am very pleased to begin my Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) assignment
(on loan from the University of Rhode Island) as the new Division Director.
It is a very challenging position, and my predecessor, Mike Purdy, set
a high mark for accomplishment. On behalf of the ocean community, I
thank Mike, and Interim Director Don Heinrichs, for their strong leadership
of the Division and for their contributions to its growth and success
during the past six years.
Oceanographers need also to acknowledge Dr. Rita Colwells hard
work within the Administration and with Congress to focus attention
on the importance of basic research. Following a budget increase of
about 15% in FY2001, NSF will receive an increase close to 8.4% in FY2002.
The latter is remarkable growth, particularly under present economic
and national security circumstances and attests to the strong support
for science and science education we enjoy in our nation.
One way that ocean science receives additional funding is through
agency-wide priority areas such as Biocomplexity in the Environment
(BE) and Information Technology Research (ITR). These initiatives have
separate program announcements with themes and priorities determined
in part by community input. Watch for these program announcements, and
please consider participating in the planning workshops that determine
program priorities. Other new programs include Opportunities for Research
Collaborations Between the Mathematical Sciences and the Geosciences,
the Integrated Carbon Cycle Research Program, and Centers for Ocean
Science Education Excellence.
The Division is actively pursuing several major infrastructure projects
that will help prepare ocean sciences for the future. First, the Ocean
Observatories Initiative received National Science Board (NSB) approval
for consideration for inclusion in a future budget request within NSFs
Major Research Equipment (MRE) account. The concept for the Initiative
has three elements: a regional observatory consisting of interconnected
sites on the seafloor, several re-locatable deep-sea observatories based
around a system of buoys, and an expanded network of coastal observatories.
Second, NSF has worked closely with other members of the Federal Oceanographic
Facilities Committee (FOFC) and with the broader community to develop
a long-range renewal plan for the academic research fleet. It is an
ambitious plan that calls for a mixture of new global, ocean, regional
and local class ships over the next two decades to replace an aging
academic research fleet. Providing the funds to implement the plan will
require close coordination and cooperation among NSF, ONR and other
federal agencies. Finally, NSF is working with the Japanese and other
international partners to begin a new phase of ocean drilling that will
involve two dedicated drill ships, as well as other mission-specific
platforms. The Japanese will provide one of the new ships, and NSF plans
to provide the other.
If support for basic research, and the infrastructure necessary for
its conduct, is to remain strong, we must make both the public and policymakers
aware of the exciting results generated by NSF-funded investigators.
Over the coming months, we intend to highlight the results of OCE investments
as well as their potential relevance to issues of national interest.
To help us in this endeavor, please have your public affairs office
contact me before they release major publications or announcements of
a significant finding stemming from OCE-funded research. The NSF Office
of Legislative and Public Affairs believes that simultaneous press releases
yield maximum coverage. In addition, NSF was recently asked to consider
how basic research contributes to national security, including homeland
defense. We are interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic and
will consider financial support for innovative projects, workshops,
etc., that we believe could make a significant contribution.
I look forward to working with you for the next two years.
The National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA
Tel: (703) 292-5111, FIRS: (800) 877-8339 | TDD: (800) 281-8749