February 20, 2004
SUBJECT: Summary Report of February 5, 2004 Meeting
The major actions of the Board at its 378th meeting on February 5, 2004 are summarized for the information of those members absent and as a reminder to those present. In addition, a preliminary summary of the proceedings is provided.
This memorandum will be made publicly available for any other interested parties to review. A more comprehensive set of NSB meeting minutes will be posted on the Board’s public Website following Board approval at its next meeting.
1. Major Actions of the Board (not in rank order of importance)
a) The Board approved the minutes for the Open Plenary Session (http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/meetings/past.jsp#2003) and Closed Plenary Session of the November 2003 meeting of the NSB.
b) The Board approved the establishment of a Committee on Programs and Plans (CPP) Task Force on Long-lived Data Collections (LLDC), and a Charter for the Task Force (NSB-04-19, Attachment 1).
c) Dr. Washington announced the establishment of two ad hoc committees:
i. Ad hoc Committee on the 2004 Vannevar Bush Award, with Dr. Ray Bowen as Chair, Drs. Steven Beering, Nina Fedoroff, Daniel Hastings, and Maxine Savitz as members, and Mrs. Susan Fannoney as Executive Secretary;
ii. Ad hoc Committee on NSB Nominations for the Class of 2008-2014 with Dr. Mark Wrighton as Chair, and Drs. Barry Barish, Kenneth Ford, Diana Natalicio, Douglas Randall and Daniel Simberloff as members. Dr. Michael Crosby, NSB Executive Officer, will serve as liaison to the White House, and Mrs. Susan Fannoney will serve as Executive Secretary to the ad hoc committee.
d) The Board approved a resolution to close portions of the upcoming March 24-25, 2004, NSB meeting dealing with staff appointments, future budgets, pending proposals/awards for specific grants, contracts, or other arrangements, and those portions dealing with specific Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigations and enforcement actions, or agency audit guidelines (NSB-04-12) (Attachment 2).
2. NSB Chair’s Report
The Chairman thanked Dr. Scott Cowen, President of Tulane University, and Dr. Norman Francis, President of Xavier University for hosting the NSB during their time in New Orleans, and stated that the Board was very pleased to be able to hold its meeting at the historic institute of higher education, Xavier University. He noted that during an early morning breakfast with the two presidents, the Board heard an excellent overview of the unique partnerships between these two universities that are great examples of innovative approaches to develop joint research and academic projects that benefit the students of both small HBCU undergraduate teaching institutions and larger research intensive universities. The Board was especially pleased to be able to meet and talk to some of the very impressive students who are at the core of these partnership efforts. The Chair then acknowledged the presence of Dr. Francis at the meeting and asked if he would like to address the Board. Dr. Francis welcomed the Board to Xavier University.
Dr. Washington also thanked Dr. and Mrs. Cowen for the delightful reception that they hosted for the Board in their home the previous evening. He also thanked Dr. Joseph Savoie, the Louisiana State Commissioner for Higher Education, who joined the Board for dinner the previous night and provided an interesting overview of the priorities of science and engineering research and education in Louisiana.
The Chair stated that a day earlier the Board had the opportunity to visit the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory (LIGO) in Livingston, Louisiana. On behalf of the Board, he thanked Dr. Barry Barish, a member of the NSB, Dr. Michael Turner, Assistant Director for the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate at NSF, and the principal investigators and staff of LIGO who all did a wonderful job in preparing for and presenting the overview during the visit to the LIGO facilities. He went on to say that the Board learned a great deal during their visit.
3. NSF Director’s Report
The Director noted that on January 24 the President signed into law the Omnibus Appropriation Act of 2003, which included funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) for FY 2004. She announced that the FY 2005 budget released on February 2 provided for an overall increase to NSF of three percent. The NSF, along with the Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Science & Technology Policy will testify before the House Science Committee on February 11. The Senate independent agency agencies appropriation hearing is scheduled for February 26.
4. Presentations and Reports to the Board
a. Presentation on NSF and NSB Policies for Funding of
At the November 2003 Board Meeting, the NSB chair requested that Mr. Larry Rudolph (NSF General Counsel) and Dr. Crosby work together to identify any Board or Foundation policies regarding NSF funding of federal researchers. He also asked for an overview of recent legislation that may impact NSF in this regard. Subsequently, Mr. Rudolph and Dr. Crosby mutually agreed that the General Counsel’s office would take the lead for this effort. Mr. Rudolph provided the Board with an overview of these policies, practices and legislation. Focal issues in this regard are inconsistencies in NSF program staff application of existing policies regarding grant applications from Smithsonian Institution researchers and recent legislation language pertaining to Smithsonian Institution researchers’ eligibility for NSF grant funds. The Board requested that Mr. Rudolph seek to resolve these issues with appropriate representatives of the Smithsonian Institution.
b. Report on visit of Board Members to Antarctica
Drs. Barry Barish and Luis Sequeira recently traveled to the Antarctic to visit the NSF facilities there. They noted that Scott Borg served as their program leader and did an exceptional job. Both Board Members were impressed by the complexity of the operations and infrastructure of the NSF South Pole Program, and how effective implementation was at every level.
c. Report on visit of a Board Member to the O’Donnell
Dr. Jo Anne Vasquez recently visited the O’Donnell Education Foundation in Texas to learn more about their involvement in the science education Advance Placement Incentive Programs in Texas middle schools. She explained that the program is based on monetary incentives to both teachers and students via bonuses and scholarships. It is a partnership program between the Foundation, the school districts and businesses that has spread to 28 Texas school districts. One school district alone has been awarded $7M in scholarships. Dr. Vasquez will provide each Board Member with more details of the program after the meeting by E-mail.
5. NSB Committees Summary Reports
(Committee summaries are provided by executive secretaries.)
a. Executive Committee (EC)
The Executive Committee met in open session on Thursday, February 5. Dr. Colwell called for, and received, unanimous approval of the minutes from the November 19, 2003 meeting of the Executive Committee. No further items were discussed in open session. Future budgets were discussed in closed session.
b. Audit and Oversight (A&O)
[Although A&O did not hold a committee meeting during this NSB meeting, Dr. Washington asked Dr. Wrighton to update the Board on the NAPA report].
Dr. Wrighton reminded the Board that as part of the FY 2003 NSF appropriation, the Congress called for a review of NSF’s organizational, programmatic, and personnel structures to assure that the agency is positioned to maximize opportunities that may accrue from future increased funding. The National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) was identified as the institution to conduct this study and provide a report to the Congress. The A&O Committee has been charge by the NSB Chair with formulating a response to the NAPA report. Dr. Wrighton provided the following summary of the status of the NAPA report and the Board’s review of the report.
The NAPA study addresses the following four sets of issues and questions and makes recommendations for changes where appropriate: 1) Organization and Program Structure, 2) Investigator Initiated vs. NSF Priority Research, 3) Role of the NSB, and 4) Rotator Employees in Management Positions.
NAPA has previously provided a December 2003 draft report to the National Science Board Office with a request to compile and provide any comments Board Members may have specific to the section on the Role of the NSB. The draft report identifies three possible changes that could make the NSB more operationally effective and efficient as it addresses the challenges of a growing and changing NSF. They are: 1) Reduce the current ambiguity and conflict in the NSB role, 2) Establish appropriate guidelines for applying the Sunshine Act, and 3) Maximize the positive impact of the Office of the Inspector General.
The NSB Executive Officer provided comments to NAPA based on informal input that he received from a number of Board Members after they had an opportunity to review the draft report section of the NSB. There was clear consensus in all of the input that was provided to Dr. Crosby, and all Board Members did have an opportunity to read the draft report. However, he was clear in his transmittal to NAPA that it would be inappropriate for one to view this as an “official statement” of the Board as the input was informal, and not all Board Members provided comments.
The next revision of the NAPA report was provided to the Board’s Office at the end of January 2004, and Board Members have been provided copies for review. The January NAPA report re-states the three possible changes that could make the NSB more operationally effective and efficient as it addresses the challenges of a growing and changing NSF.
As the NAPA report is still considered in an embargoed status and not for public distribution, it would not be appropriate for the Board to discuss specifics of the draft report in public. However, Dr. Wrighton suggested that members who wish to do so should provide their comments to the NSB Executive Officer, who will then compile all individual comments into a single correspondence to NAPA. The Board concurred with this suggestion. As with previous Board input to NAPA, Dr. Crosby will make the point that this input should not be considered an official Board position.
NAPA will be providing the Board with a final version of the report
in early March with a request for an official response by the Board
that will be included with the final printed version of the report.
The final NAPA report will be released to the public sometime in
c. Programs and Plans (CPP)
CPP met in open session February 5. Minutes were approved from the November meeting and from the teleconference on January 23. The committee heard a status report on Long-lived Data Collections (LLDC), presented by Dr. Jones, and reviewed a charter for an LLDC Task Force. The charter was approved to send to the full Board.
The committee also heard a status report on high-risk research, presented by Dr. Fedoroff. The ad hoc Task Group on High Risk Research is organizing an NSB-sponsored Workshop on New Approaches to NSF Support for Innovative Research to be held in late summer/early fall 2004. The final output from the workshop will be a compilation of contributions by participants and recommendations developed during the workshop for new approaches to identifying and supporting innovative research within the NSF framework, as well as methods for evaluating the success rate.
Finally, the committee discussed the National Academies (NRC) report, Setting Priorities for NSF-Sponsored Large Research Facility Projects. Drs. Jones, Barish and Ford will collaborate on a draft white paper intended to capture fundamental ideas regarding the NRC Priority Setting report and present it to CPP by the March meeting.
d. Education and Human Resources (EHR)
Chairman George Langford reported on continued attention in the media and elsewhere for the Board’s policy report, The Science and Engineering Workforce / Realizing America’s Potential (NSB 03-69). He called on Dr. Michael Crosby, NSB Executive Officer, who reported on his participation in an Office of Science and Technology Policy/Sloan Foundation sponsored workshop December 11-12, 2003 exploring science and engineering workforce data issues. A standard PowerPoint presentation and script on the Board’s report will be sent to all NSB members.
Dr. Langford called on Dr. Ramaley to make a presentation on NSF support for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). Dr. Ramaley noted that expanding participation in S&E for minority students involves three things: support for individuals, support for institutions, and support for alliances and collaborations. There are three categories of minority serving institutions. There are currently 242 Hispanic Serving Institutions, comprised of all institutions with a 25% enrollment of students who report themselves as Hispanic. There is a fixed set of 109 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). HBCUs were established by legislation in 1890. Tribal colleges and universities are known as TCUs. Most of the 28 institutions in this category are community colleges.
Dr. Ramaley reported that NSF support to MSIs is growing. However, tracking students who participate in NSF-funded programs is a very difficult problem that NSF is trying to address. She also pointed out the important role of majority institutions as well, some of which have been very successful in graduating minorities in science and engineering fields.
The report on the Broadening Participation Workshop, held in August 2003, was distributed to all members in attendance. The focus of the workshop was on the discrepancy between rising minority enrollments in Research I and liberal arts colleges and the share of minority faculty at these institutions. Members noted in particular that the problems in increasing minority faculty include both the small pool of minority PhDs and the lack of interest of minority PhDs in the positions in research institutions for which they are eligible. Dr. Langford offered to draft a recommendation for circulation to the Board based on the results of the workshop report and member comments at the committee meeting.
In response to the President’s FY2005 budget request to move
the Mathematics and Science Partnerships funding from NSF to the
Department of Education, members requested that the EHR Committee
draft a letter to OSTP, OMB and Congress for circulation to the
Board opposing the proposed move.
e. Committee on Strategy and Budget (CSB)
Dr. Maxine Savitz described a series of meetings to discuss the Board’s Section 22 Report that she, Dr. Washington, and Dr. Crosby held with staff from OSTP, OMB, and relevant House and Senate committees on January 26, 2004. These meetings were well attended, positive, and productive. Attendees felt that the NSB report provides a useful broad roadmap for NSF and that it should be widely distributed. The report is on the NSB website http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/documents/2003/nsb03151/coverlink.pdf and a press release has been issued http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=100329.
There was some discussion with congressional staff about whether, and how often, the Board should conduct a similar review of the NSF budget; suggestions ranged from 2 to 5 year intervals. Questions raised during the meetings with congressional staff included: What scientific questions and outcomes are being addressed by increases in program funding? What are the priorities across and within each of the recommended six areas of unmet funding needs? How will NSB respond to the NRC facilities report? What are the new frontiers in research and education?
Although congressional staff were in general agreement that NSF grants were not large enough or long enough, on average, concern was expressed about the “mortgage” problem in the event that budgets do not grow as quickly as expected. There was widespread support for increasing NSF staff to provide adequate oversight for the anticipated budget growth.
Dr. Savitz invited Board Members to suggest items for CSB attention
in 2004. Several items were identified for discussion at the March
CSB meeting: setting research and facility priorities, identifying
new initiatives, understanding alternative scenarios for award size
and duration, preparing NSB’s response to the NRC report,
and planning for discussion of NSF’s FY 2006 budget development.
In preparation for the March meeting, Dr. Savitz requested information from NSF on several items: reasons for recent increases in the number of proposals, potential impacts of various award size and duration options, lessons from other agency’s experiences, and contingency planning for different budget scenarios.
In conclusion, Dr. Savitz noted that the Hill staff very much appreciated personal visits and strongly urged other Board Members to work with Dr. Crosby to arrange meetings with staff when they have the opportunity.
Attachment 1: NSB-04-19
Attachment 2: NSB-04-12
Attachment 1 to NSB-04-16
January 22, 2004
MEMORANDUM TO MEMBERS AND CONSULTANTS OF THE NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD
Subject: Closed Session Agenda Items for March 24-25, 2004 Meeting
The Government in the Sunshine Act requires formal action on closing
portions of each Board meeting. The following are the closed session
agenda items anticipated for the
March 24-25, 2004 meeting.
1. Staff appointments
2. Future budgets
3. Grants and contracts
4. Specific Office of Inspector General investigations and enforcement actions
A Proposed resolution and the General Counsel's certification for closing these portions of the meetings are attached for your consideration.
TO CLOSE PORTIONS OF
NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD
RESOLVED: That the following portions of the meeting of the National Science Board (NSB) scheduled for March 24, 25, 2004 shall be closed to the public.
1. Those portions having to do with discussions regarding nominees for appointments as National Science Board Members and National Science Foundation (NSF) staff appointments, or with specific staffing or personnel issues involving identifiable individuals. An open meeting on these subjects would be likely to constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
2. Those portions having to do with future budgets not yet submitted by the President to the Congress.
3. Those portions having to do with proposals and awards for specific grants, contracts, or other arrangements. An open meeting on those portions would be likely to disclose personal information and constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy. It would also be likely to disclose research plans and other related information that are trade secrets, and commercial or financial information obtained from a person that are privileged or confidential. An open meeting would also prematurely disclose the position of the NSF on the proposals in question before final negotiations and any determination by the Director to make the awards and so would be likely to frustrate significantly the implementation of the proposed Foundation action.
4. Those portions having to do with specific Office of the Inspector General investigations and enforcement actions, or agency audit guidelines.
The Board finds that any public interest in an open discussion
of these items is outweighed by protection of the interests asserted
for closing the items.
It is my opinion that portions of the meeting of the National Science Board (NSB) or its subdivisions scheduled for March 24-25, 2004 having to do with nominees for appointments as NSB members and National Science Foundation (NSF) staff, or with specific staffing or personnel issues or actions, may properly be closed to the public under 5 U.S.C. § 552b(c) (2) and (6); those portions having to do with future budgets may properly be closed to the public under 5 U.S.C. § 552b(c) (3) and 42 U.S.C. 1863(k); those portions having to do with proposals and awards for specific grants, contracts, or other arrangements may properly be closed to the public under 5 U.S.C. § 552b(c) (4), (6), and (9) (B); those portions disclosure of which would risk the circumvention of a statute or agency regulation under 5 U.S.C. § 552b(c) (2); and those portions having to do with specific Office of the Inspector General investigations and enforcement actions may properly be closed to the public under 5 U.S.C. § 552b(c) (5), (7) and (10).
National Science Foundation
Attachment 2 to NSB-04-16
February 5, 2004
Charter for the Long-lived Data Collection Task Force
Data collections, particularly digital data collections for research, have been increasing in number and size over the past couple of decades. They range from small single investigator collections to very large collections whose content is derived from instruments housed in large facilities. Over this same period, the National Science Foundation (NSF) obligations for support for both data collection and curation has been increasing.
The Foundation differs from agencies, such as NASA, NOAA, and the Department of Energy. Typically, their strategy is for the agency to own and manage the collections. As a consequence, they own and manage many fewer independent collections than the NSF supports. With ownership comes agency control for data format standards and access policies. The Foundation does not typically maintain data collections itself. It is individual researchers, consortia, and organizations that develop and maintain large facilities that manage the collections. This has resulted in a proliferation of data collections, large and small, across all disciplines. There is divergence in formats, access policies, and in quality.
It is timely to consider the policy ramifications of this rapid growth of data collections in the NSF-supported community. This National Science Board Task Force will address the policy issues directly relevant to the NSF’s style of data collection support. These policy issues and questions include:
The objective of this National Science Board task force is to delineate the policy issues relevant to the National Science Foundation and its style and culture of supporting the collection and curation of research data. For those issues where guidance to the Foundation is appropriate, the task force should make recommendations for the National Science Board and the community to consider.
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