News Release

National Science Board to meet virtually December 9 - 10, 2020

Highlights include the effects of COVID-19 on women in STEM, broader impacts of S&E, and a session celebrating the 2020 Vannevar Bush, Public Service, and Waterman awardees, hosted by Vint Cerf

2020, Public Service, Vannevar Bush, Waterman awardees

2020, Public Service, Vannevar Bush, Waterman awardees (Credit and Larger Version)

December 4, 2020


The National Science Board (NSB) will meet virtually December 9 - 10, 2020 to address science and engineering policy issues relevant to the National Science Foundation (NSF). The public meeting agenda is available here.

Open meeting sessions will be livestreamed via YouTube. Links for each meeting day are below.


 WEDNESDAY, December 9, 2020

Livestream YouTube link:


NSB Plenary (11:00 AM – 2:10 PM)

During the plenary session, between approximately 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM, NSB External Engagement Committee Chair Geraldine “Geri” Richmond will host a panel that highlights data on the impacts of COVID-19 on women in STEM. Invited speakers will address boundary management, tenure clocks, research productivity, differential impacts on women by institutional type and by race and ethnicity, along with other measures of the effects of the pandemic on women in the S&E ecosystem. Paid family leave and how it would strengthen the STEM workforce will also be discussed. 

Following the panel, NSF Assistant Director Dawn Tilbury will discuss NSF’s planning and response to the pandemic crisis.

Additionally, NSB’s Vision Implementation Working Group will provide an update.


Committee on Oversight (2:10 – 3:25 PM)

The Committee will approve NSB’s overview to the Merit Review Digest for full Board consideration.

Broader Impacts (BI) experts will talk with the Board about how BI is evaluated in NSF’s merit review process and how BI impacts may be measured.

The Inspector General and NSF’s Chief Financial Officer will update the Committee on recent activities.


Committee on Science and Engineering Policy (3:45 – 4:35 PM)

Agenda items include a status report on progress of Science & Engineering Indicators 2022, an update on the impacts of COVID-19 on data used in Indicators, and proposals for near-term policy products.


Committee on Awards and Facilities (4:35 – 4:45 PM)

The Committee will give an update on plans for oversight of NSF’s Mid-scale Research Infrastructure Program.


National Science Board Plenary (5:00 – 6:30 PM)

Each year, NSF and NSB recognize innovative research, public service, and extraordinary scientific achievements through the NSF Waterman Award, the NSB Vannever Bush Award and the NSB Public Service Award. This year’s five awardees will participate in a special panel discussion hosted by former NSB member and Google VP and Chief Internet Evangelist Vinton Cerf. The discussion will address the value of science for public benefit and the importance of diversity, public-private collaboration, and entrepreneurship and explore what the future of science in the U.S. may look like and how can we learn from our collective past. 

The session will start with NSB Chair Ellen Ochoa and NSF Director Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan introducing two short awards videos celebrating the 2020 winners.


THURSDAY, December 10, 2020

Livestream YouTube link:


National Science Board Plenary (11:00 – 11:30 AM)

The Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE) will brief the Board on its work to broaden participation across the U.S. STEM enterprise.


Committee on Strategy (11:30 AM – 1:40 PM)

Agenda items include an update on NSF’s fiscal year 2021 appropriation and an overview of the process for developing the agency’s next strategic plan. In addition, NSF senior leaders will discuss with the Committee a visioning report by NSF’s Education and Human Resources Directorate’s Advisory Committee, as well as agency planning in the areas of translation, innovation and partnerships and the STEM workforce, including addressing the “Missing Millions” of underrepresented groups.


Committee on External Engagement (5:45 – 6:25 PM)

The Committee will bring forward for Board discussion its recommendations for NSB engagement with Congress, a potential state listening session, and communicating about Vision 2030 with key audiences.


National Science Board Plenary (6:25 – 6:45 PM)

The Board will hear open committee reports and vote on NSB’s overview of the Merit Review Digest. In addition, NSF Director Panchanathan will give updates on senior personnel. 


Closed Sessions

The Committee on Strategy will receive an update on and discuss the development of NSF’s fiscal year 2022 budget request. It will also continue discussion of with NSF senior leaders about plans to address translation, innovation and partnerships and the STEM workforce, including the “Missing Millions” of underrepresented groups.

The Committee on Awards and Facilities will discuss a written update on the Regional Class Research Vessel project and the annual report from the Chief Officer for Research Facilities on NSF-funded research infrastructure. The agenda also includes an update on the Arecibo Observatory.

During Executive Plenary, the Board will discuss and vote on the recommendations of the Honorary Awards Subcommittee for the 2021 NSB Honorary awardees. 



About the National Science Board

The NSB and NSF’s Director jointly head the agency. The Board identifies issues critical to NSF's future and establishes its policies. The NSB also provides the President and Congress with Science and Engineering Indicators, a biennial report on U.S. progress in science and technology. Members are appointed by the President for six-year terms and are selected for their eminence in research, education and records of distinguished service.


Media Contact: Nadine Lymn, National Science Board, (703) 292-2490,

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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