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Part III • Management Goals and Results for FY 1999

NSF’s management goals address the Foundation’s administrative, operations, and policy issues. In the GPRA Strategic Plan, the Foundation articulates four critical factors in managing for excellence that provide the framework for the annual performance goals for management. These are: (1) operating a viable, credible merit review system; (2) exemplary use of and broad access to new and emerging technologies; (3) a diverse, capable, motivated staff that operates with integrity; and (4) implementation of mandated performance assessment and management reforms in line with agency needs.

NSF’s five management goals for FY 1999 address a diverse set of issues that deal with how we do business – FastLane and the Project Reporting System; staff diversity; staff training; and Y2K compliance. Of NSF’s five management goals, three were fully achieved.


Summary of Results:
FY 1999 Management Goals
Goals Achieved:
Goals Not Achieved:

Management Goal 1 – FastLane Proposals
NSF will receive and process at least 25% of full proposal submissions electronically through FastLane.
Percent of Proposals Submitted Electronically Through FastLaneResults: NSF exceeded this goal. FastLane is a collection of system modules that streamline and reengineer all of the Foundation’s interactions with the research community. Under development since 1994, the goal is to provide a paperless environment by the end of FY 2001. In FY 1999, 44% of full proposal submissions were received through FastLane, far exceeding NSF’s goal of 25%. During the year NSF pursued an aggressive outreach strategy with the research and education community to educate them on the use and advantages of FastLane, and an external Helpdesk was established to assist our external customers. In light of NSF’s success with FastLane, the FY 2000 target will be increased significantly.
Management Goal 2 – Staff Diversity

In FY 1999, as all appointments for scientists and engineers are considered, the recruiting organization will demonstrate efforts to attract applications from groups that are underrepresented in the science and engineering staff as compared to their representation among Ph.D. holders in their fields.

Results: This goal was achieved. NSF is committed to diversifying its staff of scientists and engineers both in permanent positions and in the important rotating positions. In order to ensure that the United States maintains its world leadership role in science and technology, the nation must maintain in the present, as well as ensure for the future, a premiere cadre of scientists, mathematicians and engineers by tapping into all sectors of society. In FY 1999, NSF hired a total of 61 scientists and engineers. A wide variety of strategies were utilized to increase the diversity of the applicant pool. This included participation in job fairs targeted to underrepresented groups, mailing vacancy announcements to publications and institutions predominately serving underrepresented groups, and direct networking on the part of NSF staff. NSF developed a system for collecting information on applicant diversity through the use of a voluntary background survey of applicants as a way to measure this goal. The low rate of return and the voluntary nature of this effort resulted in data that was of little value to the agency. NSF management is currently working to develop more useful performance indicators for the coming year.
Management Goal 3 – FastLane Training
By the end of FY 1999, all staff will receive an orientation to FastLane, and at least 95% of program and program support staff will receive practice in using its key modules.
Percent of Staff Receiving FastLane Orientation and TrainingResults: This goal was not achieved, although NSF made notable progress towards the achievement of this goal. In order for NSF to successfully implement new business systems, particularly systems like FastLane, it is important that all staff be oriented and properly trained. For FY 1999, 80% of all employees received an orientation to FastLane and 43% of program and program support staff received practice using key modules. Because neither the orientation nor training targets were met in FY 1999, they will be included in NSF’s FY 2000 Performance Plan and staff will be strongly encouraged to attend orientation and training sessions. The most common reason for not attending orientation and training classes was scheduling conflicts. In FY 2000, the number of class offerings will be increased to ensure that the goal is met.
Management Goal 4 – Year 2000 Compliance
NSF will complete all activities needed to address the Year 2000 problem for its information systems according to plan, on schedule and within budget, during FY 1999.
Results: This goal was achieved ahead of schedule. Among the activities undertaken in preparation for Y2K were: (1) Having an independent contractor perform an independent validation and verification of application programs. This activity was completed during Spring 1999. (2) Having an independent contractor provide an evaluation of each line of code for potential Year 2000 problems. All Division of Information System application codes were run through this software and identified problems were corrected. A minor correction was made at the beginning of FY 2000 in October, 1999. In January, 2000 all systems operated smoothly.
Management Goal 5 – Project Reporting
During FY 1999, at least 70% of all project reports will be submitted through the new Project Reporting System.

Percent of Project Reports Submitted Through the Project Reporting SystemResults: This goal was not achieved. The implementation of the new Reporting System is part of the effort by NSF to use advanced technology to create a more efficient, paperless work environment, in which information transmitted between the Foundation and its research and education customer community is done electronically via the Internet. FY 1999 was a transition year for the reporting system. NSF allowed PIs to submit project reports using the old paper report forms for the first three months of the fiscal year. In addition, a paper version of the new electronic reporting format was provided to PIs who could not access the electronic system. We believe the submission rate of 59% to be excellent for a transition year. Based on feedback received throughout the year, modifications to the system have been made. NSF will continue to enhance the system based on user feedback and policy changes. In FY 2000, this performance goal has been revised: During FY 2000, 85% of all project reports will be submitted through the new Project Reporting System.

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