Michael G. Rossmann
Bob H. Suzuki
Warren M. Washington
John A. White, Jr.
Rita R. Colwell, NSF Director
Diana S. Natalicio
Mark S. Wrighton
AGENDA ITEM 7: Open Session Minutes, October 2000
The Board APPROVED the Open Session minutes of the October 2000 meeting
(NSB-00-194, Board Book Tab C).
AGENDA ITEM 8: Closed Session Items for January 31, February 1,
| The Board APPROVED the Closed Session items for
the January/February 2001 Board Meeting (NSB-00-198, Board Book Tab
AGENDA ITEM 9: Closed Session Items for March 14-15, 2001
| The Board APPROVED the Closed Session items for
the March 2001 Board Meeting (NSB-00-208, Board Book Tab E).
AGENDA ITEM 10: Chairman's Report
a. Acknowledgment of 50th Anniversary Meeting
| Dr. Kelly thanked members of the Board and National
Science Foundation (NSF) staff who contributed to the success of the
50th anniversary meeting and dinner.
b. Task Force Membership
| Dr. Kelly announced that Dr. Michael Rossmann has
agreed to serve on the Infrastructure Task Force.
c. February Retreat
| Dr. Kelly advised the Board that during the February
retreat at Airlie House, the focus would be on three items: transition
activities, the NSB election process, and a self-assessment of the
Board's oversight and advisory responsibilities. He announced that
a committee chaired by NSB Vice Chair Anita Jones and the chairs of
the three standing committees (Drs. John Armstrong, Stanley Jaskolski,
and Bob Suzuki) would put together the agenda for the retreat. Under
consideration is the use of a facilitator at the retreat. Board members
were encouraged to submit their ideas and suggestions to Dr. Jones.
d. Meeting with OMB Officials
| Dr. Kelly informed the Board that he, Dr. Jones,
and Dr. Marta Cehelsky, NSB Executive Officer, met with Office of
Management and Budget (OMB) officials, at OMB's request, on December
12. They informally discussed the need to increase the size and duration
of NSF awards, various NSF initiatives, issues for the transition,
and the charges of the Board's task forces. OMB staff expressed special
interest in priority setting and budget processes.
AGENDA ITEM 11: Director's Report
a. NSF Distinguished Service Award
| Dr. Rita Colwell, NSF Director, presented the NSF
Distinguished Service Award to Dr. Ruzena Bajcsy, Assistant Director,
Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering,
for her exceptional performance in leading the Interagency Information
Technology Research Initiative and her dedication and leadership in
advancing the mission of NSF.
b. Congressional Update
Dr. Colwell reported that the Veterans Administration (VA), Housing and
Urban Development (HUD), and Independent Agencies appropriations bill
was signed into law on October 27. Congress has been recalled into session
to address appropriation bills not yet enacted, and there is a possibility
that the final agreement may involve an across-the-board cut of all appropriation
bills, totaling $1 billion.
Dr. Colwell also reported that the National Science Education Act of
2000, introduced by Representative Vern Ehlers, failed to pass and is
expected to be reintroduced in the 107th Congress.
Since the last Board meeting, NSF staff have provided briefings to
Senate staff on the Nanoscience and Technology Initiative and EPSCoR
(Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research), to the Black
Congressional Caucus and Hispanic Caucus on NSF programs serving underrepresented
groups, and to House and Senate staff on the recent update of the
Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS-R) report.
c. Press Conference on Arabidopsis
| Dr. Colwell reported that the press conference on
the genetic sequencing of the plant arabidopsis was successful and
that the sequencing was an example of superb interagency collaboration
and cooperation. Dr. Colwell commended the Office of Legislative and
Public Affairs for webcasting the press conference, making information
on this plant genetics milestone immediately available on the World
AGENDA ITEM 12: NSF Public Affairs Advisory Committee
Dr. Colwell commented on the importance of the Public Affairs Advisory
Committee (PAAC), which is helping NSF understand how to convince the
public, elected officials, and the media that science and engineering
research and education are truly vital to the Nation's future. She introduced
Mr. Frank Mankiewicz, chair of PAAC and a distinguished journalist, former
press secretary to the late Senator Robert Kennedy, and former president
of National Public Radio. He is now vice chairman of Hill & Knowlton,
one of the largest public relations firms in the United States.
Mr. Mankiewicz introduced four committee members present: (1) Mr.
Alfred R. Berkley III, vice chairman of NASDAQ and chairman of The
Community of Science, (2) Mr. Philip Merrill, chairman and publisher
of The Washingtonian Magazine and owner of several newspapers, (3)
Ms. Edie Magnus, a correspondent and television journalist at Dateline
NBC, and (4) Dr. Richard Tapia, an NSB member. The purpose of PAAC
is to suggest ways in which NSF can enlarge its visibility so as to
garner far greater support from the American public, opinion leaders,
members of Congress, congressional staff, and the executive branch.
PAAC has recommended five actions: (1) a major outreach effort to
explain how science and engineering are related to the Nation's future,
economic prosperity, jobs, and societal goals of environmental quality,
public health and safety; (2) a vastly expanded outreach effort to
the media so that NSF becomes known as the authoritative place to
call when scientific events need explanation; (3) an outreach effort
to opinion leaders in industry, commerce, labor, religion, and other
elements of society to explain why science is important to economic
growth; (4) support for U.S. efforts to develop its own talent for
high-skill technical jobs; and (5) doubling the NSF budget for the
core activities of a public affairs program.
Discussion: In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Mankiewicz
and the other PAAC members made the following points:
- National television draws the biggest audiences but the bar
is higher for getting attention. Local television stations are
often looking for news stories. The trick is to make a connection-going
backward from the great discoveries to trace their roots, and
going forward to show where the great discoveries might lead.
Imagination is needed to make the jump from science to nonscientific
but equally important aspects of American life.
- When new journalists begin covering the science beat, NSF could
become their unbiased teacher and take them through the pros and
cons of issues they will be dealing with.
- NSF could create useful, easily accessible information, such
as a visible site on the World Wide Web, or 30-second to 1-minute
stories available on satellite for any radio station to use for
- For maximum effectiveness, the majority of NSF's outreach should
focus on NSF's core constituency, which could mobilize to generate
broad support for NSF activities.
- The public perception of science and scientists needs to change.
It is essential to demystify science to ensure that the ordinary
people, especially children, understand its relevance. For example,
scientists and engineers could help movie producers bring a more
realistic picture of science into the film and entertainment industry.
- NSF needs brand recognition in the nonscientific community,
a way to convey the connection between what NSF does and the people
| Dr. M.R.C. Greenwood, who chaired the Board's activity
on communication and outreach earlier in the year, noted that it might
be useful to explore the connection between the PAAC report and the
Board's recent report on communicating science. Scientists need to
help the media make connections between science and everyday life,
and the media need to help scientists understand audiences. Scientists
also need to communicate the glamour, excitement, and rewarding life
of a first-rate scientist and to sell the idea that scientists participate
in activities that affect every member of society and America's chief
AGENDA ITEM 13: COSEPUP Postdoc Study
Dr. Kelly introduced Dr. Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy
of Sciences, chair of the National Research Council, and a respected biochemist
and professor, to present the findings of the Committee on Science, Engineering
and Public Policy (COSEPUP) regarding the postdoctoral experience.
After summarizing recent studies and reports of the three academies,
Dr. Alberts described the approach of COSEPUP to broad issues of public
policy, the conduct of science, and the training of young scientists.
Dr. Alberts introduced Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists
and Engineers, the latest study undertaken with the goal of encouraging
the development of the best young scientists. Based on focus groups, workshops,
surveys, and data analyses, the study summarizes the current postdoctoral
situation, reports on best practices, and recommends actions for all stakeholders.
Dr. Alberts added that research is still needed to explain why the best
and brightest students are not choosing to go into science and engineering.
Dr. Alberts reported that the number of postdoctoral appointments has
doubled in the past 20 years to approximately 52,000. Eighty percent are
in academia-three-fourths of them in the life sciences-and the median
salary is $27,000, less than the median salary of a bachelor's degree
recipient. Large numbers of postdocs have no benefits, such as health
insurance, and their income is low because the appointment is considered
an apprenticeship to gain skills for future advancement. Advisors therefore
have a responsibility to teach those skills and evaluate the postdoctorals'
progress. Institutions have a responsibility to pay attention to their
postdoctoral staff, encourage them financially, and support a postdoctoral
association to give them a voice. Funding organizations must take more
responsibility for adequate stipend levels and create incentives for good
mentoring. Disciplinary societies can catalyze and support reform.
The report encourages NSF and the National Institutes of Health to
establish central offices for postdoctoral issues, develop rational
criteria for a postdoctoral pay scale, formulate a standard definition
of a postdoctoral appointment, and meet regularly with representatives
of postdoctoral organizations.
AGENDA ITEM 14: NSF and the Social Sciences
Dr. Norman Bradburn, Assistant Director, Directorate for Social, Behavioral
and Economic Sciences, summarized an initiative under consideration for
the 2003 budget. Many changes occurring in society are largely driven
by technology, and technology provides new research tools that open new
avenues of research in social and behavioral sciences. Examples of new
tools and methodologies are non-invasive methods for studying brain functions,
stochastic modeling of human interactions, computational linguistics,
new statistical techniques for data mining and data analysis, and collaboratories.
In discussions with research universities, professional societies,
and review panels, NSF has identified a number of illustrative research
- How do our institutions and systems of laws, property rights,
and regulations stimulate or inhibit technological innovation
and diffusion, particularly as analyzed in economics and political
- How can international development of new technologies and commerce
be effectively governed in the global context?
- What happens in the brain as we learn and mature and how does
knowledge of "what happens" contribute to improve learning,
memory, and other cognitive skills?
- How is meaning encoded in language (an analog of the genome
question in biology)?
- How can we use technology to transform education?
- What transformations are required of organizations to remain
competitive in the context of changing products, markets, and
- How do we explain the sudden emergence of collective behavior
such as rapid, widespread adoption or opposition to technologies?
- How can we design markets to allocate efficiently new types
of goods and services where traditional market designs have failed?
| The initiative might be organized around four themes:
(1) innovation and diffusion; (2) incorporating human factors in the
beginning of processes to develop and adapt technology; (3) adaptation
to technological change; and (4) social, economic, and environmental
effects of technology (direct effects, cumulative effects, and second-
and third-order effects).
Discussion: Dr. Jones noted that new tools and techniques are the compelling
argument for the initiative at this time. Dr. Armstrong noted the need
for better scholarly understanding and modeling of the link between scientific
advances and economic growth-a harder question to answer than many of
the questions already noted. Dr. Kelly suggested that a conceptual framework
for the initiative could be the gap between social science and public
policy, and the opportunity that now exists for synergy among problems,
databases, technologies, and statistical techniques. This could be the
beginning of a new era in social science and its relationship to public
policy, but policy makers will need to be convinced that scientific research
in the social sciences is more useful and better than intuition in setting
public policy. Dr. Greenwood noted that the name selected for the initiative
will be important in gathering support from the community outside NSF.
Dr. Robert Richardson stated that the Federal agencies that have large
databases may not be used to academic analysis and publication and may
need to be convinced to cooperate.
AGENDA ITEM 15: NSB Report: NSF International Activities
Dr. Armstrong reported on behalf of Dr. Diana Natalicio, chair of the
Task Force on International Issues in Science and Engineering. The interim
report for the new Administration, "Toward a More Effective U.S.
Role in International Science and Engineering" (NSB-00-206), was
approved by the Executive Committee on
The task force was now recommending NSB approval of a second report,
"Toward a More Effective NSF Role in International Science and Engineering"
Dr. Kelly noted that Board approval of this interim report is needed for
budget planning and to start programmatic activities. Later the report
will be broadened to include a full literature review and other elements.
After approval, the interim report will be posted on the NSB website.
The Board APPROVED the interim report on NSF's role in international
science and engineering.
Dr. Armstrong noted that the task force was greatly aided by the expert
assistance of its executive secretary, Dr. Alan Rapoport.
ADENDA ITEM 16: Committee Reports
| [The Chairman called for committee, subcommittee,
and task force reports in the following order, to accommodate travel
a. Executive Committee (EC)
| Dr. Colwell reported that during its teleconference
on November 22, the committee approved the draft report "Toward
a More Effective U.S. Role in International Science and Engineering."
The committee also approved, subject to final edits under the authority
of the NSB Chair, the NSB management response to the Inspector General's
Semiannual Report to Congress.
b. Task Force on International Issues in Science and Engineering
| Dr. Armstrong, on behalf of Dr. Natalicio, reported
that the task force met with Dr. Norman Neureiter, the new Science
and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State, and his deputy.
Dr. Neureiter welcomes interactions with the Board and Foundation
and has received strong support from the scientific community.
c. Committee on Programs and Plans (CPP)
| Dr. Armstrong, committee chair, reported that the
committee heard a presentation on NSF's planning for scientific ocean
drilling after present international agreements end in 2003. As specific
plans develop, they will be brought before CPP and the Board. The
committee also heard a report on the external review of the management
of Associated Universities for Research in Astronomy. As part of its
periodic updates on environmental activities, the committee heard
from Dr. Margaret Leinen, Assistant Director, Directorate for Geosciences,
on recent progress. The committee endorsed the work plan and schedule
presented by the Task Force on Science and Engineering Infrastructure.
CPP Subcommittee on Polar Issues (PI)
| Dr. Warren Washington, chair, reported that the
subcommittee received information on climate system science, origins
of the universe, polar ecosystems, the impact of global climate change,
and icebergs from the Ross Ice Shelf. The subcommittee also received
a report on the Joint Global Ocean Flux study, a biological, chemical,
and physical study of the carbon cycle in the Southern Ocean. Dr.
Washington reported that the Navy will no longer monitor the thickness
of the Arctic sea ice; automatic remote vehicles are being developed
to perform that important monitoring. The subcommittee also heard
about issues at the South Pole, including improved health and safety.
CPP Task Force on Science and Engineering Infrastructure (INF)
| Dr. John White, chair, reported that the task force
will focus on infrastructure linked to NSF support: academia, national
laboratories, Federally funded research and development centers, and
private industry. For some fields, it would include infrastructure
in other countries. The work plan has four tasks: to assess the current
infrastructure using readily available information; to identify the
information gaps that exist and recommend plans for filling those
gaps; to focus on both traditional and new and emerging infrastructure;
and to assess the current policy and management framework. The task
force proposes to complete its work in mid 2002.
d. Audit and Oversight Committee (A&O)
| Dr. Jaskolski, chair, reported that Mr. Tim Cross,
newly appointed as Deputy Inspector General, was introduced to the
committee. Mr. Thomas Cooley, Director, Office of Budget, Finance
and Award Management, reported on NSF pro-active compliance issues,
such as facilities management, management of large projects, cost-sharing,
and risk assessment. Mr. Cooley also reported on the Management Control
Committee's work on the Federal Managers Financial Integrity Act.
Ms. Linda Massaro, Director, Office of Information and Resource Management,
reported on the recent chartering of an NSF Business and Operations
Advisory Committee to advise the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief
Information Officer. The committee received a report on electronic
signatures and steps being taken to make the proposal and award process
paperless, as well as an update on NSF financial statements and audits
and Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) activities. In a
supervisory session, Dr. Christine Boesz, Inspector General, discussed
the management challenges letter that she was requested to prepare
for the Senate Committee on Government Affairs.
e. Committee on Education and Human Resources (EHR)
| Dr. Suzuki, chair, reported that the committee recommended
approval of the Doctoral Data Project, which was presented in Closed
Session. The committee approved the work plan and schedule presented
by the Task Force on National Workforce Policies for Science and Engineering.
The majority of the committee meeting was devoted to a discussion
of the NSF niche in K-16 education and plans for completing a report
on associated policy issues. Ms. Clara Tolbert and Dr. Karl Pister,
consultants to the GPRA subcommittee and the EHR Advisory Committee,
summarized what they saw as the key issues raised in previous discussions.
Dr. Judy Sunley, interim assistant director, EHR Directorate, described
the set of principles that set the context for defining the NSF niche
and her view of key issues. Dr. Susan Millar, a member of the EHR
Advisory Committee, offered her perspective on how NSF could more
effectively transfer project results to practitioners. The subsequent
discussion ranged from the leveraging of NSF's limited dollars to
the role of pedagogy in institutions of higher education. A proposed
outline for the committee's report was approved, and the committee
intends to submit its report to the Board at the March meeting.
EHR Subcommittee on Science and Engineering Indicators (S&EI)
| Dr. Tapia, chair, reported that the subcommittee
approved four revised chapter outlines and directed Science Resources
Studies staff to proceed with drafting. All eight chapter outlines
have now been approved. These of special concern are the chapters
on the workforce and K-12 education. Draft chapters will be available
for Board review no later than April and May 2001, at the rate of
two chapters per week. Looking ahead to the 2004 Indicators, Dr. Rolf
Lehming, Program Director, Integrated Studies Program, will provide
a work plan for a new chapter on the environment for discussion in
EHR Task Force on National Workforce Policies for Science and
| Dr. Suzuki reported for Dr. Joseph Miller, chair,
that the task force agreed to focus on issues for which there is a
sound empirical base. Three core issues are (1) immigration and graduate
training, (2) math and science teachers, and (3) continuous skill
and knowledge development. A day-long briefing of the task force is
tentatively scheduled for January 30 on various workforce-relevant
databases and gaps in knowledge.
f. Committee on Science and Engineering Policy Issues (SPI)
| Dr. Kelly, chair, reported that Mr. Frank Cushing,
chief of staff of the House Appropriations Committee, met with the
committee to discuss the process for producing the Federal research
budget and the need for scientific input to inform Congressional allocation
decisions. The committee then worked toward consensus on a mechanism
for scientific input into allocation decisions. A revised draft document
will be prepared to reflect committee discussion, and it will be circulated
to the committee for comment, then to the entire Board for comment
in advance of the NSB policy symposium on January 31 and February
g. Task Force on the NSB's 50th Anniversary
Dr. Vera Rubin, chair, summarized the task force's activities throughout
the 50th anniversary year: cosponsoring JumpStart 2000, a student
team competition, with Parade and react magazines and the
White House; naming an asteroid Scientia in cooperation with its
discoverers; producing the Board's commemorative booklet, The National
Science Board: History and Highlights, 1950-2000; and organizing the
gala dinner held on December 12. Dr. Rubin thanked Dr. Kelly for his support,
members of the task force (Drs. Jane Lubchenco, Tapia, Washington, Sandy
Greenberg and Eve Menger), and a number of NSF and Board staff: Dr. Marta
Cehelsky, Dr. Daryl Chubin, and Ms. Susan Fannoney of the Board Office;
Ms. Susan Mason, Ms. Janell Richardson, Mr. William Line, and Mr. Michael
Sieverts of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs; Mr. James Caras
and Mr. Chris Gordon of Administrative Services.
Dr. Kelly thanked Dr. Rubin for her leadership of the 50th
AGENDA ITEM 17: Other Business
After thanking the many NSF staff members who helped prepare for the
Dr. Kelly adjourned the Open Session at 3:50 p.m.
Janice E. Baker
1 The minutes of the December 2000 meeting were approved at the 362nd meeting, March 15, 2001.
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