SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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THE NSF BUDGET: HOW SHOULD
WE DETERMINE FUTURE LEVELS?
SUBCOMMITTEE ON RESEARCH
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
MARCH 13, 2002
Serial No. 10762
Printed for the use of the Committee on Science
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/science
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HON. SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York, Chairman
LAMAR S. SMITH, Texas
CONSTANCE A. MORELLA, Maryland
CHRISTOPHER SHAYS, Connecticut
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
JOE BARTON, Texas
KEN CALVERT, California
NICK SMITH, Michigan
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
DAVE WELDON, Florida
GIL GUTKNECHT, Minnesota
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
GEORGE R. NETHERCUTT, JR., Washington
FRANK D. LUCAS, Oklahoma
GARY G. MILLER, California
JUDY BIGGERT, Illinois
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFELIX J. GRUCCI, JR., New York
MELISSA A. HART, Pennsylvania
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
RALPH M. HALL, Texas
BART GORDON, Tennessee
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
LYNN C. WOOLSEY, California
LYNN N. RIVERS, Michigan
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
BOB ETHERIDGE, North Carolina
NICK LAMPSON, Texas
JOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
MARK UDALL, Colorado
DAVID WU, Oregon
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
BRIAN BAIRD, Washington
JOSEPH M. HOEFFEL, Pennsylvania
JOE BACA, California
JIM MATHESON, Utah
STEVE ISRAEL, New York
DENNIS MOORE, Kansas
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMICHAEL M. HONDA, California
Subcommittee on Research
NICK SMITH, Michigan, Chairman
LAMAR S. SMITH, Texas
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
GIL GUTKNECHT, Minnesota
FRANK D. LUCAS, Oklahoma
GARY G. MILLER, California
JUDY BIGGERT, Illinois
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois
FELIX J. GRUCCI, JR., New York
MELISSA A. HART, Pennsylvania
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
BOB ETHERIDGE, North Carolina
STEVE ISRAEL, New York
LYNN N. RIVERS, Michigan
JOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
BRIAN BAIRD, Washington
JOE BACA, California
DENNIS MOORE, Kansas
MICHAEL M. HONDA, California
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SHARON HAYS Subcommittee Staff Director
DAN BYERS Professional Staff Member/Designee
JIM WILSON Democratic Professional Staff Member
DIANE JONES, GREG GARCIA, KARIN LOHMAN Professional Staff Members
NATALIE PALMER Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
March 13, 2002
Statement by Representative Nick Smith, Chairman, Subcommittee on Research, Committee on Science, U.S. House of Representatives
Statement by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee on Research, Committee on Science, U.S. House of Representatives
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWitnesses
Dr. Stephen W. Director, Professor, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, University of Michigan
Dr. Karen S. Harpp, Assistant Professor, Department of Geology, Colgate University
Dr. Irwin Feller, Professor of Economics, Pennsylvania State University
Mr. Scott C. Donnelly, Senior Vice President, Corporate Research and Development, General Electric Company
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Appendix 1: Additional Material for the Record
Revised Testimony of Karen S. Harpp
THE NSF BUDGET: HOW SHOULD WE DETERMINE FUTURE LEVELS?
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2002
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Research,
Committee on Science,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:11 a.m., in Room 2318 of the Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Nick Smith [Chairman of the Subcommittee] presiding.
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SUBCOMMITTEE ON RESEARCH
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
The NSF Budget: How Should We
Determine Future Levels?
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2002
10:00 A.M.12:00 P.M.
2318 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING
On Wednesday, March 13, 2002, the House Committee on Science's Research Subcommittee will hold a hearing to receive testimony on ways to determine the appropriate funding levels for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The testimony received will guide the Committee as it crafts legislation authorizing future funding for NSF. The hearing will address the following issues:
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What criteria should be used in setting NSF budget levels as well as priorities within the budget?
Is the current federal research portfolio balanced and what criteria should be used to determine the appropriate balance?
What is the impact of current NSF funding levels on researchers in academia and industry and on the economy?
Economists attribute much of the Nation's recent productivity growth and as much as half of the post-World War II increase in national wealth to the fruits of federally funded research and development. However, quantifying the specific economic gains attributable to federally funded research and development has been difficult, and economists' estimates vary widely. One recent economic study suggests that research and development likely produces an annual return on investment of 26 to 29 percent for every dollar spent. Other studies have reported similar or even higher gains. While an exact figure is impossible to determine, few economists disagree that the federal investment in basic research yields significant economic dividends.
NSF's role in the Nation's research enterprise
The National Science Foundation (NSF), with its mission to promote science and engineering research and education across all disciplines, is a key element of the Nation's research enterprise. While other agencies with research and development programs support specific missions such as health or defense, NSF is focused on the overall health of the science and engineering enterprise. In addition to supporting research, NSF also funds math, science and engineering education initiatives.
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Presently, NSF funds research and education activities at more than 2,000 universities, colleges, K12 schools, businesses, and other research institutions throughout the United States, mostly through competitive, peer-reviewed grants and cooperative agreements. Although NSF's research and development budget accounts for a meager four percent of all federally funded research, the role of NSF in promoting fundamental research is vital to the Nation's scientific enterprise. Approximately 25 percent of federal support for academic institutions for basic research is provided through NSF. In addition, about 50 percent of the funding for fundamental non-medical research at universities is provided through the agency. NSF funding supports the work of over 200,000 scientists, engineers, teachers, and students every year. The Foundation also participates in numerous international science projects that provide benefits to the U.S. and the international community.
The FY 2003 budget request for NSF
The President's FY 2003 budget request for NSF is $5.04 billion, which is $239.91 millionor five percent greater than FY 2002 (for more detail see Appendix 1). However, $76 million of this increase reflects programs transferred from other agencies to NSF, leaving a 'real' increase in NSF's budget for NSF programs of $163.91 million, or 3.4 percent.
The NSF budget can be divided into four general activities: (1) Research Project Support funded through the Research and Related Activities (R&RA) appropriations line, which supports cutting-edge research; (2) Facilities, funded through the Major Research Equipment line, which supports large, multi-user research facilities; (3) Education and Training, funded through the Education and Human Resources line, which supports K12 math and science programs, and math, science, and engineering education at the undergraduate and graduate levels; and (4) Administration and Management, which supports salaries, general operating expenses, and the Inspector General's office at NSF.(see footnote 1)
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Funding levels and priorities for NSF
Over the past 50 years there have been repeated efforts to develop ways to determine the appropriate levels of spending (as well as priorities within these levels) for basic research and development. In addition, there have been efforts to mobilize support for increasing funding levels for research and development. For example, in the early 1980s, President Reagan proposed to double the research budget at NSF. Similarly, in the early 1990s, advocates for research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), proposed to double the NIH budget. In FY03, this effort will likely succeed. The President's FY03 budget proposes to complete the doubling effort by providing NIH with a $3.9 billion increase. For comparison purposes, this increase is larger than the entire FY03 NSF research budget.
The purpose of this hearing is to move beyond budgeting by funding level ''targets'' and to attempt to identify specific criteria that could be used to support arguments for specific funding levels and priorities within these levels.
Grant Pressure: One issue that must be considered in determining funding levels for NSF is whether limited funds are unduly constraining the research effort. Each year, NSF is forced to decline support to highly ranked grant proposals because of a lack of funds. In fact, in 2001, NSF denied funding for over a billion dollars worth of grants that were ranked at least as high as the average awarded grant (4.1 on a scale of 1 to 5). Thus, NSF could theoretically fund a significant amount of additional research with little or no diminishment of quality in the research supported. It should be remembered, however, that grant pressure is an imperfect measure of budgetary needs, particularly at the program level. The number of applications that a program receives is often higher in a new program than in a more mature program. The number of applications is also often higher in programs that have historically received increases or are projected to receive increases in the future.
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Funding levels are important not merely because of the number of projects that can be supported but because they can also affect the quality of the proposals being submitted. Dr. Bill Wulf, President of the National Academy of Engineering, when testifying before the committee last fall regarding cyber security research funding, stated that ''when funds are scarce, researchers become very conservative, and bold challenges to the conventional wisdom are not likely to pass peer review. As a result, incrementalism has become the norm.''
As a result of analyses like this, some have argued that the ideal level of funding for research would enable funds for not only highly rated proposals, but also for some fraction of proposals that receive mixed scores from the review boardsome very high and some quite lowand thus may be the ''high risk/high payoff'' research projects that can lead to significant breakthroughs.
Funding for Core and Priority Research Programs: Research within the Research and Related Activities accountthe budget line that funds the investigator-initiated grants that make up the bulk of the agency's research budgetcan be categorized in a number of different ways. One major breakdown is between ''core'' research activities versus ''priority area'' research. ''Core'' research describes research that fits within a particular disciplinesuch as astronomy, chemistry, mathematics, etc. Various disciplines are grouped within seven different research directorates (e.g., all three of the disciplines listed above are housed within the Mathematics and Physical Sciences Directorate).
The priority areas, on the other hand, are multidisciplinary research areas that cut across multiple directorates. Current Priority Areas include the Biocomplexity in the Environment, Information Technology Research, Nanoscale Science and Engineering, Learning for the 21st Century Workforce, Mathematical Sciences, and Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences programs.
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Most of the NSF directorates within the Research and Related Activities account received only modest increases, between 2.3 and 3.4 percent in the President's FY03 budget. In some core areas, such as astronomy, funding is virtually flat. Concern has arisen that the lack of adequate increases in funding for the core sciences will have serious long-term repercussions, as NSF's core research forms the scientific foundation that underpins the multidisciplinary research defined by NSF's priority areas. In addition, in many fields, NSF funds the vast majority of the basic research in the discipline; thus when NSF funding is flat for these fields, growth in the entire discipline may stagnate.
Grant Size and Duration: Another budget-related issue is the size and duration of NSF awards. Currently, the average annual grant size is $113,000 and the average grant duration is 2.9 years. In FY 2003, NSF proposes raising the average annual award to $125,000. In many fields, the current size and duration of NSF awards is insufficient to fully fund a research project from start to finish. As a result, researchers must spend an inordinate amount of time applying for grants and attempting to piece together the finds necessary to fund the project and students and staff who work on the project. In addition, short grant duration can make the planning of long-term projects exceedingly difficult. These inefficiencies reduce the time available to faculty for research and for teaching.
Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction Awards: NSF Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) awards support the acquisition, construction and commissioning of major research facilities and equipment that provide unique capabilities at the frontiers of science and engineering. Currently funded MREFC projects include the Atacama Large Millimeter Array radio telescope, the Large Hadron Collider, the Network for Earthquake Engineering and Simulation, South Pole Station, Terrascale Computing, Earthscope, Ice Cube, the High-Performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research and the National Ecological Observatory Network.
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The Committee has previously raised questions about how the MREFC programs are selected for inclusion in the budget. In particular, the Committee is concerned that there is a lack of a clear mechanism for priority setting within the MREFC budget. In addition, the Committee has raised concerns about NSF's management of large facility projects and the organization structure within NSF to address this issue. Nonetheless, funding constraints have resulted in a backlog of highly rated, National Science Board approved projects.(see footnote 2)
Balance in the Federal Research Portfolio
It has become widely recognized that investing in basic research pays enormous dividends to society. Economic growth, public health, national defense, and social advancement have all been tied to technological developments resulting from research and development. Concern has arisen that there is an imbalance in federal funding between the physical and biomedical sciences, given that federal funding for NIH is nearly equal to the funding for all of the non-biomedical federal science and technology research programs combined. Physical sciences provide much of the conceptual and technological framework on which advances in the biomedical sciences are built.
Over the past decade, funding for the physical sciences and engineering has remained essentially flat (Appendix 2). ''Under-funding'' one major area of science means that investments in other ''well-funded'' areas are inefficient, since the latter cannot draw on important innovations which would potentially be produced by the former. For example, if NSF had not funded the research that led to the discovery of the phenomenon of nuclear magnetic resonance, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology, which is used to detect tumors and internal tissue damage in patients and to investigate differences in brain tissue, might not be available today. Other significant inventions that stemmed from discoveries made by NSF-funded researchers and spurred discoveries in other fields include the Internet, fiber optics, Doppler radar, bar codes, data compression technology, edible vaccinations, and nanotechnology.
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A number of questions remain to be answered as the Committee considers re-authorizing NSF. Are proposed funding levels sufficient? If not, how should an appropriate level be determined? Is the federal research portfolio balanced? The witnesses will provide feedback on these and other questions.
Stephen Director, Ph.D., Professor, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, University of Michigan, will address the impact of NSF funding on research and education programs at institutions such as the University of Michigan. In addition, he will discuss the balance of the federal research and development portfolio and criteria that should be used in setting research and development priorities and budgets.
Scott Donnelly, Senior Vice President, Corporate Research and Development, General Electric Company, will discuss the impact of federally funded basic research, such as that funded by NSF, on industry overall and GE in particular. He will also discuss scientific and technical workforce issues as they relate to GE and suggest criteria to use in determining appropriate funding levels for NSF.
Irwin Feller, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, Pennsylvania State University, will address the impact of basic research on the economy. In addition, he will discuss the role economic research can play in optimizing the balance between different types of research (such as basic research versus applied, or research in the physical versus the biomedical sciences).
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Karen S. Harpp, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Geology, Colgate University, will discuss the major challenges faced by students and faculty at Colgate University who are engaged in undergraduate science, mathematics, or engineering education and research. In addition, she will discuss the criteria that should be used to determine the level at which to fund NSF education and research areas pertinent to predominantly undergraduate-serving institutions such as Colgate.
Appendix 3. Witness Biographies:
Stephen Director, Ph.D., is the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of the College of Engineering and professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan. He received a B.S. degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1965 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1967 and 1968, respectively. From 1968 until 1977 he was with the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Florida, Gainesville. From September 1974 to August 1975, he was a visiting scientist in the Mathematical Sciences Department at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY. He joined Carnegie Mellon University in 1977 where he was the U.A. and Helen Whitaker University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and served as head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 1982 to 1991 and then Dean of the College of Engineering until June of 1996. In 1982, he founded the SRC-CMU Research Center for Computer-Aided Design and served as its director from 1982 to 1989. Dr. Director currently serves as Chair of the National Academy of Engineering Academic Advisory Board and is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). He also serves on numerous other boards and committees and as a consultant to industry and academia.
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Scott C. Donnelly currently serves as Senior Vice President of Corporate Research and Development based in Schenectady, NY. Most recently, Donnelly served as Vice President of Global Technology Operations for GE Medical Systems. Mr. Donnelly began his career in the aerospace and semiconductor industries as a design engineer developing advanced computer architecture for special purpose processors and systems. He joined GE Aerospace in Syracuse, New York in 1989 and led large engineering organizations in the Ocean, Radar and Sensor Systems business. In 1995, he transferred to GE Industrial Systems where he became the General Manager, Industrial System Technology. Mr. Donnelly attended the University of Colorado and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering in 1984. He serves on the Industrial Advisory Committee of several engineering colleges, the Research Foundation of the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Center for Innovation in Minimally Invasive Therapy at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Irwin Feller, Ph.D., is a Professor of Economics at Pennsylvania State University, where he has been on the faculty since 1963. Dr. Feller's current research interests include the evaluation of Federal and State science and technology programs, the economics of academic research, and the university's role in technology-based economic development. He has been a consultant to the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government, the Ford Foundation, National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. General Accounting Office, U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Energy, as well as to several state governments. In addition, he is chair of the National Science Foundation's Advisory Committee to the Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences and a member of the National Research Council's Transportation Research Board's Research and Technology Coordinating Committee. He formerly chaired the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy.
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Karen Harpp, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geology at Colgate University. Dr. Harpp received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and her Ph.D. from Cornell University. From 1994 through 1998 she was a faculty member at Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin. Dr. Harpp currently teaches geochemistry, analytical techniques, environmental science, and volcanology at Colgate University. In addition, she conducts research on volcanoes on the Galapagos Islands and their origins.
Chairman SMITH. The Subcommittee on Research will come to order. And welcome everybody to this hearing. It is a continuation of the background and information of where do we go with NSF funding, how do we proceed. There were some of us that were somewhat aggressive in trying to increase the funding for the National Science Foundation over and above the President's recommendation.
In the budget resolution that will be coming out of House Budget Committee this afternoon, there will be a five percent increase over the President's recommendation, and I think that is good news in terms of its importance for not only for the research effort and the continuation and the encouragement of more grad students at our universities staying in for their Master's and Doctor's, but also its tremendous importance in terms of its effect on our future economy.
I think this committee with Eddie Bernice, probably all the members have been very supportive of NSF and its strong record of leadership and success funding competitive peer reviewed research. We are interested in our witness' ideas of how we might improve NSF in our research efforts, how we might better encourage the private sector to start contributing more to the financial effort of expanding our basic research.
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That said, it seems that NSF's unique focus on fundamental scientific research that is not undertaken by the private sector is a very important aspect of our federal R&D funding. And while it is very difficult to quantify the return on federal investments in basic research, its footprints are unmistakably part of the world around us. Knowledge from NSF and our other basic research results in modern industries such as genomics, information technologies, and communications. It has clearly made our lives better and our economy stronger.
These technological developments have also been one of the major drivers of growth in the tools that even better enhance our research efforts. This year the NSF has requested an increase of $240 million, a five percent increase that will bring the budget to over $5 billion. The additional five percent that is in the budget resolution that is coming out of the House Budget Committee today, and will be up for a vote next week on the House Floor, hopefully will prevail in terms of its final resolution between the House and the Senate.
And I believe that overall President Bush should be commended for developing a budget that makes some difficult choices. I am also pleased with the President's management reform agenda, in particular the development of objective performance-based research and development investment criteria. And as we move into this new era of accountability, I believe that a well-run science program such as the National Science Foundation will have nothing to fear.
One critique I do have of course is the continued funding disparity even with our increase of five percent over the President's recommendation between NIH and NSF. In this budget, for instance, just a slight reduction in NIH funding because of the size of that funding would make a huge difference in terms of increased funds being available in the National Science Foundation. And it is instrumental as we will hopefully learn from some of the comments of our witnesses today that if we are going to be safe in the military field, developing smarter weapons or if we are going to be more effective in health and NIH, we need the kind of basic research that is going to give us the tools and the basic knowledge to expand in those areas.
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I mentioned this because the biomedical sciences rely heavily on the advances in the physical science and engineering, which have revolutionized the way we practice medicine. Maybe the most telling example may be the magnetic resonance imaging, which was developed through breakthroughs by NIH-funded research. MRIs are now the preferred diagnostic procedure for many conditions because they provide a safe, painless, and precise method of diagnosing disorders.
Additionally, a similar though less dramatic disparity has taken place within the NSF budget in the last 12 years. Base funding for the math and physical science directorate has risen by only 82 percent while three other directorates have seen their budgets triple, and three more have seen at least doubling, so I would hope that our witnesses might give us some of your guidance and ideas on the appropriate funding of the different directorates within NSF.
And with that, without objection the rest of my record will be entered intothe rest of my testimony will be entered into the record.
I want to thank our panelists for being here and taking time of your schedules.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Smith follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN NICK SMITH
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Welcome to this hearing of the Subcommittee on Research. Today, the Subcommittee meets to discuss National Science Foundation budget and reauthorization issues. This hearing is part of a series of hearings and meetings the Subcommittee has held to consider NSF authorization since it last expired at the end of fiscal year 2000.
This committee has been very supportive of NSF and it's strong record of leadership and success funding competitive, peer-reviewed research. We are interested in our witnesses' ideas to improve NSF and our research efforts. That said, NSF's unique focus on fundamental scientific research that is not undertaken by the private sector is a very important aspect of our federal R&D funding. While it is very difficult to quantify the return on federal investments in basic research, its footprints are unmistakably part of the world around us. Knowledge from NSF-funded research resulting in modern industries such as genomics, information technologies, and communications has clearly made our lives better. These technological developments have also been one of the major drivers of growth in our economy, and are likely to remain so.
This year, the NSF has requested an increase of $240 million, a five percent increase that will bring its budget to just over $5 billion. After accounting for the proposed transfer of three programs from other agencies to NSF, the increase is actually a modest 3.4 percent. While I had hoped a model federal agency such as NSF would receive a stronger increase, I understand the realities that accompany wartime budgets, and I believe that, overall, President Bush should be commended for developing a budget that makes some difficult choices. I am also pleased with the President's management reform agenda, in particular the development of objective, performance-based R&D investment criteria. As we move into this new era of accountability, I believe that a well-run science programs such as the National Science Foundation will have nothing to fear.
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One critique I do have of the budget, however, is the continued funding disparity between NIH and NSF. In this budget for instance, just a slightly smaller increase for the National Institutes of Health14.7 percent instead of 16.6 percent ($460 million)if added to NSF, would result in an equivalent 14.7 percent increase for NSF.
I mention this because the biomedical sciences rely heavily on advances in the physical sciences and engineering, which have revolutionized the way we practice medicine. The most telling example may be magnetic resonance imaging, which was developed from breakthroughs by NSF-funded research. MRIs are now the preferred diagnostic procedure for many conditions because they provide a safe, painless, and precise method of diagnosing disorders.
Additionally, a similar though less dramatic disparity has taken place within the NSF budget. In the last 12 years, base funding for the Math and Physical Sciences directorate has risen only 82 percent, while three other directorates have seen their budgets triple, and three more have seen at least doubling. This has led to a situation where funding has not kept pace with grant pressures, and the MPS directorate is now rejecting 45 percent of highly-rated research proposals. I think that these issues deserve further examination as we move forward in the budget and reauthorization process, and today we will explore how these trends have impacted researchers and the economy. Overall though, I can assure you that we are working to see that basic research receives a long-range, high-priority commitment in the federal budget.
In our discussion today, I am interested to hear from witnesses outside the NSF on how they view areas where NSF might improve their performance and efficiency. I am also interested in hearing their opinions on how we develop funding priorities among different research disciplines, and how we can better engage the private sector to increase their financial contribution and improve the continuity of the research process from fundamental, to applied, to product development. I believe the answers to these questions and others that we will discuss today could significantly enhance our ability to remain economically competitive in an increasingly globalized world.
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I want to thank our panelists for appearing before the Subcommittee today and I look forward to your remarks.
Chairman SMITH. And with that I would ask Ms. Johnson to make her comments.
Ms. JOHNSON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased to join with you in welcoming our witnesses today for this hearing of the National Science Foundation. This hearing will lay the groundwork for the Research Subcommittee for developing NSF authorization legislation. I am glad we have begun the process. The problem is we are just a little bit late in doing it since the previous authorization statute for the foundation expired at the end of fiscal year 2000, not the responsibility of me nor Mr. Smith.
The thrust of this hearing is on what ought to be the appropriate funding levels for NSF. Possible rationale for setting that level will be considered and the views and recommendations of our witnesses really are solicited. I think it is likely that we will spend much of our time looking at evidence suggesting that the current NSF budget is too low. The economy for the past 10 years has been driven more by NSF than anything elseresearch, that type of research. So I confess I do not approach this hearing with any doubts about the inadequacy of the current funding for NSF. And I suspect that many of my colleagues would agree.
I introduced legislation last year to authorize appropriations for NSF for fiscal year 20022005 that would have continued the budget doubling past fiscal year 2001 appropriations. My bill would have answered the call for strengthening federal support in basic research coming from such diverse sources as the former Presidential Science Advisor Alan Bromley, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and the Hart-Rudman Commission on National Security.
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For the past decade federally funded research in the physical sciences, mathematics, and engineering have seen little or no real growth. I was just looking at this graph here I think that has been distributed by Dr. Donnelly. The inflation adjusted dollars for the period of '93 to '98funding for mathematics dropped by 20 percent, physics by 20 percent, chemistry by 10 percent, and some engineering fields by 20 to 40 percent. The connection between the NSF budget and the state of research funding in these fields is very simple.
NSF funds 36 percent of the total academic research in physical sciences, 50 percent in engineering, and 72 percent in mathematics. Deficiencies in the size of NSF's budget are evident from the fact that the agency now funds less than a third of the research applications it receives, and perhaps half of those judged to be of high quality. Even for successful applicants an NSF award is usually sub-optimal, that is, too small to fully support their research activities.
The current situation leaves researchers in NSF-funded fields scrambling for support and spending too much of their time chasing limited funding rather than in the lab lecturing students. Support for basic research in science is not a partisan issue. The benefits that flow to our economy, to national security, and to the well being of our citizens are widely recognized. We in Congress must seek action that will provide a vigorous academic research enterprise for the nation and thereby will help fill the storehouse of basic knowledge that powers the future.
Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for calling this hearing. I think that we agree on the issue. I don't know whether our votes will reflect it, but I hope you will agree on a budget that is about three times as much as what has been suggested here. Thank you very much.
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[The prepared statement of Ms. Johnson follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON
Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to join you in welcoming our witnesses today to this budget hearing on the National Science Foundation. This hearing will lay the groundwork for the Research Subcommittee for developing NSF authorization legislation. I am glad we have begun the process but am disappointed that it has taken us so long, since the previous authorization statute for the Foundation expired at the end of fiscal year 2000.
The thrust of this hearing is on what ought to be the appropriate funding level for NSF. Possible rationales for setting that level will be considered, and the views and recommendations of our witnesses are solicited. I think it is likely that we will spend much of our time looking at evidence suggesting that the current NSF budget is too low. I confess I do not approach this hearing with any doubts about the inadequacy of current funding for NSF, and I suspect many of my colleagues would agree.
I introduced legislation last year to authorize appropriations for NSF for fiscal years 2002 through 2005 that would have continued the budget doubling path begun by the fiscal year 2001 NSF appropriation. My bill would have answered the calls for strengthening federal support for basic research coming from such diverse sources as former presidential science advisor Allen Bromley, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and the Hart-Rudman Commission on National Security.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For the past decade, federally funded research in the physical sciences, mathematics and engineering have seen little or no real growth. For example, in inflation-adjusted dollars for the period 1993 to 1998, funding for mathematics dropped by 20 percent, physics by 20 percent, chemistry by 10 percent, and some engineering fields by 2040 percent. The connection between the NSF budget and the fate of research funding in these fields is simple. NSF funds 36 percent of total academic research in the physical sciences, 50 percent in engineering, and 72 percent in mathematics.
Deficiencies in the size of NSF's budget are evident from the fact that the agency now funds less than a third of the research applications it receives and perhaps half of those judged to be of high quality. Even for successful applicants, an NSF award is usually sub-optimalthat is, too small to fully support their research activities. The current situation leaves researchers in NSF-funded fields scrambling for support and spending too much of their time chasing limited funding, rather than in the lab or mentoring students.
Support for basic research in science and engineering is not a partisan issue. The benefits that flow to our economy, to national security, and to the well being of our citizens are widely recognized. We in Congress must take action that will provide for a vigorous academic research enterprise for the nation and, thereby, will help fill the storehouse of basic knowledge that powers the future.
Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for calling this hearing and thank our witnesses for appearing before the Subcommittee today. I look forward to our discussion.
Chairman SMITH. With that spirit and that beautiful green dress that represents what, the 17th of this month? I think, at this time I would like to introduce our panelists. Dr. Stephen Director is from our State of Michigan. We have four members from Michigan on the Science Committee, and that is Representativein addition to Representative Lynn Rivers, myself, Dr. Ehlers, and also Jim Barcia. And Representative Rivers, would you do us the honors of a more in-depth introduction of Dr. Director?
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Ms. RIVERS. I would be pleased to do so, and I am also pleased to join my voice to the others in the chorus of concern for funding the NSF, and wish to see it rise substantially. But my task at the moment is to introduce Dr. Director. Stephen Director is the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering in Computer Science at the University of Michigan.
He has as B.S. degree from State University of New York at Stony Brook, and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. He was on the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Florida, Gainesville, also, Carnegie Mellon University where he was the university Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and then Dean of the College of Engineering until June 1996.
He is a pioneer in the area of computer-aided BLSI design and has a long record of commitment to and innovation in engineering education. He has published over 150 papers and authored or co-authored six textbooks. Dr. Director currently serves as Chair of the National Academy of Engineering Committee on Engineering Education and serves on several industrial boards and committees, and is a consultant to industry and academia. He has received numerous awards for his research and educational contributions including the Education Medal from the Institute of Electrical EngineeringElectrical and Electronic Engineers, IEEE, in 1998. Dr. Director is a Fellow of the IEEE and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and we are very proud to have him here today.
Chairman SMITH. If you are not a witness from one of the members of the committee that is here, you don't get quite as extensive introduction. Our second witness is Dr. Karen Harpp, Assistant Professor, Department of Geology, Colgate University, and is going to discuss among other things some major challenges faced by students and faculty. She is in the Department of Geology.
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Dr. Feller, our third panelist, is a Professor of Economics from Pennsylvania State University, and our final panelist is Mr. Scott Donnelly, who is Senior Vice President of Corporate Research and Development with General Electric. And with that, we have one votewith that, as our panelists may know, your spoken testimony is limited to five minutes. We are not absolutely tight on that. The clock is in the middle of your dais podium, but stick to that a little bit. Your total printed testimony will be included in the record. And at this point I would recognize Dr. Director.
STATEMENT OF STEPHEN W. DIRECTOR, PH.D., PROFESSOR, ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING & COMPUTER SCIENCE, ROBERT J. VLASIC DEAN OF ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Dr. DIRECTOR. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for the invitation to appear today, and thank you, Congresswoman Rivers, for that great introduction. Let me begin by commending you and the subcommittee for working so hard to increase NSF funding and for holding a hearing on this important topic. The bipartisan support that the National Science Foundation has received in recent years is a tribute to the leadership that you and others have provided.
That support is now paying off in sometimes unanticipated ways. For example, research that NSF has funded in the areas of information security, detection of airborne hazards, and structural studies to improve building safety are likely to be key in the war on terrorism and will continue to play an important role in national security for years to come. NSF if one of our largest sources of research funding at the University of Michigan. Over 12 percent of our research expenditures last year were supported by NSF and in my own college of engineering NSF provides nearly 30 percent of our federal research dollars.
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The innovations that NSF support has helped create are enormous. NSF played a key role in the development of the Internet and is playing a leading role in developing nano science which one day may provide benefits on a similar scale, and other examples abound. While NSF is the life blood for thousands of researchers across the Nation there are many outstanding researchers who are unable to obtain NSF funding.
Last year nearly 70 percent of the almost 33,000 NSF grant proposals were not funded, including thousands that completed the rigorous peer review process and were rated very good or even excellent. With so few proposals being funded our Nation runs the risk of losing vital research and innovative ideas. Although NSF funding has increased in recent years it lags far behind the increases provided to NIH. This chart shows the growing disparity between funding for the life sciences and for other scientific and engineering endeavors.
While all of us are aware of the important advances in health care that have led to longer and better lives for all Americans what is not so well known is that many of those cures and technologies have resulted from research in the physical sciences and engineering. It has been confirmed in a recent article that appeared in the Journal of Health Affairs. As an example, one outcome of the research conducted in our NSF-funded center for ultrasound optical sciences was the development of a laser technology that is now revolutionizing eye surgery. In our other NSF-funded engineering research center on wireless integrated Microsystems is developing tiny micro-electro mechanical systems that can be used to restore hearing to the deaf, and it is hoped that one day similar devices will help the blind to see and will control epilepsy and Parkinson's disease.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Besides supporting basic research, NSF funding is important for training our future scientists and engineers. As this chart dramatically illustrates, we are continuing to see almost no increase in the number of American students pursuing scientific and engineering studies despite the growing demand for technologically trained individuals. Increased NSF funding is essential if we want to solve this critical manpower problem.
How then to accomplish our mission. Let me offer some specific suggestions for the subcommittee to consider. First, Congress should provide funding to increase the numbers, size, and duration of NSF grants. The average NSF grant currently is about $90,000 per year, which is 1/3 of that typically provided by an NIH grant, and is about $1,000 less in constant dollars than the average award that was made by NSF in 1960.
Further, NIH grants usually last almost twice as long as NSF grants. Increasing grant size and duration allows NSF researchers to spend more time doing their research and less time applying for funds. The number of grants also need to be increased so as to fund all proposals that are rated very good and above. Second, NSF must continue to promote new areas of study. By providing more funding, Congress can help launch new research in increasingly important areas such as nano technology, biocomplexity, and information technology.
I also recommend that the funding be increased for major research equipment and facilities grants to support this research. Third, NSF graduate students need to be raised from the current $21,500 per year to at least $25,000 per year. We will not be able to lure more students into science and engineering if we do not make pursuing advanced degrees more attractive.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And, fourth, growth in the National Science Foundation funding should at a minimum track the growth in NIH funding. Congress should commit itself to a 5-year doubling of NSF funding such as I understand is being contemplated for NIH.
In conclusion, NSF has played a crucial role in helping our universities become the envy of the world. Increased funding for NSF will insure that the United States remains the leading nation in the world of scientific innovation and inquiry, and strengthen the ability of major United States research universities like mine to meet the needs of the 21st Century.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Director follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF STEPHEN W. DIRECTOR
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee,
Good morning. My name is Stephen Director. I am a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. I would like to thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to provide a perspective from the University of Michigan concerning the importance of the work of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the need to make sure its budget is adequate.
Let me begin by commending the Congress and particularly the House Science Committee for its efforts in promoting vigorous increases in funding levels for the NSF. As the principal federal agency that supports knowledge generation through fundamental research in the sciences and engineering, NSF's investments in people, ideas and tools are needed to ensure that the scientific base, technological capabilities, and human capital of the nation are up to the challenges of the 21st century. I urge you to continue the bipartisan support for the growth of NSF programs as you consider the fiscal 2003 budget request and beyond.
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Today, I would like to speak to four specific issues concerning how you should determine the NSF's future funding levels. My testimony draws from and builds upon previous statements made before this committee by Dr. Fawwaz Ulaby, Vice President for Research, University of Michigan (September 28, 1999) and Dr. Timothy Killeen, the former Associate Vice President for Research (February 28, 2000).
First, I will provide you with a personal perspective on how NSF funding advances the education, research, and scholarship missions of universities such as the University of Michigan through its support of fundamental knowledge creation, the development of human resources and the provision of critical research tools and scientific infrastructure.
Second, I will discuss the impact that intense competition for NSF grants has on faculty and students at institutions such as the University of Michigan, including issues concerning grant size and duration. I will also discuss how one might determine the appropriate level of competition for NSF grants.
Third, I will discuss the proper balance between different types of research in the Federal R&D portfolio and how to determine the appropriate balance.
And finally, I want to comment on criteria that might be used to determine the proper level at which the NSF should be funded.
1) NSF's role in advancing education, research and scholarship
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, as you know, the University of Michigan has a large research program. In FY 2001, our total research expenditures were $592M. Of that, approximately $50 million, or about 12.5 percent, of the federal support for research at the University came from the NSF. This provided direct support for 791 active projects, 570 faculty researchers, 102 postdoctoral fellows, 429 graduate students, and 196 undergraduate student researchers.
While my focus is obviously directed at NSF support of engineering, other important areas supported at the UM by the NSF include mathematics and physical sciences, geosciences, biological sciences, computer and information sciences, and the social, behavioral, and economic sciences. This broad portfolio of NSF-sponsored research contributes enormously to the intellectual vigor of our institution. The importance of these NSF programs to the University of Michigan's education and research mission simply cannot be overstated.
In the College of Engineering, NSF accounts for approximately 28 percent of our total federal research expenditure. This level of support is second only to the Department of Defense. NSF support to the College comes in the form of single investigator grants and support for two major Engineering Research Centers (ERCs), a Science and Technology Center (STC) and several smaller centers.
a. Generation of fundamental knowledge and ideas
One of NSF's primary missions is to support fundamental research and knowledge creation across all fields of science and engineering. No other agency has this as its mission.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In fulfilling this mission, the NSF plays a critical and unique role in support of the long-term economic vitality and technological base of the nation. In fact, fully half of the growth of the U.S. economy in the last fifty years was due to the federal investment in scientific research. Undoubtedly, innovations we will take for granted twenty to thirty years from now will be, in all likelihood, the result of fundamental research we are undertaking today. Over the years, NSF's public investments in fundamental research have resulted in the most dynamic and innovative science and technology program in the world. The information technology revolution is a perfect example.
Long before AOL and before ''world wide web'' and the ''internet'' became common household terms, researchers at the University of Michigan were involved in the development of NSFNET, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, IBM, and others. NSFNET used switching hardware and protocols to link individual computers to one another to form a prototype for what has developed into the Internet we all know and use today. Others at many university campuses were also responsible for discoveries and innovations that have been reported in theses and dissertations of graduate students and have led to major advances in software engineering, data compression techniques, and other technologies.
Today, with NSF's help, we are using the Internet to eliminate constraints that previously existed on conducting research across geographic boundaries. SPARC, or the Space Physics & Astronomy Research Collaboratory at the University of Michigan, represents a new way for researchers to work together around the world as easily and effectively as working with someone in the next office. Through electronic links, SPARC researchersconsisting of an interdisciplinary team of space physicists; computer scientists, and behavioral scientistsinitiate experiments from their desktops and study data collected from over 200 different research instruments across the globe, including radars in Greenland, Canada, Norway and the United States and from space-based satellites. SPARC is a flagship project in the new collaboratory movement, a movement that was begun at a 1986 NSF workshop attended by University of Michigan researchers.
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Yet another example of NSF-supported activity that helps create fundamental knowledge which, in turn, fosters innovation is the University of Michigan's Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Reconfigurable Machining Systems. The goal of this Center is to develop a new type of factory based on what is known as a ''reconfigurable manufacturing system (RMS).'' Such a system can be quickly altered as needed, including changing the structure of its machines and controls. The Center's annual budget is approximately $5 million. The current sources of support are the National Science Foundation (50 percent), industry (30 percent), University of Michigan (15 percent), and the State of Michigan (5 percent).
A primary objective of the Center is to educate a new generation of manufacturing engineers, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary teamwork in designing large systems. The Center's students gain research experience on our campus as well as hands-on industrial experience through internships and collaborative research with our industrial partners. The benefits of this arrangement flow both waysour faculty and students gain a greater understanding of the needs of industry; and industry is able to learn from the discoveries made in our labs as they occur.
This last point is confirmed by a national study of the ERC Program published by the National Science Foundation. The benefit cited most by firms for becoming a partner with a university-based ERC was ''access to new ideas, know-how, or technologies.'' A majority of firms said their involvement improved their firms' competitiveness, and nearly one-fourth of the firms surveyed reported having developed a new product or process as a result of their interaction with an ERC. Finally, many firms ended up hiring graduate students who had been involved in the ERC, and they reported that these students were more productive and effective engineers than their peers at the firm.
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b. Human Resources
Just as fundamental knowledge is essential to innovation, so too are people. Here again the NSF plays a critical role. NSF is working with us to create a skilled and diverse workforce. NSF's emphasis on educational support is indigenous to all of its programs and distinguishes it from other federal agencies. It is also instrumental in training the future scientists and engineers that are in such short supply today.
Of particular relevance to research universities like ours, NSF has been a real leader in promoting the integration of research and education. In science and engineering, unlike other professional fields like law and business, research and education are inextricably linked. NSF research grants, fellowships and traineeships are critical to supporting our graduate students, undergraduate students and post-doctoral scholars, as are the many NSF programs that encourage faculty-student mentoring and direct research and laboratory experiences at an early age.
For example, one program that has received NSF support at the University of Michigan is our Women in Science and Engineering (WISE)Residential Program. Started in 1993, this program was one of the first ''living-learning'' programs at Michigan and is aimed at keeping first-and second-year women in the sciences and engineering. Women in the program live together and take their introductory science and mathematics courses in their residence hall. The program emphasizes peer group counseling and study teams. In 1997, the NSF provided the University with one of the first ever Recognition Awards for the Integration of Research and Education (RAIRE) to support the dissemination of the WISE-Residential Program, along with the University's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).
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In addition to facilitating the tighter linkage of research and education on campus, the NSF is also playing a critical role in encouraging campuses to work more closely with the K12 education system. It does this by supporting research into the educational process itself and numerous education and outreach programs.
One such program at the University of Michigan is the Center for Highly-Interactive Computing in Education, or Hi-CE. For over 10 years now, this unique collaboration between the College of Engineering and the College of Education has been impacting K12 science education at local, state, and national levels as well as contributing to the scientific community. With NSF support, UM's Hi-CE, Northwestern University and the Detroit and Chicago Public Schools have formed an unprecedented and unique partnershipthe Center for Learning Technologies in Urban Schools (LeTUS). This partnership is working to integrate modern, computing technologies into middle school science curriculum and classrooms. Studies over the past four years indicate a significant impact on student learning in Detroit and Chicago arising from this effort.
Hi-CE is also serving as a national resource for K12 science education by leading a team of nine universities nationwide in providing scientifically evaluated educational software for middle and high school classes. This team is recognized as providing the best educational applications for palm-sized computers in the country. Recently, Hi-CE has spun off a commercial entity, GoKnow LLC to transition its award-winning educational software and science curriculum into K12 schools. NSF support has been critically important in creating Hi-CE as a national resource for the improvement of science education in K12.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCc. Support of research tools and critical scientific infrastructure
After the ideas and the people, there is the infrastructure that includes the investment in physical and human capital. Having just discussed the human resource issue, I will focus here on the physical component of infrastructure. Key to quality research in any discipline is having modern and up-to-date research instrumentation and facilities to conduct groundbreaking advances. Facilities include both experiment and computation. The success we have enjoyed in our STC and ERCs at Michigan resulted from the ability of those programs to provide world-class facilities to the researcher. The femtosecond laser that was built as part of the STC in the Center for Ultrafast Optical Sciences (CUOS) and is a one-of-a-kind facility in the U.S. that has led to outstanding advances in the physical and medical sciences because of its unique capability (discussed later). Continued support of infrastructure and facilities, especially those major programs such as the LIGO and Gemini Telescopes, is a key element in the advancement of the sciences. Unfortunately, under tight budgets, research instrumentation budgets are often the first to be cut or downsized, and new facilities and scientific tools are not developed.
2) The impact of competition for NSF grants on faculty and students
Like researchers at other institutions, UM researchers face intense competition for NSF grants. While competition is not bad in and of itself, it is discouraging to many of our faculty, especially our young investigators, to have a ''Very Good'' or ''Excellent'' rated proposal to the NSF denied because of lack of funding.
Indeed, in FY 2001, the NSF funded 10,092 awards out of 32,882 proposals for a success rate of just over 30 percent. While 2,166 of the proposals receiving an evaluation of ''Excellent'' from the merit reviewers, were funded, 335 that also received an evaluation of ''Excellent'' were not. Of the proposals that received ''Very Good'' to ''Excellent'' reviews, 4,274 were funded but another 3,317 were not, and of those receiving ''Good'' to ''Very Good'' reviews, 2,225 were funded and 10,806 were not. Putting this in context, for a young faculty member, it is analogous to telling a high school student that he or she received an ''A'' in class, but that the student will have to retake that course anyhow.
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Of course, the success rate is an important measure of the effectiveness of an agency's programs. If the rate is too high, then proposals that are not deserving are funded, leading to a weakening of the quality of research sponsored by that agency. Conversely, a low rate discourages faculty from submitting good ideas because of the low probability of success. Success rates below g are generally viewed as detrimental to encouraging the submission of the best ideas, and the NSF rate is now below this level.
As the Nation's steward for science and engineering research, the NSF is significantly underfunded. In December of 2000, the current average NSF award was $93,000 and had an average duration of 2.8 years. In constant dollars, this represents an award $1,000 less than the average award in 1960. By comparison, the average NIH award was $283,000 and the duration was 4.1 years.
Indeed, on more than one occasion, I have had senior faculty tell me that they do not even bother applying for NSF awards because they have a much greater probability not only of receiving funding, but also greater amounts of funding, from other agencies such as the NIH or the Department of Defense. The unfortunate reality of this situation, however, is that faculty members change the direction and nature of the research that they might have otherwise pursued so as to better fit into the mission-oriented research being conducted by these other agencies. I might also add that the tendency is for students funded by faculty who receive funding from a particular source to turn to this source for their own funding as they mature and begin to pursue their own research careers. Thus large grants mean that a faculty member can employ more students who, if they stay in research, in turn, grow up to place even greater funding demands on the agency.
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On this point, let me say that the under-funding of the NSF has had the additional impact of requiring caps on the number of large funding proposals that can actually submitted by an institution. These caps appear to be unique to the NSF. While internal campus competitions are not necessarily bad, I am concerned that limiting proposals to one or two per institution may in some instances have the unintended consequence of suppressing the generation of ideas and discourage even the most successful of faculty with the best ideas from applying.
And finally, I am concerned that NSF under-funding impacts not only individual investigators and faculty, but in some instances, teams of multiple researchers. These teams lose the opportunity to perform valuable work because of NSF's inability to fund large-scale scientific ideas and infrastructure projects that have traditionally been supported through the major research equipment, facilities construction and research instrumentation account. Indeed, several proposals for large-scale research resources that would provide benefits to multiple researchers in both the U.S. and worldwidenot just at one institutionhave had to be put on hold. In FY 2001, the NSF Major Research Instrumentation program awarded $75 million, but many worthy applications could not be funded. One such program is the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), a program in which U-M researchers have a particular interest. At the UM College of Engineering we are developing very small remote environmental sensors which might have applications at several of the NEON sites.
3) Costs of an imbalanced R&D portfolio
In recent years, there have been increasing concerns raised over the so-called ''balance'' between funding of the physical sciences and engineering research when compared to the life sciences. So, how do we know when things are out of balance? Is there an ''appropriate'' balance? Unfortunately there are no easy answers.
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I can say, however, the fact that funding for the physical sciences and engineering has not increased on a trajectory anything close to funding for the life sciences is alarming (see Figure 1). Even more alarming is the fact that the increase being proposed for the NIH for FY 2003 alone equals over two thirds of the current FY 2002 budget for the National Science Foundation.
a. Costs to advances in seemingly unrelated areas of science including biomedicine and health technology
What is often overlooked is that fundamental science and engineering research, including people and scientific tools supported by the NSF and other science agencies (including the Department of Energy and Department of Defense) underpins the work of the NIH. For example, we could never have sequenced the human genome without the help of the Internet and the large-scale computing capabilities that were born out of work first funded by the NSF? Likewise, some of the top medical diagnostic tools including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computerized Tomography (CT), PET Scans, Mammograms and new and improved three-dimensional computer visualization techniques are rooted in, and can be traced back to, fundamental research originally sponsored by the NSF. This is not to mention the great advances that will result in such diagnostic tools in the future as a result of NSF-sponsored research.
These medical diagnostic tools are at least as important to the practice of medicine today as the many new drugs and medications that have been discovered. Indeed, a study that appeared in the September/October issue of the Journal of Health Affairs (Stanford Report, October 10, 2001) makes a powerful case for the importance of the physical sciences and engineering to current medical practitioners. In the study, general internists were given a list of 30 innovations and asked to select five to seven that would have the most adverse effect on their patients if the innovations did not exist. Dr. Victor Fuchs, a noted heath care economist from Stanford and one of the study's co-authors, said the most surprising finding of the study was ''the extent to which the leading innovations were an outgrowth of the physical sciences (physics, engineering, and computer science) rather than disciplines traditionally associated with the 'biomedical sciences'.'' On average, diagnostic and surgical procedures were ranked significantly higher than medications. Fuchs said that was somewhat unexpected given that internists are ''in the business of prescribing medications.'' To explain this apparent incongruity, he speculated that physicians place high value on innovations that relieve some of the uncertainties involved in practicing medicine and suggested that the study results might have implications for shifting the allocation of research funds.
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Indeed, breakthroughs in one area of science often lead to unexpected breakthroughs in other areas of science. One example at the University of Michigan that well illustrates this point comes from our NSF-supported Science and Technology Center, the Center for Ultrafast Optical Science (CUOS). The Center was established in 1991 with funds from the National Science Foundation, the State of Michigan, and the University. Its annual budget from the NSF is approximately $3 million. These funds, plus additional outside grants and contracts for specialized and targeted activities, support research by about 80 students, faculty, and associated researchers.
In 1997, the University joined with Escalon Medical Corporation of Skillman, N.J., to launch a new company, IntraLase Corporation. This company was created to develop and market a new generation of lasers for eye surgery and other high-precision medical applications that grew out of a collaboration between laser scientists at the CUOS STC and ophthalmologists at the University's Kellogg Eye Center. The lasers, based on research done at the University of Michigan, deliver extremely short pulses of light, which can make cuts within the delicate structures of the eye, such as the cornea, while avoiding damage to overlying or adjacent tissuesomething not possible with conventional medical lasers. The new technology promises to greatly improve the common, yet delicate surgical procedures used in corneal transplants, and to treat glaucoma and cataracts.
Yet another example is the work being done in our ERC in Wireless Integrated Microsystems (WIMS) on cochlear implants. The cochlear implant is a very small device that when surgically implanted in the cochlear of the ear can enable a deaf person to hear again (there are more than 20 million severely hearing impaired persons in the U.S. today). A system is in use today but its technology is still crude. Some liken it to listening to an ''AM radio station with bad reception.'' Michigan State University and Michigan Technological University are partners in this ERC that is focused on improving cochlear implant technology by working at the intersection of three key areas: microelectronics, wireless communications, and microelectromechanical systems or MEMS.
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This research could be extended to the development of devices for treating epilepsy and Parkinson's disease. More broadly, the resulting integrated microsystems will soon provide button-sized information-gathering nodes for applications ranging from environmental monitoring (weather, air and water quality) to more general health care applications (wearable and implantable biomedical systems). In so doing, they will provide the front-ends of both local and global information networks and bridges from microelectronics to the cellular world. In layman's terms, this is research that will take today's cell phone or heart pacemaker to the next level of sophistication and beyond!
b. Costs in terms of people and brainpower
In addition to jeopardizing new ideas and critical scientific advances in many areas, failure to adequately invest in a research field often constricts the supply of trained people who are able to apply and exploit research advances. In 1999, the number of doctorates awarded from U.S. institutions to students in the physical sciences and engineering was the lowest in six years. At the same time, graduate school enrollments and the total number of undergraduate degrees issued in the physical sciences and engineering have been declining (Figure 2).
This point was amplified recently by the National Research Council in its 2001 report entitled Trends in Federal Support of Research and Graduate Education which stated that ''The effect of cutting research is both direct, in reducing the number of research assistant positions, and indirect, in signaling to prospective graduate students that some fields offer poor career opportunities.''
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The steady decrease in degrees awarded at both undergraduate and graduate levels in the physical sciences and engineering should be of great concern to Members of Congress. Of equal concern should be the fact that increasingly, U.S. universities have to turn to foreign students to fill full-time graduate level positions in these fields. In fact, according to NSF figures, by 1999 the number of foreign graduate students enrolled in engineering in the U.S. actually surpassed the number of U.S. students (Figure 3).
These trends threaten the future staffing capabilities of U.S. universities and industry, and particularly of the mission-directed national laboratories which by law are often required to hire U.S. citizens trained in these fields. Currently, only 26 percent of DOE lab scientists and engineers are under the age of 40, compared to a national average of 40 percent in industry and other government organizations (Sandia National Laboratory, DOE Workforce Issue Paper, December 2000). The graying workforce at our national labs is particularly disturbing since it is often the young scientists and engineers who generate the new and creative ideas that drive innovation.
The DOE Inspector General has highlighted the emerging recruitment and retention problems facing the national labs in a July 2001 Audit Report:
''The Department has been unable to recruit and retain critical scientific and technical staff in a manner sufficient to meet identified mission requirements. . .. [I]f this trend continues, the Department could face a shortage of nearly 40 percent in these classifications within five years.''
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While one would like to think this problem is confined to DOE laboratories, both NASA and Department of Defense laboratories are facing similar shortages in their scientific and technical workforces as well.
The shortfall in skilled U.S. workers in the high tech sector has also been directly reflected in the growing dependence of U.S. industry on highly educated foreign nationals who hold H1B visas. In fact, last year there were more H1B visas issued than graduates with B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in science, math and engineering.
4) Criteria for determining the ''correct'' NSF funding level
So, what level of funding is the right level of funding for the NSF? Like determining the correct balance in funding between scientific disciplines, this is another difficult if not impossible question to answer. . .and perhaps one that is better left to lawmakers rather than an electrical engineer. However, I will try to define some criteria that I think ought to be followed to help you to guide you.
1) All proposals rated ''very good'' or better should be awarded funding. If this step alone had occurred in FY 2001, using the current average NSF award size it would have cost the Federal Government an additional $813 million. However, it is important to note that since these proposals were already reviewed very favorably, funding them will eliminate administrative inefficiencies in the system at both the level of the investigator that submits the grant proposal and the reviewer who sees no favorable outcome from his/her review despite rating the proposal very favorably. Such a funding increase will at the same time go a long way to help to rejuvenate core areas of science, mathematics, and engineering and prevent young investigators from becoming discouraged.
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2) Grant size and duration should be increased. Increasing the size and time period of grants will enable researchers to concentrate more of their time on working with students and concentrate on research and discovery rather than paper work.
3) New and exciting multidisciplinary initiatives should be promoted and encouraged. Significant growth in NSF budgets over the next several years will allow the Foundation to support focused initiatives such as those launched in recent years in nanotechnology, biocomplexity, information technology research and workforce development, which have proven to be very effective in fostering new and innovative multidisciplinary efforts on the UM campus.
4) NSF graduate student stipends should be increased. Graduate students are the next generation of scientists and engineers. They cannot do cutting-edge research and learn if they are having trouble just making ends meet. The ongoing decline in enrollment in graduate science, engineering and mathematics programs is due in part to losing potential graduate students to high-paying industrial jobs and the financial sacrifice of attending graduate school. With an additional $23 million above the FY 2002 baseline, NSF can increase these stipends from $21,500 per year in FY 2002 to $25,000 in FY 2003.
5) More money should be provided to fund large-scale research, such as that supported by NSF's Major Research Equipment and Facilities and Construction and Major Research Instrumentation accounts. This includes funding new and exciting ideas, such as NEON and Earth Scope, as proposed in this year's budget.
6) An increase in funding for fundamental research in those specific areas that will assist in our homeland and anti-terrorism efforts. NSF already has played a significant role in the dealing with issues that have arisen as a result of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Additional funding can and should be provided to help advance research in critical areas, such as information security, detection of airborne hazards, structural studies to improve building safety and the social and psychological issues that surround terrorism.
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7) The pace of growth in NSF should at least track that of the NIH, and therefore grow at a rate of no less than 15 percent for each of the next five years. Such a growth rate would allow for the doubling of the NSF budget over five years, a goal which has been already been endorsed by several Members of Congress, including some on the Science Committee. Even with these funding increases, the total NSF budget will not even come close to that of the NIH.
Increased support of these fundamental scientific disciplines is needed to guarantee continued scientific progress at the rate to which the U.S. has become accustomed. Moreover, it is critical to maintain a pool of people trained in these fundamental scientific disciplines. In closing, let me reiterate my view that the NSF has articulated a well-balanced program that allows for rapid progress in key emerging areas while, at the same time, establishing healthy new momentum in support for fundamental research. A funding increase on the order of fifteen percent would establish a more appropriate balance between medical and non-medical research activities, which as I have discussed, are mutually interdependent in many ways.
BIOGRAPHY FOR STEPHEN W. DIRECTOR
Stephen W. Director is Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan. He received the B.S. degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1965 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1967 and 1968, respectfully. He was on the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Florida, Gainesville from 19681977. He joined Carnegie Mellon University in 1977 where he was the U. A. and Helen Whitaker University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 1982 to 1991, and then Dean of the College of Engineering until June of 1996. Dr. Director is a pioneer in the area of computer aided VLSI design and has a long record of commitment to, and innovation in, engineering education. He has published over 150 papers and authored or co-authored six texts. Dr. Director currently serves as Chair of the National Academy of Engineering Committee on Engineering Education and serves on several industrial boards and committees and as a consultant to industry and academia. He has received numerous awards for his research and educational contributions including the Education Medal from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) in 1998. Dr. Director is a Fellow of the IEEE and a member the National Academy of Engineering.
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Dr. DIRECTOR. Thank you.
Chairman SMITH. Thank you. We have one vote. The Subcommittee will stand in recess for approximately 12 minutes while we go take our vote.
Chairman SMITH. Dr. Harpp.
STATEMENT OF KAREN S. HARPP, PH.D., ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF GEOLOGY, COLGATE UNIVERSITY
Dr. HARPP. Chairman Smith, and Members of the Committee, I would like to thank you for inviting me. I would like to ask that my written statement be included in the record. Today I would like to address some of the questions that were outlined in my invitation. I represent small, undergraduate institutions and thought that the best contribution I could make to this committee would be to describe how NSF has helped us to meet the challenges posed by our unique position in the educational field.
The first question I was asked was about the NSF support that I have received. Let me describe some of the grants that I have been lucky enough to receive over my career so far. I was fortunate to have been awarded an NSF graduate fellowship initially, and this made it possible for me to pursue my strong interdisciplinary interests in chemistry and geology giving me the freedom to design a doctoral program uniquely suited to my interest without having to fit into pre-existing disciplines. The first NSF grant I received during my early years as a faculty member was for a major piece of analytical instrumentation, math comptometer for the analysis of water and rock samples.
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It was a grant that enabled me to initiate my research program quickly and efficiently. This major research instrumentation program served an invaluable role by enabling faculty at undergraduate institutions to establish state of the art facilities for undergraduate research training. Instruments like the one in my lab exposed students to the types of equipment they will encounter ultimately in the work force or in graduate school. This is critical.
Moreover, the NSF has programs supporting major research instrumentation through the MRI and RUI program, and assisting in securing equipment for courses in labs through the CCLI program and DUE is an appropriate portfolio from our perspective. Those kinds of equipment and support for the time required to bring that equipment on line are critical for faculty like me who are actively integrating research with that.
Based on the work facilitated by the MRI grant, I was successful in obtaining a career grant from NSF. Over the past four years this has made it possible for me to develop courses, research, and outreach opportunities for my students that otherwise would never have been possible. One example of the course is geochemistry which I teach in which students design research projects based on environmental problems significant to citizens in upstate New York.
These are real science projects in that the outcomes are unknown at the outset and to give students an initial exposure to the entire research process with all its challenges and associated difficulties. Students emerge generally energized by having discovered something new about the world and excited about making a difference in someone's life because of their actual original scientific work.
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Another example is the related outreach program that I run through which my students bring hands-on examples of every day science to younger children especially in the middle schools across central New York, which is a rare opportunity for students to divulge their knowledge or experience their knowledge to the younger children. My description of this experience through my career award helps to answer one of the questions of interest to this subcommittee, how NSF funds are used to attract students into science and to motivate them to move into science.
Even at this small scale, the NSF support for my basic research has affected the knowledge, I find, fairly directly. I have tracked students who participated in my NSF-funded programs over the past four years, and three of them are already teaching, four are in industrial careers, and about 16 are in or moving into graduate careers where they ultimately intend to teach at the end of the pipeline. This is fairly strong evidence for the impact of the single grants supporting an individual faculty member on the careers of futures scientists.
The career grant has also helped me to evolve beyond simply running an analytical facility on the campus to establish an independent productive research program involving undergraduates. We are researching the origin of the Galapagos Islands, to give you an example, mapping them and bringing back rock samples to the lab where we carry out chemical analyses and we piece together not just the origins of the islands but important information about how volcanic systems work on a global scale.
Each project involves numerous Colgate undergrads who participate in every step of the research project. They learn everything from data processing to the operation of sophisticated analytical instrumentation to have you jump successfully from a small motor boat onto an island without landing on an iguana. It is important. It is exciting because we are discovering information about our world that is new to all of us.
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Many of the challenges that we facethere is a long list of challenges that we face, and I am just going to describe one in particular. Many of my colleagues and I consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have what we call one of the greatest completely impossible job that we could have. Increasingly, the demand and our desire to build a research rich environment for the students has become overwhelming. In an undergraduate setting it takes longer to accomplish our research goals than at focused research institutions because of limited resources available for building and maintaining laboratory facilities, limited time with each research student, and extensive teaching responsibilities.
Although these questions are present at all career stages those of us in the pre-tenure phases of our careers feel the constraints of time particularly intensely. The pressures on our time are increased by the need to bring students who come to our campuses more preparation for or a phobia about science and up the level necessary to have a successful undergraduate learning experience.
Quite simply, we run out of time every single day. The question about the level and balance in the NSF portfolio can be answered indirectly through my experiences as well. Without support to connect my research and teaching with funding across NSF directorate, the learning of the students at Colgate would be less rich. They might be sitting in a classroom in upstate New York listening to me talk about volcanoes instead of actually joining me as colleagues and research on the flanks of volcanoes, both in the MRI equipped lab and during our trip to the Galapagos.
I should mention here that there are also many other NSF-funded projects within the Division of Science at Colgate that help strengthen our programs significantly. For instance, the CCLI grant for bringing innovation and introductory courses give my students the confidence that they can succeed and allow us to explore more effective ways of teaching science. For my students research and education are fully integrated as they are for me.
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Finally, it is clear that there is no simple formula for determining criteria for funding within the NSF portfolio. Allotment of funds should be governed by high quality proposals for innovative ideas with the potential to advance the frontiers of science and science education. NSF must take into account that research in undergraduate settings is not progressive at the traditional rate or necessarily along the same path as it does in research institutes, and it must understand the importance of flexibility and the types and the magnitude of funding opportunity.
Undergraduate institutions provide the essential link between research and education. Here the students get their first taste of real science and they take their initial steps toward successful careers as scientists and informed citizens. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be able to participate in this process, and I am grateful for the continued support of the National Science Foundation. Thank you for your attention.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Harpp follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF KAREN S. HARPP
Thank you for inviting me to present remarks for your consideration as you craft legislation authorizing future programs and funding for the National Science Foundation. My remarks reflect experience as a junior faculty member at Colgate University whose career, and the careers of my students, have been substantially enhanced by NSF support. The decisions you make about future programs at the NSF have a direct impact on my career as a scholar and on the lives and careers of the students who are my scientific colleagues. Each of the grants that I have received from the National Science Foundation has supported the involvement of students, from innovation in curriculum reform to participating as colleagues in my research. I am also pleased to speak as a representative of the Independent Colleges Office,(see footnote 3) a national consortium of private liberal arts colleges, and for my over 1100 colleagues in the Project Kaleidoscope Faculty for the 21st Century Network.(see footnote 4)
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The National Science Foundation describes its programs and budgets from the perspective of people and ideas. I will focus primarily on people in setting forth some recommendations.
To motivate undergraduate students to pursue careers in the fields of science and technology, including K12 teaching, the following experiences are of particular importance to give them a true sense of what kind of careers they might explore, research scientist, member of a technology-based industry or K12 teacher. Students need support:
to have extended engagement in research with faculty mentors during the academic year and in the summer, both on their home campus and beyond, to experience first-hand what scientists do
to learn in a research-rich environment from the very first classes through capstone experiences for majors
for going into elementary and secondary classrooms as resource and support for teachers, to introduce them to K12 teaching as a possible career
for industrial internships, field experiences and study abroad opportunities, to grasp how to connect what they are learning to real-world problems and opportunities.
This requires expanding the current scope and level of funding for the Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) program to provide opportunities for greater numbers of undergraduates and linking those opportunities more closely to their studies on their home campus; ensuring that the Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement Program (CCLI) within the EHR Directorate is sustained, so that new directions in science, as well as new technologies and pedagogies, can shape the undergraduate STEM curriculum of the future. This would also require an expansion of the current G/K12 program to support the involvement of undergraduates as teaching fellows in elementary and secondary schools.
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To be prepared as a teaching scholar in an undergraduate community, graduate students need support, among other things:
for first-hand experience with teaching and with learning about teaching, including how research infuses education within the undergraduate learning environment.
This requires a greater focus on learning/teaching centers at doctoral universities and a new fellowship program for post-doctoral students to work in a predominantly undergraduate institution with a distinguished teaching scholar. The expanded fellowship stipend is welcome.
If those goals for student learning are to drive the development of policies and programs at the National Science Foundation and on campuses across the country, then:
faculty responsible for the learning of undergraduates need support:
to keep up-to-date with advances in their scholarly field, particularly with the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of science and with the technologies that are changing the ways science is practiced and learned
to develop more effective ways to integrate their research into their teaching
to learn about new pedagogical approaches developed elsewhere and for assistance in adapting those approaches for their local circumstances
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC to gain the skills and understandings to make the study of science and mathematics a central part of the education of all undergraduates
to becomeand stayconnected to the larger world of scholars pursuing the transformation of undergraduates STEM programs.
This would require a greater diversity of opportunities for faculty career enhancement, in size, duration and character. One size does not fit all, and the institutions for whom I am speaking are remarkable in their diversity. The current Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) program and the Research Opportunity Awards, models for the kind of support needed by faculty; these should be continued and expanded. The Collaborative RUI, which links faculty across disciplines and institutions and serves to build the interdisciplinary teams that are working in the most interesting scientific arenas, should also be expanded across all the research directorates. Attention should be given also to the increasingly international dimension of the 21st century scientific community.
Why are these programs that support and enhance faculty careers so critical and how do they affect the lives and careers of students?
What works best in attracting students into the study and practice of science is giving them first-hand experience with what scientists do. This can only happen if faculty have the time, the tools and the connections to keep research-active and to connect their research to the learning of their students. I have attached information on current careers of former students, illustrating the various paths open today to students with a solid foundation in science and mathematics.
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I am fortunate to have received a number of NSF grants that have supported my research and my efforts to integrate my research and teaching responsibilities. Each of these grants has been critical at a particular stage in my career, beginning with the NSF Graduate Fellowship that supported my doctoral studies at Cornell University and made it possible for me to pursue my strongly interdisciplinary interests in chemistry and geology. I did not have to fit into a pre-existing and defined research field. The support that I received from NSF to organize and attend professional conferences and to collaborate with senior colleagues has been critical, particularly in my first years as a faculty member. These connections (and others) brought a newly-minted Ph.D. immediately into her peer community studying the 'evolution of ocean island volcanoes.'
Those early grants and the connections they facilitated set the stage for my current Career grant, through which I have designed an interdisciplinary chemistry curriculum for my students at Colgate, using the Galapagos Islands as a case study. My NSF Career grant has supported the development of projects that have brought my research into my classroom. For example, I teach a course in environmental geochemistry and analysis, in which students design research projects based on local environmental problemscarrying out these out from inception to completion, including reporting to the community. This is the kind of discovery-based learning that all undergraduates should experience, personally involved in projects for which the outcome is not known. They emerge from these experiences energized by having discovered something new about their world and for having made a difference in someone's life because of their scientific work.
And my story can be duplicated in the careers of faculty on other campuses who have received comparable levels of support and encouragement, particularly within the Project Kaleidoscope Faculty 21 community. Let me state very clearly, from our collective experience, that students given repeated opportunities to become part of a scientific/learning community during their undergraduate years are 'hooked.' They become interested in majoring in science quicker than those who are experiencing science only through the words and actions of their professors.
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There are many valuable aspects of this learning opportunity, but I would like to link the lessons learned from my personal experienceand of that of colleagues on the campuses for whom I speakto some larger national issues. I have been teaching at Colgate since 1998, and am carefully tracking the students with whom I have worked most closely. Three are now in industrial careers using their scientific background; four are teaching at the K12 level. Eight are in graduate school and another six are applying to or choosing between graduate schools.
Why should we consider new and expanded programs to enhance careers of faculty responsible for the learning of undergraduate students today?
Faculty responsible for undergraduate programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics that serve 21st century students, science and society lead very complicated professional lives. Faculty in earlier generations were evaluated and valued, to a large extent, on the numbers of majors sent forth to become Ph.D.s, a process in which the brightest and best were identified early in their academic career and pointed in the direction of graduate school. The responsibility of faculty was clear and precise.
The picture is much more complicated now, and becoming more complicated as we look into the future. Today, faculty in all institutions are challenged to work with an increasingly diverse population of students who come with widely varying levels of preparation for college-level. At the same time, scientific knowledge is expanding exponentially. There are multiple challenges in thinking through a national agenda that serves students, science and society.
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One challenge is the diversity of institutions, even within the independent sector. Differing missions and circumstances help define the roles and responsibilities of faculty on a particular campus. Two-year colleges, serving a student body diverse in age and ethnic background, with a large number of part-time faculty, will have expectations for faculty development that differ from those on campuses with a different student constituency and collection of faculty.
Another challenge relates to serving faculty at all career stages:
early-career faculty may have little teaching experience, on-going research projects, and institutional pressures to publish results. These faculty generally have been socialized in large research-driven departments and may now be teaching in very different environments.
mid-career faculty may seek new directions for research and may require opportunities to retrain and retool using new instrumentation and methods.
senior faculty often take on the role of mentor for junior faculty colleagues as well as for students.
part-time faculty may find it nearly impossible to maintain research agendas but must remain current with respect to developments in their field.
Finally, the most difficult challenge are the changing roles and responsibilities for faculty, who are expected to:
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be involved with the design, implementation and assessment of courses that serve all students, no matter their background or career aspiration
be aware of emerging research from cognitive scientists on how people learn
be interested in capturing the essence of that research as they plan student learning experiences
know something about what is happening at peer institutions and within their disciplinary community in regard to exploring new pedagogies and technologies
know something about the emerging field of assessment/evaluation and incorporate that knowledge into their scholarly responsibilities
keep active as scholars within their professional community, remaining on top of advances in their fields, with particular attention to emerging interdisciplinary directions
be a visible advocate for science (STEM) on their campus, making connections with colleagues in the development of general education and interdisciplinary programs
be a civic scientist, keeping abreast of the public S&T issues and bringing their expertise into the discussion
be on the look-out for stellar candidates for careers as K12 teachers, and to have K16 connections that encourage undergraduates to pursue these careers
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identify candidates for careers in the 21st century high-tech workforce, and to have industrial connections that encourage undergraduates to pursue these careers.
Of course, no one can do this at all career stages, but the range of roles and responsibilities of faculty in the coming decade must be recognized as decisions are made about funding priorities and programs both within federal agencies and on our home campuses.
The important lesson from my experience is that it takes a variety of grant programs, of different sizes, targeted at different career stages, and that support research time and give access to essential instrumentation at critical times. Programs that encourage collaborations, particularly among between predominantly undergraduate institutions and between these institutions and research universities are most useful. The opportunities to share sophisticated analytical facilities and collaborate in learning new techniques and in exploring science at the edges must be sustained and expanded. There are efficient ways to do this, from supporting short travel grants to summer research opportunities in academe and industry for both faculty and studentsgraduate and undergraduate alike.
Let me end by emphasizing the value of collaborations and networks in building and sustaining an undergraduate science, mathematics, engineering and technological community that truly serves the national interest. Eight colleges within the ICO consortium are involved in a pilot G/K12 program involving undergraduates. The experience of these institutions suggests that a broader program would be an effective way to collaborate with K12 colleagues in capturing the interest of undergraduates in K12 teaching careers. As a member of the Project Kaleidoscope Faculty for the 21st Century, I recognize the power of groups working together in pursuing a common agenda and in sharing ideas and materials about what works for them in their career as scholar. The emerging National Science Digital Library offers another potential significant resource for faculty across the Nation to enhance the learning environment for their undergraduate students.
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This is a challenging time, but the opportunities are great. It is a privilege to be a part of the community of scholars engaged in the study and practice of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
BIOGRAPHY FOR KAREN S. HARPP
Assistant Professor of Geology, Cornell University
Teaching Specialties: Geochemistry and petrology, instrumental analysis, volcanology, megageology
Research Interests: Geochemistry and petrology of hotspots and the mantle (current focus: the origin and evolution of the Galapagos Islands and plume-ridge interactions); environmental geochemistry (local projects in development); analytical geochemistry and trace element analysis (ICPMS); science education and outreach programs with an emphasis on hands-on experiences.
Distinctions: Churchill Fellow, NSF research and equipment grants
Chairman SMITH. Dr. Harpp, thank you. Dr. Feller.
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STATEMENT OF IRWIN FELLER, PH.D., PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY
Dr. FELLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the invitation to appear before the committee. My testimony addresses the question of criteria for funding for NSF. This is a question that has come before this committee and the Congress many times. How much is needed, how much is enough. The economists have answered the question demonstrating the high social rates of return, investments of basic research, and the growth of specific technologies or industries.
My testimony today focuses on three allocation criteria and two management criteria, which I propose for the committee's consideration. The criteria are intellectual excitement at the frontiers of knowledge, second, contributions to national priorities, and, third, capabilities of American universities for research and education.
The management criteria are documented performance, and competitive merit based review of proposals. Intellectual excitement means that when we stand at the frontier, we see great challenges and great opportunities not in an average base. As the testimony of my colleagues would suggest that there is clear evidence that NSF is unable to fund a large number of high quality proposals coming before it.
As your introductory comments also suggest that the level of funding on average of an NSF award is too low. I use low here in a very specific, precise sense. Low means that a number of senior researchers are discouraged from applying for NSF awards. This is a concern that has been raised by the Committee for the Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences and for the economic science. There is a great concern that the average level award, particularly of social behavior and economic sciences, is discouraging faculty from applying for awards from NSF, diverting their research agendas to other federal agencies or simply not pursuing careers in research.
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The average size award is so low in many cases that the historic coupling of research and education, be it graduate or undergraduate education, is under severe strain. As a research director of a social science institute, I have seen many occasions in which faculty have been forced to delete the graduate student or the undergraduate from their proposal either under initial submission or in negotiations with program officers about fitting their award into the amount of funding that NSF has provided.
This has two additional detrimental effects. One, it forces faculty to adjust their research agendas to the amount of funding they think is realistic. So rather than essentially over time building to large and more complex, more challenging questions, essentially they adjust their research agenda to what is available. The other detrimental effect is that graduate students and undergraduates see the life of their faculty mentors and they understand that this is a constant grind of chasing after dollars, and therefore at a stage in their career where their talents and energies could be developed in many areas opting out of going into research, either academia or in other activities.
This was the investigator-initiated thought of NSF funding. NSF also plays a catalytic and leadership role in the transformation of American universities from a more interdisciplinary perspective and then also coupling of the research that is done in universities with industry and other performers in our society. NSF support of engineering and research science and technology centers and its interdisciplinary graduate education program are critical elements in the continued revitalization and modernization of American universities. Unfortunately, NSF program offices and senior officials are often in a situation of having to trade off into zero some way of funding of individual investigators and the core directorates and the center for interdisciplinary programs.
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Adequate funding is needed for both of these elements. Clearly, NSF has a leadership role in several of the national priorities established by Congress and the President's office. This relates to information technology, nanoscience and nanotechnologies. The importance of these areas relates to national priorities and they should be funded.
NSF structures its budget, its GPI program, around ideas, tools, and people. I am most comfortable as a social scientist speaking about ideas and people, and my base line estimates is a logical question to ask. My testimony is what does it amount to. I would say in terms of ideas and people the NSF budget merits an increase from the 8 to 10 percent range and which one would add on top of that major research and facilities, but again that is somewhat out of my domain.
But this recommendation is coupled with two other criteria. One, that the NSF as with all federal science agencies and indeed with all federal agencies, document the performance relative for the funds. GPI is very complex. It is not easy for science agencies to do this. As chair of a social science advisory panel, I and my colleagues have grappled with this issue. It does not mandate a discovery per year of per dollar but clearly NSF and other agencies should enter into discussions with committees of Congress of what could reasonably be expected in terms of performance.
My final comment is that the best investment of federal funds in NSF and other science agencies is allocated through the repetitive review system. This includes the allowing for targeted research areas and clusters of programs for institutions and regions. And the reason I emphasize this not only will it give you the best science, and this has been said many, many times, from my visits and my work on many campuses in a cross section from the top 5 to the bottom 200 suggest a competitive merit review is a way in which universities and faculties get better.
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By striving to meet national standards through competition, they reach, they stretch, and they do improve. When they essentially are earmarked, they atrophy. They become very comfortable with what they receive, and administrators have difficulty moving them up to the next notch simply because they are content with that they have. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Feller follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF IRWIN FELLER
Thank you for the invitation to testify before the House Committee on Science's Subcommittee on Research about re-authorization of the National Science Foundation (NSF). My testimony today focuses on the criteria to be used in determining the optimal level of future funding for NSF.
The search for answers to the question(s), ''how much is needed?'' or, alternatively, ''how much is enough?'' is perennial. These questions have been posed many times both by and before this committee and the Congress. Over the past decades, numerous well-conceived models and algorithms, buttressed by empirical studies, have been advanced to answer such questions. Economists, in particular, have produced several estimates of the high social rates of return to public sector investment in research and development (R&D). Other studies have approached the 'how much is needed' question using ratios of public sector R&D expenditures to gross domestic product. Still other studies have highlighted the contributions of federal agency support in the development of significant technological innovations; I participated in just such a study, which documented NSF's contributions to a series of major technological innovations, including magnetic resonance imaging and the Internet. More recently, the National Academies has benchmarked the standing of U.S. science against international standards. Each of these approaches contributes importantly to demonstrating the historic and continuing value of the Federal Government's investment in basic research. None of these by themselves, however, is sufficiently specific to address the question of next year's or near-term calculations of the desired level of funding for NSF.
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The criteria I offer today are more modest in scope. Their virtue is, I believe, in their grounding in the distinctive place of NSF in the U.S. system of research and development, and in their reasonable specificity. They also constitute a bottoms-up, program-specific approach to determining NSF's appropriations. Thus, they can be used to match budgets to goals and performance, which, in turn, serves to foster accountability and facilitate performance assessment.
The criteria I offer here derive from and are consistent with the considerable literature produced by economists on the social rates of return to public R&D. They are heavily shaped, as well, by my experiences as a reviewer of many investigator-initiated and center proposals submitted to NSF, as an independent evaluator of NSF's Engineering Research Centers and EPSCoR programs, as a member of the NSF Committee of Visitors that reviewed the Economics program, and for the past three years as Chair of the Advisory Committee to NSF's Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, by my 25 years as an academic research administrator, and by a series of studies that have involved field-based research on a cross-section of American universities and colleges on the way in which universities and faculties conduct research.
I propose three allocation criteria for the Subcommittee's consideration. I also advance two management criteria, which I deem essential to the effective use of the public's funds, given any budget size. Associated with each criterion are specific details about NSF's current activities and needs, leading to budget calculations.
The allocation criteria are:
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Intellectual Excitement at the Frontiers of Knowledge
Contributions to National Priorities
Capabilities of American Universities for Research and Education
The management criteria are:
Competitive, Merit-based Review of Proposals, allowing, where productive and consistent with related criteria of quality and relevance, for research and educational initiatives targeted to specific national priorities, clusters of institutions, or regions.
Although presented separately, these criteria constitute a linked, reinforcing set of scientific, organizational, and managerial principles.
Intellectual Excitement at the Frontiers of Knowledge
To justify current or increased levels of funding of basic research requires more than an endless frontier to science; it also requires an assessment that as the vista, however dimly seen, from the frontier is that of an intellectually fecund valley or challenging mountain, not an arid expanse.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I truly believe that intellectual excitement and merit characterizes the research frontier in the domains of science and technology that receive support from NSF. I stay close to my training, research, and experience in providing an illustration of this statement.
Service on the SBE Advisory Committee has afforded me the opportunity to read the COV reports on several of SBE's component divisions. Reading the COV report on Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, areas outside my immediate fields of research, truly produced a sense of what is meant by the frontiers of knowledge. The report details the work of researchers who are recombining and reshaping existing principles, working across conventional disciplinary boundaries, and using new techniques to generate new theories and understandings of language, learning, and perception. The societal relevance of this new knowledge is obvious. It has the potential to lead to speech recognition machines that produce and understand natural-sounding running speech. Observing my two 2b-year-old granddaughters begin to speak in full sentences gives me both new intrinsic intellectual fascination with research on language learning in infants as well as a keen appreciation of how such research may impact the design of pedagogy.
Economics likewise is experiencing a period of high intellectual productivity. Of particular interest, as noted in the COV report on Economics, is the application of principles derived from basic game theory and theories of incentives, contracting, and governance into the design of new and revised market arrangements for a myriad of private sector commodities.
Two factors though, documented both in the COV reports and by my experiences as a researcher and research administrator, point to under-investment in these areas of research, and more generally across the domains of research supported by NSF. The first is the relatively low average dollar amount and duration of NSF awards. The median and average size award from NSF for FY 2001 was $84,636 and $113,773, respectively; for SBE, it was $51,251 and $66,585, respectively. Even though these amounts have increased somewhat since FY 1999, they are still low.
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I use ''low'' here in two specific ways.
First, the level of support provided by NSF, given probabilities of being funded, is inadequate to attract the energies and talents of experienced, usually senior researchers. This assessment is independently expressed in the Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences and Economics COV reports. Several of these researchers, discouraged about their prospects for funding from NSF, are likely turning to and receiving support from other sources. Some social science researchers clearly have turned to NIH, albeit not necessarily to conduct studies on the fundamental research questions they would have pursued had NSF funding been adequate. More generally, though, the COV reports reflect concern that some number of talented researchers are making mid-career decisions to shift out of basic research because of limitations on the funding of their research.
Second, researchers adjust their research agendasthe questions they ask and the methods they useto reasoned calculations of funding levels. Low levels of funding induce limited research horizons. Progress may be made, but it is at a slower, more halting pace that is attainable given a larger initial supply of provisions. Indeed, my experience suggests that one of the major transitions to be made by an academic researcher involves raising his or her sights to ask more challenging questions and to correspondingly undertake more complex, high-risk but high pay-off projects. Unhappily, I have seen established researchers so socialized to structuring their research agendas to fit NSF investigator initiated funding levels that they don't make this transition.
This low level of funding of individual projects has two additional detrimental impacts, each of which I can attest to from personal experience. The first has to do with strains on the links between research and education. The coupling of research and education in its universities is one of the distinctive characteristics of the U.S. national R&D system, and is a model that is increasingly being adopted by other countries. Low, even if modestly rising, award budgets however are making it increasingly difficult for faculty to provide support for students in their proposals, and more particularly in their final budgets once they enter into pre-award negotiations with program officers about reduced levels of funding. The result is a complex, not always cooperative game involving the principal investigator, the program officer, and one or more university representatives about which, if any of the parties will provide project support for graduate or undergraduate students. The outcome at times, unfortunately, is that support for students is greatly reduced or deleted from the proposal; the faculty member instead turns to wage payroll or non-student employees.
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The second is that students with talents and aptitudes for research perceive research as life on a treadmill, one that constantly requires them to run in place to stand still, much less progress. Being at a formative period of their career, graduate students are apt to focus on those aspects of academic life that involve constantly writing proposals rather than the challenge and excitement of finding answers to intrinsically and extrinsically rewarding questions. Talented and flexible as they are, they opt out of academic careers and indeed careers in research in other settings, becoming in many ways productive members of society but also failing to replenish or add to the Nation's pool of scientific and engineering personnel.
Together, these factorsthe true excitement that exists at the frontiers of knowledge and the low levels of project-based supportsuggest the need for increases in funds for NSF's core research directorates.
Contributions to National Priorities
An historic source of strength in the U.S. system of publicly funded research has been its ability to integrate the research agendas of the scientific community with those of society at large, as expressed through the priorities articulated by society's elected representatives. Public willingness to support curiosity-driven research has proven to yield manifold benefits, often along lines unanticipated either by the researcher or the funding agency. At the same time, the scientific community has repeatedly demonstrated its responsiveness to undertaking research on questions deemed of national importance by the Congress and the Executive Branch.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This arrangement continues today. In addition to its support of investigator-initiated proposals organized about both traditional and evolving domains of knowledge, NSF also is the lead agency or major participant in several national research priorities, such as information technology, nanoscience, and biocomplexity. Some of these initiatives have their origins in NSF's ability to articulate the scientific merit and societal relevance of new research thrusts and thus garner Congressional support; some flow from Congressional and Executive determination of the importance of fields of science and engineering to national objectives in defense, economic competitiveness, and the quality of life.
Conversion of this criterionContributions to National Prioritiesinto budgetary terms entails determining the importance attached to the priority and an estimate of the rate at which progress towards specific scientific or technological objectives is related to the level of funding. Without intending to minimize the inherent uncertainties associated with research anywhere along the frontiers of knowledge, research initiatives directed towards national priorities appear to be more amenable than curiosity-driven research to roadmapping and goal-setting techniques. In turn, it should be possible to base budget decisions on a combination of projected scientific and technological advances, systematically adjusted by feedback from documented performance.
Capabilities of American Universities for Research and Education
Capabilities, as used here, has two dimensions: organizational and equipment and facilities.
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NSF both follows the priorities of the academic research community in funding research and leads faculty and universities in stimulating new fields, approaches, and organizational arrangements in research and education. Recent developments in the life sciences, nanosciences, information technology, materials science, and cognitive sciences attest to the constant churning and need for reconfiguration of traditional, disciplinary modes of organizing academic research and graduate education. The pace of change towards interdisciplinary approaches to research and education is greater in some fields than in others, in some universities than in others, and in some departments and colleges than in others. Inertia and resistance, however, unfortunately remain powerful impediments to needed organizational and cultural changes on university campuses.
NSF's leadership and catalytic role in fostering interdisciplinary research and education are among its most important contributions to the continuing vitality of America's universities and colleges. In addition to its contributions to substantive fields of science and engineering research and education, NSF's Engineering Research Centers, Science and Technology Centers, and IGERT programs have played critical roles on several campuses in demonstrating the value of interdisciplinary modes of activity and organization. NSF-supported centers and educational programs have served as ''proof of concept,'' becoming the exemplar to be followed by the university in strengthening its other academic units and programs. Adding to the special contribution of these programs is that they are awarded in national competitions, thus serving to elevate both the sights and performance of a good number of institutions. NSF's ability to function as a constructive agent of change is limited by the deeply rooted and indeed legitimate commitments to support investigator-initiated awards, which, as I noted above, are currently funded at a less than an adequate level.
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Based on my experiences as a member of review panels for STC and IGERT programs, in which exacting reviews proved that other meritorious proposals could be funded, and after making detailed studies of the ERC program, I believe that these programs, and related NSF programs that foster interdisciplinary approaches to research and education, should be expanded.
Research Equipment and Facilities
Scientific and engineering research increasingly is a capital-intensive activity. This statement obviously holds for fields such as physics and astronomy, which characteristically have participated in NSF's major research equipment programs. But it also applied to the social and behavioral sciences. Social science research, for example, is increasingly dependent on the accumulation and processing of large data sets, requiring larger computer facilities, access to state-of-the art information technologies, and employment of trained, permanent staffs. The level of interest in SBE's recent infrastructure program, and the number of high-quality proposals submitted to this competition, attest to research opportunities that have yet to be adequately exploited.
This bottoms-up approach to NSF's budget provides a basis for calculating a future, or at least near-term, level of funding. I have provided specific illustrations for two of the criteriaaverage size of award, and support of interdisciplinary centerswith which I have personal knowledge, and general directions for the other two.
The short period of time between the Committee's invitation and my testimony and my lack of detailed familiarity with selected aspects of NSF's budget lead me to proceed diffidently, and I believe conservatively, in converting this bottoms-up assessment into a budget recommendation. As a general approximation though, employment of the criteria noted above, coupled with OMB's recent commendation of NSF as a well-managed organization (which suggests that there is little organizational slack in NSF's use of its appropriated funds), point to an increase in the 810 percent range, subject to a more detailed analysis of the amounts appropriate for national research initiatives and major equipment and facilities programs.
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This statement of proposed criteria and recommended amounts is linked to two managerial principles. The first is to tie outyear budgets to demonstrated performance. Conversion of the objectives, outcomes, and impacts implicit in the above criteria in performance measures is not a simple matter. It is never repetitious to note that scientific research is inherently a risky undertaking, that the benefits from basic research support are manifested only after many years and then in directions and with uses often not conceived of at the time either of the initial proposal or of the discovery, that failure can have positive value in advancing science and technology, and that research conducted in universities has as one of its key outputs the training of individuals who then go on to productive careers in a myriad of non-academic and academic occupations.
Still, both the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act and the ferment now underway across several federal agencies in developing and refining methodologies for assessing research outcomes and impacts suggest the need to closely link future budgets to shared understandings between the Congress and NSF about what these added funds, as well as existing base-line amounts, are intended to accomplish. The emphasis here, it must be noted, is not commitments for specific discoveriesa risky, if historically implausible requirement or promisebut on agreed-upon indicators of progress, bottlenecks, and relative worth.
The second management principle has to do with the use of competitive, merit-based reviews for awards made under each of the above criteria. At the outset, it is important to note that I see this principle as consistent with Congressional designation of selected research areas, selected clusters of institutions or states, to achieve specific national objectives congruent with the above criteria. What this principle does imply, though, is that whatever the general domain of targeting, competitive, merit-based review processes should be used to select from among applicants within the targeted set.
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Use of competitive, merit-based review, of course, has historically been and continues to be justified on the grounds that it provides for the ''best science,'' or as an economist is more apt to phrase the issue, it represents the most effective means yet devised to efficiently allocate the public's investments in an inherently risky undertaking. Competitive, merit-based review is a means of dealing with the uncertainties associated with basic research. It does not guarantee the best or only answer; but by employing expert judgment to sift through alternative questions and performers, it offers the greatest probability of achieving these answers.
There is another positive reason for emphasizing the use of competitive, merit-based review, a reason that I have found increasingly compelling as I have interacted with faculty and research administrators at a cross-section of American universities, ranging from the historic elite, to productive public research universities, to aspiring, upwardly mobile institutions, several of which participate in NSF and other federal agency EPSCoR programs. It is simply that competitive, merit-based review is a powerful motivating force, indeed at times a necessary motivating force, toward improvement by a faculty member, department, and university. Submitting one's work for peer review is a means of identifying imperfections, and by remedying them producing a higher quality work. Revise-and-resubmit is the essence of academic discourse; it is a critical part of continuous quality improvement.
Indeed, one of the most impressive aspects of my interaction with faculty and administrators at several institutions in EPSCoR states has been their leveraging of funds provided by NSF to build towards national standards, including systematically subjecting their pre-proposals to external reviewers. Several are at the cusp of competing for major NSF center awards, confident of their newly developed capabilities. Whatever the outcome, both winners and losers from these competitions will be performing at a higher level than before.
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In university settings dominated by the earmarking of funds to designated units and universities, faculty and academic units, I have observed atrophy. An interview with a dean of engineering, recruited from outside the university (and state) to energize a moribund college, highlights this scenario. The dean commented on the difficulty of getting the college's faculty to write individual investigator-initiated proposals to NSF, or for that matter to DOD or NASA, which would lay the foundation for subsequent center proposals, because many were assured of summer salary support and graduate student support flowing from an earmark.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Roessner, D., B. Bozeman, I. Feller, C. Hill, and N. Newman (1997). The Role of NSF's Support of Engineering in Enabling Technological Innovation (Washington, DC: SRI International).
BIOGRAPHY FOR IRWIN FELLER
Dr. Irwin Feller is Director of the Institute for Policy Research and Evaluation (IPRE) and Professor of Economics at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), where he has been on the faculty since 1963.
Dr. Feller's current research interests include the economics of academic research, the university's role in technology-based economic development, and the evaluation of Federal and State technology programs. He is the author of Universities and State Governments: A Study in Policy Analysis (Praeger Publishers, 1986) and over 75 refereed journal articles, final research reports, book chapters, and reviews, as well as of numerous papers presented to academic, professional, and policy audiences. He has been a consultant to the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government, The Ford Foundation, National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, COSMOS Corporation, SRI International, U.S. General Accounting Office, and the U.S. Departments of Education and Energy, among others.
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Chairman SMITH. Thank you, Dr. Feller. Mr. Donnelly, Senior Vice President for Research and Development with General Electric.
STATEMENT OF SCOTT C. DONNELLY, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CORPORATE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY
Mr. DONNELLY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and Members of the Subcommittee. It is a pleasure to testify before you today. I work with the General Electric Company and my capacity is the head of research and development and also ASTRA, which is the Alliance for Science Technology Research in America, an organization made up of companies such as ourselves, as well as academic and professional associations to provide a high balance and importance on physical sciences, mathematics, and engineering.
I hope this morning to make a case of support from industry's perspective on the importance of NSF funding. I have provided a chart, which you referenced earlier, that shows the relative levels of funding increase for the National Institute of Health relative to those in the basic sciences, mathematics, and engineering. I brought that chart in order to make a point. I understand in your opening comments that you made it is very difficult for all direct quantifiable connection between industries can be made through these funds and what happens in industry.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think the example of the National Institute of Health is actually a very good example for us to draw upon. While it may not be quantifiable, it identifies a very, very clear impact to society and I think an incredible amount of investment made on behalf of NIH has translated into numerous innovations in the field of health care and a growing and vibrant industry in this country in biotechnology.
I would also like to comment, Mr. Chairman, your comment earlier on magnetic resonance imaging is also very germane to us. As a very large investor and manufacturer of magnetic resonance imaging, we are proud of the role that we play in our technology. I think it is actually a very good example to cite in the National Institute of Health was certainly influential in the development of that technology. It is equally influential today in the development of a lot of biotechnology in health care.
But these technologies don't become products. They don't enter into practice in the clinic without the equal level of support of physicists, engineers, semiconductor development and information technology to take that technology and do basic research and turn that and value added products that fully improve health care in our country. I would like to say that on that note that the multidisciplinary background of the corporate research labs in General Electric are made up certainly of people in life sciences and biology, chemistry, but also through all disciplines of engineering, physics, and all other disciplines.
It is important for us as we undertake and look at new developments and technology that we have a very, very broad base of disciplines. Today our corporate laboratories employ about 2,100 people. Over 750 of those are Ph.Ds, and they come from literally all disciplines, from life sciences to physics to engineering. I think it is very important as we look at our company and our role as an industrial laboratory that because of the nature of our business is to span the realm from aircraft engines to health care to power generation to material businesses it is very important that we see a very strong fundamental research program across all disciplines and all of our technologies.
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We spend a great deal of investment in the company as well but I think it is very important to note that we are a product of our university systems. While our corporate research laboratories are not a manufacturing operation our whole careers are built around electrical property to advance new technologies and turning those from the academic research level translation through industrial laboratories and ultimately into products and services to feed into the economy.
We do that strictly for our people. Today we see a tremendous number of people and a tremendous amount of talent that supports our medical systems business and health care. A lot of that is by virtue of the fact that NIH has had dramatic increases of funding. There is an incredible amount of vibrant programs and talent coming out of all the top medical schools and affiliated programs of those schools. We need to see that same vibrancy and that same amount of talent coming out from our physics departments and our engineering departments in order to translate that technology and turn those into valued added products and services.
The approach to R&D efforts in our laboratory, and I think in most of the universities now, is very, very cross discipline. If you look at the top universities and our research centers teams are working on new technologies whether that is next generation health care, whether that is higher efficiency and more environmentally generation of power, the consumption of consumer products, or developing the next generation of materials feeding virtually all of our products and services. All these teams are made up of disciplinarymulti-disciplinary teams.
We cannot isolate or identify one, and we certainly as a corporate laboratory could never get away with simply hiring people in one specific discipline and one area because we would never be as efficient in bringing that technology to the market. So in conclusion I would like to say I am sure I am preaching to the choir but to understand and have a balanced program that has both funding increases as NIH we have wonderful things for our society in delivering health care but an equally balanced program to see similar such increases for the National Science Foundation insures that we will have vibrant universities and terrific students for industrial laboratories and industries such as ourselves to draw upon to deliver the next generation of technology across all of our product lines. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Donnelly follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF SCOTT C. DONNELLY
Thank you Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee.
My name is Scott Donnelly and I am Senior Vice President for Global Research for the General Electric Company. I am appearing today not only in my capacity for GE, but also as a representative of ASTRA, the Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America. ASTRA is a new organization comprised of members from industry, academia and the many trade and professional associations representing the physical sciences, mathematics and engineering.
ASTRA is making a case for improving the federal research enterprise on two fronts: 1) studying how inadequate federal funding of research in the physical sciences, mathematics and engineering affects our economy and national security; and 2) proposing solutions on how to address the gap in the existing research budgets between the life science discipline and the disciplines of physical science, mathematics and engineering.
When you look at the level of funding for the National Institute of Health (NIH) since 1985, you can clearly see the benefits from a well-funded technology base. See Chart 1.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There is a direct relationship between the level of funding for a scientific discipline and the quantity and quality of scientific talent in that discipline. As funding has increased for NIH since 1985, the number of degrees in life sciences has skyrocketed. This relationship is attributed to the need for scientists to be involved in an area that is perceived as being on the edge of technology.
Unfortunately, the inverse is also true. When you look at the funding levels for the physical sciences, mathematics and engineering, there has been a leveling off and in some cases even a decrease in the amount of funding given to these disciplines. That, in turn, directly correlates to a drop in the number of degrees in those disciplines.
For a company like GE, this means that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to recruit quality talent in the whole spectrum of scientific disciplines in which we work.
But that's not the whole story. A scientific enterprise cannot be managed like a machine with separate parts. Science is interconnected and interdisciplinary. At GE, we know that we cannot continue with our advances in the life sciences without breakthroughs in materials science, computation, mathematics, engineering, chemistry and so many other disciplines.
GE is a world leader in technology with a long tradition and significant experience in attracting world-class talent. If we and other industry leaders are seeing significant challenges in recruiting quality scientific talent, newer or smaller companies would certainly face the same, if not more significant challenges.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC GE's diversity of businesses allows the Global Research organization to be involved in the full spectrum of scientific disciplinesand we consider each technology base is as important as the next. We do not believe that funding for life sciences must be decreased to achieve more balanced growth. This cannot be a zero sum game.
I have been asked to come here today to give you an overview of how GE funds its broad portfolio of technology efforts. First, let me begin with a brief overview of our company.
GE is a diversified technology, manufacturing and services company with a commitment to achieving leadership in each of its key businesses, including:
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GE Global Research is the cornerstone of research and development for GE. From our beginning more than 100 years ago, we have been and continue to be one of the most diversified industrial laboratories in the world. We have more than 2,100 technologists representing the full spectrum of scientific disciplines with more than 750 PhDs.
Funding for our research and development efforts is well balanced. About 10 percent of our funding goes towards our businesses' immediate needs and technical support. These requests come from our GE businesses when there is a technical problem that needs a high level of specialization. Our scientists will be dispatched directly to work with the business to resolve the technical challenge. This type of work is very important, because it allows our technologists to better understand our customers and real world problems in the field.
Approximately half of our budget is spent in collaboration with the GE businesses for next-generation technology for their products and services. We work with the businesses and their marketing teams to understand customer needs and provide technology solutions to exceed customer expectations. This is vital to differentiate GE products and services in the marketplace and to be a technology leader in all of our industries.
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The balance of our resources is set aside for truly market-changing technologies. At a time when most corporate investments in long-term research are declining, GE is increasing investments in high-risk, high-reward technologies such as medical diagnostics and molecular imaging, high-performance polymers, advanced aircraft propulsion, next-generation lighting devices, highly efficient energy sources and new transportation breakthroughs.
We invest in this type of long-term research because we believe that the companies that will win in the future are companies that are leaders in the technology that solves their customers' needs. The reason we focus on innovation is that we recognize that our customers will demand better health care, more efficient energy generation and consumption, and a host of new materials that enable the design of numerous new products and services for the future.
But we can only do this by hiring the smartest people with different areas of expertise. We can't afford to hire just physicists or just chemists. We need materials scientists, biologists, electrical engineers, computer scientists, mechanical and chemical engineers and all different disciplines. In order to take an idea and make it a real product or service, GE needs all disciplines to work together to bring it to the marketplace. This means that we need a vibrant pipeline of technical talent in all scientific disciplines, not just a few key areas.
This approach to funding R&D efforts not only strengthens each of the GE businesses and our corporation as a whole, it also provides our scientists and researches with the opportunity to work for a world class company with a track record of performanceall while working on cutting-edge research and technology.
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In conclusion, I would like to recognize that I am in effect ''preaching to the choir.'' I would like to acknowledge the work that this Subcommittee has done to strengthen the federal investment in science and technology and the efforts to strengthen the pipeline of talent through the education of future scientists. I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to testify today and I welcome any questions.
Chairman SMITH. Thank you. We will start with five minutes for each member and if we have time for a second round, we will do a second round, and pretty much the way we practice here on the Hill is you give the answer that you want to give regardless of what question is asked. Mr. Donnelly, I spoke to the science coalition at their breakfast early this morning, and I mentioned that all of the basic research in the United States prior to 1950 was done by the private sector. Expand a little bit on some ideas, and I know that GE has cooperated in several ventures with the university and the basic research, other ideas that we might somehow excite the private sector to add some of their dollar efforts to our basic research effort.
Mr. DONNELLY. Well, I certainlyspeaking on behalf of a company that spends over $2 billion a year on research as much as I conduct it at universitiesI think there is an immense amount of interest in the private sector to continue further development and research programs. I think one of the challenges, however, for industry
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Chairman SMITH. More basic research, I am relating to basic research rather than general that might be applied and result in more money for your board of directors.
Mr. DONNELLY. Sure. I will pass that on. The challenge in basic research, of course, is that I think if you look at the infrastructure and particularly companies that have corporate laboratories such as ourselves the development of these industrial laboratories, and ours was started in 1900, so it even pre-dates the 1950 times, is that industry generally has interest to have one foot in the academic side and one foot in our industrial businesses very close to our customers.
So the role of industry and of corporate laboratories is to understand and translate those basic sciences into products and services. In a capitalistic economy our view of the world is that we need to understand technology and how that translates into better products and services and therefore better revenue and better margin in our companies, and that is our basic incentive and responsibility to our shareholders.
So there is always a line to try to understand can you afford or should you put in corporate money and do some basic research for which the outcomes are totally unknown and for time frames that may be on the order of decades as opposed to focusing your research and development on how to translate those basic research discoveries into your products and services. Those endeavors in fact may take 10 or 15 years and we
Chairman SMITH. I think we got to be creative. Somehow if we can give a little greater property ownership even at the more basic stages, something, because the federal money is going to be lacking, it is going to continue to be lacking to what we need to enhance our wholeI need to move on for a question to Dr. Feller. Give us aexpand a little bit on how you are going to analyze the economic effects of fundamental research.
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Dr. FELLER. I think the studies that have been done have taken essentially a given investment in a particular area and then look at the growth of productivity or if you wantMRI is a good example. Here you have highlighted an important industry which goes back to some fundamental work in physics, and essentially you are taking out work in physics to move it up into analytic chemistry, knowledge used for medical imaging and other areas.
John Nash's work on game theory, which I think many of us have probably seen A Beautiful Mind. The nice thing about it is the biography is when the work was done in the 1950's nobody really had an idea what it would be used for. In fact, it was seen as a dead end. What one can do is either in the aggregate look at how nations invest in basic research and essentially impute the gains and productivity or competitiveness, which a lot of economists have done, or look in specific industries, and essentially on a cross section basis the investments for basic research or regions that invest in universities in basic research grow more rapidly, have higher profitability, have higher wages, are more competitive. That is kind of the general way in which we
Chairman SMITH. As I visit some of the federal research efforts in other countries quite often I see a substantial amount of their total research dollars investigating and monitoring the basic research that is done in this country, and then as quickly as possible expand that and apply that in their own country. How do we become a little more selfish in terms of helping assure that our basic research results in our economic standards in this country?
Dr. FELLER. I think you hit a critical issue, and let me tie into Mr. Donnelly'swhat you haveseems to me you have to do is more effectively couple the research that is done in the university with the proper focus of industry. You have to provide great opportunities, information, and incentives for industries and universities to work together. Engineering and research centers are an excellent way of producing that type of collaboration. Industry leverages the public investment in basic research.
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You begin to shape the research agendas, the basic research agendas of universities to become more interdisciplinary, therefore, available and more relevant to industry, and your students are better trained.
Chairman SMITH. My time is up but on the second round, Dr. Director and Dr. Harpp, if you can give us specific recommendations in terms of to what extent do we increase the length of grants. Should we increase the grants to three years and what should beshould we consider an increase in the grant level to encourage more American students into continuing their education and participating in our research efforts? And with that, Representative Johnson.
Ms. JOHNSON. Thank you very much. Dr. Feller, I would like to ask you a question about the recommended 8 to 10 percent range of increase in budget and maybe how you arrived at it. Looking at the grants which are about $150,000 per year, an average grant is for four years, the agency expects that this would take an additional $1.7 billion to their current budget level to achieve the goal. Your suggestion would allow NSF to meet this goal but does not provide for any increases for national research initiatives or from major facilities construction. The current backlog of approved major research facility projects alone is $1.3 billion. Did you have all that in mind?
Dr. FELLER. My recommendation related specifically to the investigativethe first part of your estimate. I basically talked about ideas and people. That estimate does not include the major research facilities and equipment mainly because that is an area in which I have not worked.
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The estimates that I provided derive from my immediate experience and my immediate research so that essentially 8 to 10 percent covers two of those categories. One wasn't asked to backlog the major research equipment and facilities to come up with the core recommendation for the answer.
Ms. JOHNSON. Okay. If NSF would receive a substantial boost in the funding, what factors should be used to guide the allocation of new funds among research fields, types of research, individual investigator awards versus large interdisciplinary awards, and facilities and instrumentation? Anyone can
Dr. DIRECTOR. That is a very difficult set of questions. The different kinds of funding that NSF has in terms of large investigative grants such as the ERC, Engineering Research Center, or the single investigative accomplish different goals. And I think that both kinds of research are worthwhile to continue depending somewhat on the field that you are in. What is clear is that some fields require significant investment in infrastructure, in particular research equipment.
And often times non-sufficient funding is given to that infrastructure need and therefore the research that could otherwise could be carried out is not always able to be carried out. At any given time different fieldsone field may seem to be more attractive than another to a group of students or to industry, and you would have to be careful not to put all of the funding into the hot topic of the day because as has been pointed out the research that we are doing now, the real impact of that might not occur for 20 years from now and we don't know what that is going to be. But the peer review process has proven to be one to result in good quality research that can be built on later.
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Ms. JOHNSON. Does anybody else want to comment onit seems to me that we had more trust of the people 50 years ago who invested in research that did know the outcome or when something would come, which has brought us a great deal of prosperity most especially to our space research, I think. What can we do to get this message out to the people that we owe it to our future, to our economy, to continue vigorously in this type of research because the field that give energy to any of the outcomes that we need in our society are droppingproblems with students enrolling.
We are spending less. I think Japan is spending more than what we are in research right now, basic research. I am concerned that we will fall behind in terms of keeping up with the current technologies and other types of research if we are not more serious about giving attention and investing now. But I know that the confidence of the peoplelet me just clarify too that the Super Collider was in three or four of our districts, and we thought it was very important research. The person who came to testify on it spoke in physics terms and hardly anybody but this committee understood what they were talking about.
It was de-funded but the research still has to go on so we will still be giving money to CERN and different other places where they do it in little pieces. And I am fearful that we will continue to suffer that type of setback if we can't better educate most of the Members of Congress. I mean general public, yes, but I think that in some way we have got to depend on college professors, economists, or whatever, to help to describe why this is important.
Dr. HARPP. May I comment on that?
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. JOHNSON. Yes.
Dr. HARPP. Speaking from an undergraduate perspective and as a college professor, I know that the opportunities or the encouragement we get to educate the public, I know you are talking about
Ms. JOHNSON. It would gravitate to us if the folks complain.
Dr. HARPP. And there reallythere is a fundamental fear of science out there and that comes from a lot of the way it is taught and a lot of experiences people have at school especially early on. I think if we can get even something as simple as more ground level communication betweenjust taking students, even undergraduate students, out into public venues where they get to talk to people and explain what they are doing, not in physics terms but in terms where they really understand it at a fundamental level to illustrate how science is actually practical. It is around you every day. It is not scary and intimidating.
If you start to demystify it, that would help, and that task, the task of us going out and doing exactly that is not in the equation of how we are evaluated as faculty or how the students are evaluated as students. And I don't know how to do this but encouraging those outreach programs I think would make an enormous difference. Just the opportunity to explain to someone how a refrigerator works or how you could fix something in your house because you understand the science makes an enormous difference to somebody to realize that maybe science isn't quite so intimidating, and some supportive outreach programs or more supportive outreach program.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman SMITH. Maybe a last word for Dr. Director and then
Dr. DIRECTOR. As a matter of fact, the National Science Foundation funds a significant amount of outreach through some programs like the Engineering and Research Centers in particular have that as a requirement for those programs. There is not always as much funding available for that as possible but it certainly goes a long way to help bring elementary and middle school kids into the laboratory and understand what the potential is.
Chairman SMITH. Mr. Ehlers.
Ms. JOHNSON. Thank you very much.
Mr. EHLERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I really appreciate you having this hearing. I think it is an extremely important topic and what has happened in the last year, picking up the words from Mr. Donnelly a few moments ago, is that we have gotten out of balance. No one, I don't believe, objects to the increase in funding for the NIH but it certainly has had an impact on the balance of research in this country.
If I may just add to the testimony received, if I could just show the first chart which is very similar to one that you showed a moment ago. And this shows the funding, federal R&D funding, in constant fiscal year 2001 dollars for the past decade. And, of course, NIH has gone up a great deal as we intended with the doubling. I notice that DOE and NASA are down from 10 years go. NSF is just struggling along basically staying even, maybe gaining just a little bit. I am reminded of the words of former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has publicly stated recently that he believes the biggest mistake if he made any mistakes during his tenure as Speaker is that he did not double NSF at the same time as NIH. He now says we should triple it to bring it back in balance with NIH.
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And you can see from this chart that the increase alone in NIH this year is greater than the total budget for NSF. And so it gets back to the issue of balance as Mr. Donnelly referred to earlier. This has real implications, and let me pick up out of your testimony the next slide similar to what you saw a minute ago looking at the relative change in Bachelor's degrees awarded, and you can see the students are smart enough to follow the money.
Now the implication of this, these students have chosen a career. They are likely to stay more or less in that field for 40 years, so our changing of the relative funding of the life sciences versus the physical sciences means that we have a huge number of physicalpardon me, life scientists in training for the next 40 years compared to those in engineering and the physical sciences. So I think it is very important that without delay we get on to the business of doubling the NSF budget, and as Mr. Gingrich suggests perhaps tripling it.
I do have to commend our current budget committee chairman, Mr. Nussle. He has been very receptive to comments from Chairman Boehlert and myself and they are marking up their budget bill this afternoon and there will be a substantial increase in NSF. I would like a bit more but he has certainly done an excellent job of trying to meet this.
My question to all of youa couple of questions. First of all, will you go out as Ms. Johnson was suggesting a moment ago, are you going to join us in selling this to the American public? And, Mr. Sensenbrenner, who used to chair this committee, always had a question he asked anyone who came in to him as chairman and asked for scientific funding, he said, ''Have you explained this to your Rotary Club yet?'' They said, ''Why in the world?'' and he said, ''If you can't sell it to the folks at home, how do you expect me to sell it to the Congress?''
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And I think scientists in general have been very lax in selling their ideas in their field to the public. So do you see this as something that the scientific community would be willing to engage in if we advocate a doubling? Will they actively get involved and talk to their communities, to their Congressman and say, yes, this is great? The second question is will you spearhead this if you think they will? Any comments?
Mr. DONNELLY. I would like to comment. The selling of these things is interesting. I think it ties back to one of the questions Ms. Johnson had on where should this money go and what should the focus and the intent be to sell perhaps in some regards to Congress and the Administration and also to the public at large. Usually what we have been able to sell, if I look back in history, is a mission of some sort. Ms. Johnson referred to the space program in the 50's and 60's, changing investments in technology that resulted in the success of the space program.
You can certainly argue the Cold War of the 80's was another investment on the part of the government and industry, and an incredible number of technologies came out of that. I think there is no doubt, not to speak on behalf of the NIH, but these are people clearly on a mission, who can articulate that they are out to solve cancer, and that is the reason you should increase the funding for the NIH, and that industry should join and also increase their funding those areas.
If we are going to sell something, I would argue we need to sell some sort of a mission. Why should we put more money into ASAP and what are the objectives and the goals by adding money across all these other disciplines. I don't mean to have a narrow perspective but I certainly think that you need to have a mission statement of some sort that people rally around just as they did with space and the Cold War and the war to solve cancer. Whether that is in the next generation of what our kind looks like from an energy perspective is just certainly a massive industry that involves many, many different technologies, primarily those which are supported by the NSF.
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It might be something like that, but I think that is the kind of thing we would need as an industry to go forward and sell something that people understand and not justmore basic research might be difficult for the average person on the street to appreciate why that budget should go up. And we have been very effective at doing that with things like the space program, the Cold Wars, and cancer in the case of the NIH.
Chairman SMITH. Maybe a brief comment on this issue and then we will move on to our next member.
Dr. FELLER. If I may, I work with my students and that is exactly the same type of reasoning and same sort of justification that formed the basis of my testimony. I work with various members of industry. I speak to the press, and I just had an invitation on my voice mail to speak to the Voluntary Association Board, Centre County, Pennsylvania, and I would find this would be a wonderful topic to talk about.
Chairman SMITH. Very good. Dr. Harpp.
Dr. HARPP. I was just going to add that the enthusiasm is there to do it, and the ability is there to do it. It is an issue of getting out there to do it.
Mr. EHLERS. I think Mr. Donnelly's words are very well spoken in terms of finding a mission.
Dr. DIRECTOR. I am going to argue that we have a mission right now. It is an unfortunate mission, but I think security is an important mission. I think that there is going to be a lot of technology associated with that particular mission.
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Mr. EHLERS. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, if I may make one quick comment. I didn't show this chart but it shows the United States currently fourth in the amount of dollars spent for dollar of GDP. And I think just having a mission of becoming first in this as we try to be in everything is also a good mission.
Chairman SMITH. Mr. Baca.
Mr. BACA. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. NSF recognizes the need to promote diversity globally oriented work force of scientists and engineers because it is stated in the NSF plan. A diverse science and engineer work force is representative of the American public and is able to respond effectively to a global economy. It is virtually important to America's future.
Well, NSF recognizes the need of diversity in science. Hispanics only represent aboutHispanics represent 12.5 percent of this country's population, and only three percent of the scientists and engineer labor force. Mr. Donnelly has highlighted the industry need for a pipeline of technical talent in all specific disciplines. Yet, our answer to these needs seem to be important as talents. Instead of focusing and growing our own, we seem to be recruiting talent from somewhere else.
The percentage of Hispanics and African Americans in science and engineering are disturbing to me and many of my colleagues on both sides. And NSF's own reports show a declining number and percentage of minorities in engineering. And so, Dr. Harpp and Dr. Director, I ask you what kind of programs does NSF offer to encourage minority students to pursue scientists and engineer degrees, high effective or current programs aimed at minority students, and can NSF meet the educational goals for a diverse work force of science and engineers under the current budget proposal? And the last question is based on the comments that we just said. Is anyone working and putting together a mission statement?
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Dr. DIRECTOR. Well, clearly this is not only an important issue, but it is also an extremely difficult issue to resolve. The National Science Foundation has in fact encouraged and supported various kinds of outreach programs, again primarily through programs like the Engineering and Research Centers. And through those kinds of centers, we have created a number of very effective programs that bring in kids as young as 7thfrom 7th grade on up for anywhere from two to eight weeks during the summer to be engaged in the wonders and excitement of science technology, the notion being that if they get excited, they will pursue the math and science courses that they need in high school and middle school in order to be prepared to pursue
Mr. BACA. Do you have a specific name of those outreach programs?
Dr. DIRECTOR. Yes. In Michigan we have an office called Minority Engineering Program Office, and it is a summer engineering academy. It is a particular effort that we have. And, by the way, Ford Motor Company is a significant co-investor with NSF, so we do get industrial participation in helping address this problem. I just want to mention one other program. The NASA Science Foundation funds at Michigan something called HICE or Highly Interactive Computer Education, and it is a joint project between the College of Engineering and our College of Education and the Detroit public schools and the Chicago public schools along with Northwestern University to bring technology into the classroom to address in a very pedagogically sound way, and that is the reason for the involvement of the school of educationscience education in the middle schools. And it has proven to be extremely effective.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. HARPP. I can only add that I concur with what Dr. Director said. There are a number of programs that exist where minority students are actively recruited both at very young ages, 7th, 8th grades, as you just described, and also stages where one is accepted in the university at the college level, they come early to campus and they are associated with a faculty mentor that often lasts for up to four years, and sometimes beyond that point. It is a Master's program.
Those programs are effective. There aren't enough of them. It would help immensely to expand them at some level. And the other issue is that if we can get the students to the undergraduate institutions, the minority students there, the programs are in place for us to focus on them and to make their learning experience more effective. The problem is, if you look at Colgate, for instance, we are very low in our minority representative. It is an issue of recruitment on the part of the colleges as well. It will have to expand beyond just the existing science programs and get intogetting us into the community colleges and getting us into the high schools to encourage students to pursue these kinds of careers.
Dr. DIRECTOR. Let me just add one thing. While we have been very effective and are excited about the accomplishments we have, we could easily double or triple the program if we had the funding to do that.
Mr. BACA. At the same time a lot of the programs or a lot of the recruitment should be done with most of us back in the west portions of the state. Everything is from the east portions. And when we look at the southwestern states and you look at the diversity in that area and you look at programs such as the NASA program, it probably could be utilized as well that looks at attracting individuals in engineering and science. This is another program. I have not heard that name mentioned in any of the institutions right now.
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Chairman SMITH. The Chairman would call on the Chairman of our full Science Committee with my accolades for convincing our leadership in the House and the Budget Committee to expand the increase in funding for the National Science Foundation by an additional five percent, so my compliments for that leadership.
Chairman BOEHLERT. That is over and above the present.
Chairman SMITH. Over and above the present, yes.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First of all, I want to accept the challenge issued by Dr. Ehlers in terms of a mission statement. And as I was listening to the responses, I developed my own mission statement. Here is the statement. Better jobs at higher pay and an even more robust economy for a healthier America and a world at peace. It is that simple. That is what we are talking about. And I want to thank all of the witnesses, particularly my good friend and constituent from Colgate University.
Dr. Harpp, I am just auditing this. I am not a member of the subcommittee. I want to welcome you here. And, Mr. Donnelly, I want to say that I want to commend you and General Electric for what you are doing to help sell science to America. I know all throughout your corporation you sponsor explorer post. You are in there with science fairs. You got your speakers out talking to Rotary Clubs, the selling of science in America. So I thank you for what you are doing.
And I also wanted to say that the question askedthis is a hearing, the NSF Budget: How Should We Determine Future Levels. That is a no-brainer. I will tell you how we should. In every single aspect of National Science Foundation we don't run the risk of getting to the point where we are going to give them more money than they can sensibly use. The fact of the matter is budget realities are going to dictate incremental increases but we are moving in the right direction, but we are never going to get to the point where people are going to start scratching their heads and saying is this too much.
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The fact of the matter, we know that peer review, merit based decision-making that is the hallmark of NSF. Every year they reject more than a billion dollars worth of applications from principal investigators, people with good ideas, solid credentials, worthy projects, because there is just not enough money to go around. So Dr. Ehlers and Mr. Smith, and all the members of this subcommittee and the full committee, are going to be very aggressive in pushing for money just as we have been very aggressive in pushing something that is now accepted by all America, the need to substantially improve our commitment to K12 science and math education.
We can talk all day long about the great universities like Colgate and the great corporations like General Electric, but if we don't have the human capital we need, shame on us. And to the credit of this Administration, and this is not partisan in any way, shape or manner, its signature domestic issue is education. And when you have the President of the United States signing historic legislation, and the Senior Senator from Massachusetts standing by his side, for those of you who are not political junkies, that is Ted Kennedy, applauding, you know we are doing something good for America.
And to the credit of this Administration and this Congress, heavy emphasis is being placed on K12 science and math education. And we are sensible enough not to entrust it exclusively just to the Department of Education. We are recognizing the role of the National Science Foundation and their principal players in this drama. I think we are sort of just breaking through. We are going to have historic accomplishments in the future because if you want to know what investing in basic research does, it gave us the Internet, which started out as something that was going to be for collaboration and communication between a small band of researchers. And now hundreds of millions of Americans, starting with my little grandchildren, are on the Internet learning and contributing to society.
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It gave us MRI. Boy, has that prolonged life for so many people. So I justI could go on and on and talk about how important NSF is, how important basic science research is, and how essential it is for the government to play a leading role in basic research because corporate America has to be considered with the next quarterly statement and the annual statement, and you are going to invest in GE and some of our great corporations some money in basic research.
But, quite frankly, you owe it to all of us, who are shareholdersI am not privileged to have GE stock, but to get a return on your investment, and sometimes a long range investment is not particularly attractive from a corporate standpoint, so you have to rely on the government to be partners with good agencies like NSF. And our great universities need the support you get from NSF to support all those programs and the research that is going on.
So I am here as an unabashed cheerleader for the National Science Foundation. And I must admit we are sort of using you in the best sense of the word because we know, we think, what you are going to tell us. You are going to tell us we need more, and you are going to document that need, and you are going to justify that need, and that supports us when we go argue with our colleagues and the budgeters in this and future administrations. An investment in science is an investment in our future and it really pays very handsome dividends. And I thank you for serving as resources and joining the cheerleading squad.
Chairman SMITH. Mr. Chairman, excellent. Thank you very much. Mr. Tim Johnson, the Vice Chairman of this subcommittee, will preside for probably the next dozen minutes or so. Tim.
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Mr. JOHNSON [presiding]. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I believe Congressman Etheridge is next for questions.
Mr. ETHERIDGE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and let me echo the Chairman of the Full Committee's last comments. I may touch on some of them because I think it is important. I appreciate, as others have said, thank you for being here this morning. I think it is important because it is a very, very important topic for you to share your expertise on it so much because the budget request for research and development at the National Science Foundation is less than two percent. It is easy to talk about all these great things, but unless we put money behind it, all it does is fill the record with a lot of good stuff and not a whole lot happens.
And if you look back and see the problem, and you know what the future is going to be like if you don't invest in basic research. Although the budget is far less than that of the NSF, the role of NSF in promoting basic research is extremely important to the U.S. scientific enterprise. For example, about 25 percent of the federal support for academic institutions for basic research is provided through NSF. So if that is true, it doesn't take a whole lot of money to make a big difference.
About 50 percent of federal funding for non-medical research at universities is provided through NSF, so, you know, we need to remember those two percentages because that is why the Chairman talked about a few minutes ago that so many good ideas that are peer reviewed don't make it. And if we are going to maintain our technological advantage in the world, we better stop talking and start acting.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If we go back to the 1950's, we can see where this country started taking off when we invested money in basic research. And the balance was there, and we have gotten totally out of balance in recent years. Now I am a strong supporter of the 15 percent increase in NIH. Let that be understood. But we are out of balance, and the balance is going to cost us greatly. At one time the intention was that we were going to balance the sheet, and we were going to have equal funding. Now the truth is that the money wasn't appropriated.
I don't serve on the Appropriations Committee, which if I did, I would be arguing differently. I think that would be true of a lot of people here. But the truth is talk is cheap. And as a lead source of federal funds for basic research that goes to colleges and universities, here is my question. NSF supports research and educational programs as well, and I think it is important because we can't do but so much at the university if we don't get the students there, and we need not forget that.
They are crucial to our technological advances and future generations for engineers and scientists and those other disciplines. Having said that, in light of the Administration's R&D budget request, and you should have heard the Chairman say that we are trying to help over here, it would be a whole lot better if the Administration would have put it in first and then we wouldn't have to fight the battle. It is good to talk about being education first, but you got to put your money there. Talk is cheap.
In light of the Administration's R&D budget request for NSF, in your opinion, what major effect do you see that could occur in the promotion and funding of academic research? Do you understand the question?
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. FELLER. Having sat in on various OMB presentations at the academy recently, I would say that these hearings are critical in demonstrating to OMB and to the Administration that a larger amount of NSF is justified in terms of the Administration's own criteria, that without this we are simply going to perpetuate the difficulties, the stresses and the strains that we have talked about. You are going to have discouraged researchers. You are going to have continued obsolescence of the facilities. You are not going to make the advances in increasing diversity that are desirable. You are not going to be able to have that outreach to K12 and community colleges.
Basically, we will make incremental gains, and the same concerns that members of this committee are so eloquently expressing today will be expressed next year and the year after.
Mr. ETHERIDGE. Thank you.
Dr. HARPP. It is the issue of when you run out of time or run out of funding the thing that goes first is the outreach to the K12 or community groups, so keeping that available keeps the public educated, keeps the students coming into the system or improves that. And the other issue is the more opportunity students have even at theespecially at the undergraduate level, the more opportunities they have to engage in their own research, which requires serious support and attention from us, these are the students that proceed into science careers.
The better educated they are and the more of them there are, the more likely that is going to contribute in a positive way in the future.
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Dr. DIRECTOR. Let me mention one thing I don't think that was mentioned before, and that is the fact that it would allow us to have more scholarship fellowships for graduate students so that they don't need to commit to a particular topic of research before they walk in the door. Often times students, if they are funded off of faculty members research grants, have to commit without fully understanding what they are committing to. And faculty are reluctant to pick up students during the first year because the first year or so of graduate education is taking courses and not doing the research.
So an increase in graduate fellowships, NSF fellowships, which are prestigious, will give the students, the good students, an opportunity to not commit and make graduate school more attractive and address this downturn that we see.
Mr. ETHERIDGE. Thank you very much.
Mr. JOHNSON. Thank you, Mr. Etheridge. With the consent of the committee, I had a question I was going to ask as a member, so I will ask it from the Chair. Mr. Donnelly, you stated in your testimony that it has become or is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit high quality talent across the entire spectrum by disciplines in which GE works. I wonder if you elaborate for us briefly on how the severity of the labor shortage is affecting GE, and mention specifically what GE does when they can't recruit a sufficient number of high quality young scientists and engineers from within the continental United States.
Mr. DONNELLY. I guess I would address that by saying that what has happened is that we have becomeif you look at the data I presented on the chart effectively what has happened is that the number of degree holders in many of the disciplines that we recruit has been on a flat declining basis, and particularly in some of the critical technology areas in which we work. That becomes even more aggravated as you look at the Master's and the doctoral level which is historically where most of our research recruiting is done. At this point, one of the things we have had to do is actually look and increase our programs, looking at hiring those people that are going into Bachelor's programs, recruit them in the industry and provide programs, which we can matriculate them through the Master's and Ph.D. programs because left to their own that is not going to happen. There is not sufficient interest and sufficient funding to support that number of doctoral students and quality programs.
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So I guess I would say in summary basically what we need to do is become more creative, certainly work a lot more in the pipeline, hire a lot more students even before they get to their Bachelor's degree for internships and cooperatives to identify the top talent, and then hire them, bring them on board, and support them through the rest of their educational process.
Mr. JOHNSON. Thank you, sir. Congressman Larson.
Mr. LARSON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and I want to thank the panelists for their outstanding contribution this morning. I think it was Mr. Udall who said most of what needs to be said has been said. It is just that not everybody has said it, so let meI haveand this is a theme that runs through on several of our committees, and I want to commend the Chairman, Nick Smith, and also our Chairman Sherwood Boehlert for the outstanding bipartisan work that they do in getting after this issue.
I think in general we have got our heads in the sand with respect to how we are going to increase the funding. And there doesn't seem to be a sense of urgency. There seems to be these ethereal academic discussions that circulate around these very important and dramatic issues that end up going nowhere. And I, for one, was struck by the perilous course the Nation seems to be on with our enemies able to look at this country and identify our weaknesses, and then turn our own success against us.
The terrorists were able to crash into the World Trade Center with our aircraft. They used the success, our great freedoms, and were able to turn that against us. Likewise, as we look at investing, Mr. Donnelly's company has invested a great deal of money in R&D, but in large part when they dowhen they get funding from the government they are often chided for receiving corporate welfare. This concept that we have in this country, I think, we have got to change.
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Mr. Donnelly's company also produces aircraft engines, and we are in a huge engine war globally. We are in a global economy. And in the process our global competitors are turning one of our strengths against us. They know that if they subsidize, and let us take the case of engines, for example, if they subsidize their employees, their R&D effort, then they are at a distinct advantage to us. In fact, the Europeans have a program they call 20/20, which is to capture market share of the aerospace industry by the year 2020, and they are going to do so by continuing to invest money in research and development and making sure that theymy question is how do we overcome this perception that this is somehow corporate welfare and get on with the issue of promoting the need for stronger government funding that is not viewed as a handout, but as the Chairman eloquently stated before, the very means of which will create a more robust economy with higher paying jobs around knowledge-based institutions that will allow this country to remain the pre-eminent military, economic, cultural, and social leader in the world.
Mr. DONNELLY. Mr. Larson, if I could comment. I think this area, particularly as regards to the National Science Foundation, is a wonderful area to have this discussion because unlike some other areas, perhaps Defense and some other fundings including in some cases the National Institute of Health, where dollars through these budgets actually find their way to the industrial base, which I personally don't think is a bad thing. I think, in fact, we participate in these things ourselves, and generally it involves the company making an investment, as well as the government making an investment.
The beautiful thing about the National Science Foundation is that to the best of my knowledge we are a recipient of none of these financial instruments. What this benefitsthe only benefit to the industrial base is the talent of the people that come out of our university systems, so unlike in cases where people could argue, as you allude to in some other countries and areas where there is direct compensation or incentive provided by the government in these areas, as it relates to the National Science Foundation, the benefit and the dollars is all about investing in our people and our scientific talent, which then bridges into our industry to make our industry better, but not providing direct offset or direct financial benefit to the industry.
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So I think it is actually one where the politics of the so-called corporate welfare and things of this don't need to enter into the discussion in any way, shape or form. There is very clear delineation, I think, today in our university systems and their charter and responsibility for basic research and an industry's role and direct responsibility and charter in applied research and translation to products and services, so it actually is, I think, relatively clean to be able to support and stand here as a supporter to say that the National Science Foundation should receive increased funding and more money without having a particular vested interest in those dollars as an industry only in the interest of the talent and the capability of the people coming out of our university systems.
Dr. FELLER. If I may add to Mr. Donnelly's comment, I have interviewed a number of industries, and the beautiful thing, the effective thing, about the American system, particularly around NSF, the Engineering and Research Centers, is this kind of fluidity and the flexibility where sometimes is basic research coming out of the universities that opens up a new path for applied research and development industry.
Many times it is the breakthrough work that is done in industry which then essentially sharpens the focus of universities, and many times it is essentially universities learning what industry needs that provides a new research agenda, and so the key thing in support of NSF, both in the individual PI model and the center model, provides a fluid relationship with industry whereas they are working in partnership if it can break out of kind of the ideological kind of arguments about the corporate welfare is beneficial to both sectors and is beneficial to the Nation.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LARSON. I think if I could just say, and I know my time is up, but what has made our system so successful is our approach and the entrepreneurial, the capitalistic approach, to the way that we go after and pursue businesses has led us to the point where we are. My concern is that our enemies use that against us. Dan Golden always would ask the question how long will your shareholders continue you to be in this business to do the kind of long-term research I think the Chairman alluded to before, before they cut it off with their bottom line concerns.
And if our very opponents, shall I say, in a global economy are providing these subsidies, I think that as part of our mission statement overall, we have got to elevate the NSF method as a means in which we can further promote getting the kind of basic R&D that we need to our corporations.
Chairman SMITH [presiding]. Two of our witnesses have to leave at noon so maybe Dr. Director, Dr. Harpp, Dr. Feller, you might in writing provide me with some of your ideas of how we can change some of the programs to better encourage more U.S. students to stay in school and go into research. I mean just a writing of these grants is almost a treadmill routine that becomes so time consuming, so maybe it is somehow increasing the way thatreducing the number of grants that are applied for to better accommodate the money out there or how much should be increase grant levels, should they be for a longer term, so maybe if all three of you would respond in writing in those regards.
Then I understand, Mr. Ehlers, you had a final question you wanted to offer.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. EHLERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, just to wrap up. I want to mention that almost all of the discussion here has been about research but I think perhaps the most important segment of the NSF budget in the long-term picture is math and science education because that is where future scientists, engineers, mathematicians, technicians are coming from. And I simply wanted to get on the record that when I am talking about doubling and others are talking about doubling or increasing, we also definitely want that segment of the budget, NSF budget, to increase as well.
The NSF, through its efforts to improve math and science education, I think has done far more per dollar than any other federal agency, including the Department of Education. And I think we should take advantage of that expertise and that carefulness with which they work and substantially increase that portion of the budget as well.
Also, I just simply wanted to add a comment, Mr. Chairman. I talked earlier about the balance necessary in research. I am troubled by some rumors I am hearing that in NSF the physical sciences budget is going down and the life sciences budget is going up. I think that is exactly the wrong direction if in fact that is what is happening. NSF should be trying to counter balance what is happening in the other fields and not add to the imbalance. But I will check that out later, and I am hoping I am wrong on that. I would appreciate any comments the panel would like to make about either of my points about K12 education or about the balance within NSF.
Chairman SMITH. I am going to ask that the panel may also respond in writing, if they want to, to you, Mr. Ehlers, because I want to make a closing statement and two of our panel members are leaving at noon. And just expanding on your thought of education, in our university structures, I have now spoken to two College of Education suggesting that every teacher that goes out should have more backgrounding in science and math and technology. I mean we are in a new era where a better understanding of technology is going to be so instrumental in their success and their value as they seek employment in any business or industry.
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And so whether the student is going in to a career as an engineer, then there is no question, but if they are going in to a career in economics or political science or any kind of role, they are going to betheir knowledge of the new technology is going to be that much more important.
Mr. EHLERS. Will the gentleman yield?
Chairman SMITH. Certainly.
Mr. EHLERS. Just let me give one concrete example, which fascinates me. I recently heard an interview over NPR where they were talking about the demise of the grease monkey, so to speak, and they interviewed a service manager at a dealership, and said what do you look for when you hire a mechanic? He said, well, the first thing we look for is that they have high school algebra and high school physics. And I thought that is a good example of precisely what you have been talking about, Mr. Chairman.
We need technical education, not just for the future scientists and engineers, but we need it for everyone because that is where the jobs of the future are going to be. When I was in high school, the ones who flunked high school algebra and physics became mechanics. Now you have to pass it to be a mechanic, and that is going to be true of almost any meaningful job that these students will be able to get. So I certainly concur in your statement.
Chairman SMITH. I am reclaiming my time. You know, the other thing that should interest us is the availability that some of those mechanics may actually be sitting over in India or some place else as they electronically repair our cars. A huge challenge in front of us. And with that, I thank the panel again. The record will remain open for five business days. And with your permission, anysome of the questions that staff have suggested that we ask that weren't asked, if they are sent to you if you would be so helpful as maybe responding briefly to some of those written questions. With that, I thank the panel again, and this subcommittee is adjourned.
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[Whereupon, at 12 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
Additional Material for the Record
REVISED TESTIMONY OF KAREN S. HARPP
Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Johnson, Chairman Boehlert,
Thank you for the invitation to contribute my comments to your deliberations. This document constitutes a more detailed set of answers to the questions outlined in my invitation to testify before the Committee, submitted after the hearing date as discussed with staff member Karin Lohman. These remarks reflect my own personal opinions regarding these issues, and were not prepared in collaboration with any other individual or organization.
1. NSF Support
The first question is about the kind of support I have received from NSF as a scientist/teacher. I was fortunate to have been granted an NSF graduate fellowship upon graduation from Dartmouth College. This support made it possible for me to pursue my strongly interdisciplinary interests in chemistry and geology. Without it, I could not have done so, without question. It gave me the freedom to design a doctoral program that was uniquely suited to my interests, without having to fit into pre-determined disciplinary boundaries, a chance the explore where chemistry intersects with geology. Obviously, in addition, the NSF grants awarded for the research of my graduate advisor were also essential in my preparation as a scholar.
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The first major grant I received during my early years as a faculty member at Lawrence University allowed me to initiate an active research program quickly and efficiently. It supported the acquisition of a major piece of analytical instrumentation, a mass spectrometer for the analysis of water and rock samples that is absolutely essential for me to carry out my research. The Major Research Instrumentation program, which provided these funds, serves a particularly important role by permitting faculty at undergraduate institutions to establish state of the art facilities for undergraduate research training. Few other undergraduate institutions have an instrument like the one in my lab, for instance, which provides students with important exposure to the types of modern equipment they will encounter when they enter the scientific workforce or pursue graduate careers. Such facilities permit faculty like myself to integrate research and education in ways that benefit the students significantly, and which cannot be supported by undergraduate institutions on their own. Furthermore, support for both major research instrumentation and associated laboratory equipment is essential for the development of new pedagogical approaches to improve science education.
In part because of the work I was able to accomplish with the new instrumentation, I was successful in obtaining a Career grant from NSF to design an interdisciplinary chemistry and geology curriculum that integrates research into the curriculum. Over the past four years, the Career grant has permitted me to develop numerous courses and research projects that would not have been possible in the absence of this funding. For example, I teach a course in environmental geochemistry and analysis, in which students design research projects based on local environmental problems. Because these are projects whose outcomes are unknown, they give students an initial exposure to the process of research, with all its associated challenges. Students emerge from these experiences energized by having discovered something new about the world, and excited about having made a difference in someone's life because of their scientific accomplishments.
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The Career grant also provided me with the resources to go beyond simply running an analytical facility to establishing an independent, productive research program for undergraduates. The main focus of my current research is an exploration of the origins of the Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos Islands are generally known for their unique flora and fauna, having been the site of much of Charles Darwin's early biological studies that lead ultimately to his development of evolutionary theory. The Galapagos Islands are also fascinating geologically, but we know much less about their geologic history than their biology. Our studies involve studying individual islands in detail, mapping them and bringing back rock samples to the lab, where we carry out chemical analyses of their compositions. This information tells us a lot about the volcano's history, and allows us to piece together not just the origins of the individual islands, but important information about how volcanic systems work on a global scale. Every project involves numerous Colgate undergraduates, who participate in all steps of the research process. They experience everything from learning how to do sophisticated data processing and operating analytical instrumentation to how to jump from a small motorboat onto an island at high tide without stepping on an iguana. This is an exciting process for both the students and for myself, because what we are doing, like all basic research, is discovering information about our world that is new to all of us, a unique and fascinating experience.
The NSF Career grant has also funded an extensive science outreach program, where undergraduates take hands-on science experiments to area school children and community groups. The focus of the group is to demystify science, to illustrate how science is really all around us every day, not just in the lab or the classroom. Undergraduates design and carry out the programs, with my help. Every experience we bring to the children involves real world applications of science, to encourage them to use their imagination and creativity and to carry out their own experiments when they go home or back to school; in short, we try to inspire them to do what scientists do, so to speak. The Colgate students benefit from having the opportunity to teach what they know about science to an enthusiastic group of children. This experience gives them confidence in their scientific abilities, and has inspired many undergraduates to pursue careers in science education, as it turns out. It is difficult to resist being energized and excited by the look on a 7-year-old's face when they have just discovered why bread rises in the oven, how volcanoes erupt, or that an old magic trick is really chemistry in action.
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The bottom line is that support from NSF at various stages of my career to date has allowed me to establish a research program that is entirely focused on undergraduate participation. Furthermore, the funding has permitted me to experiment with new curricular approaches, improving the educational experience for students to the best of my ability. Consequently, I believe these opportunities have provided undergraduates with research and teaching experiences that have ultimately encouraged them to pursue careers in science.
2. Major Challenges
While science educators at all levels face a plethora of challenges, I will only mention some of those unique to our situation at undergraduate institutions. Many of my colleagues and I consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have what we call one of the greatest completely impossible jobs one could possibly have. Increasingly, the demand (and our desire) to build a research-rich environment for the students has become overwhelming. Both NSF and our own institutions must understand that in an undergraduate setting, it takes much longer to accomplish our research goals than it does at a large research institution, because of the limited resources available for building and maintaining laboratory facilities, short time with the students, and extensive teaching responsibilities. Although these pressures are present at all careers stages, those of us in the pie-tenure phases of our careers feel the constraints of time particularly intensely. Quite simply, we run out of time, every single day.
Below, I have described briefly some of the most pressing challenges faced by educators at undergraduate institutions today:
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In many institutions, existing facilities are not adequate to support research instrumentation. At Colgate, for instance, we have squeezed several pieces of sophisticated analytical equipment into a building constructed originally for a field in which instrumentation was not a major tool of the science. Consequently, labs are inadequately served by basic infrastructure services, cannot handle the number of students doing lab work, or are simply inappropriate for the instrumentation, preventing the production of quality data. The character of the Nation's facilities for undergraduate science programs is a challenge that we will have to address someday, both on our campus and across the country.
The pressures on our time are increased by the need to bring students who come to our campus with poor preparation for or with a phobia about science and mathematics up to the level necessary to have a successful undergraduate learning experience. We expend significant efforts teaching students basic skills that will permit them to function and do science, which, in theory, they should have mastered at the high school level.
Another major challenge we face is a sense of isolation. By definition, at small undergraduate institutions, expertise is rarely duplicated; a faculty member is usually the only expert in their field on a given campus. Consequently, it becomes essential that we explore ways to establish networks for not just faculty but also for students to share their knowledge of curricular innovation, research developments, and ways to solve problems regarding resources and facilities.
3. Effective NSF Programs
Numerous NSF programs have proven to be effective in addressing some of the challenges I have mentioned, including those I have already discussed such as the Career and MRI programs. The Career program allows early career scientists to establish research programs that are integrated with the curriculum, and the MRI program permits the acquisition of essential research instrumentation otherwise unobtainable by institutional support alone.
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An additional NSF program that must be mentioned is CCLI, an initiative that provides the unique opportunity for faculty to explore new pedagogical approaches to teaching science and the equipment necessary to support those developments. CCLI supports the early stages of curricular innovation, where new ideas are tested and refined, an essential step in improving science education that cannot be afforded by undergraduate institutions alone. Furthermore, the dissemination process embedded in the CCLI program assures that there is a network of individuals working toward common goals, sharing their expertise, and improving the educational process, which minimizes the sense of isolation that can develop at our institutions.
Furthermore, CCLI, MRI, and the Career grant, among other NSF programs, provide important funding to establish research facilities that give undergraduates hands-on experience with technology they will encounter when they enter the scientific workforce. It is crucial that students get the opportunity to be trained in environments comparable to those in which they will be working as teachers, scholars, and technicians. Additional support for technical assistance would improve the effectiveness of these programs significantly.
The ROA program and other similar initiatives that support linkages between research institutions and undergraduate colleges provide an invaluable resource in science education. It is prohibitive to establish many types of research facilities at small institutions where they would only be used on a sporadic basis due to small populations of scientists. Instead, it is far more cost-effective to provide support for faculty and students from undergraduate institutions to visit and work in established laboratories on a temporary basis. The research universities, in turn, must be funded at a level where they can afford to provide training and attention to the visiting researchers, with the goal being to train the undergraduate students and faculty in new techniques and developments in their fields, not simply do the work for them. Not only does this process dramatically expand resources available to researchers at undergraduate institutions, but it encourages the essential exchange of information, which is the hallmark of the scientific process. By no means am I saying that we should eliminate installation and support of sophisticated analytical equipment at undergraduate institutions, quite the opposite. Instead, programs such as ROA enhance the efficiency of undergraduate research efforts by providing additional resources over and above what can be sustained realistically small colleges.
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Finally, programs such as REU and others that provide extended undergraduate research opportunities are particularly important experiences for undergraduates. Focused, intensive research gives students the chance to learn how to think independently and critically, skills that are essential for their future careers not only in science, but for their ability to contribute to society as educated citizens.
4. Criteria for NSF Funding Levels
It is beyond the scope of my expertise to provide advice about precise levels at which NSF should fund education and research at undergraduate institutions such as Colgate. I would, however, like to make a few broad suggestions that may help craft an answer to this question.
First, it is clear from my experience at Lawrence and Colgate Universities that in terms of research support, one size does not fit all. In other words, funding needs for research and curricular development programs at undergraduate institutions vary dramatically according to available resources, the scope of the projects, and existing facilities. Consequently, the ability for NSF programs to be flexible and to accommodate a wide range of requests will be the most effective in the long run. Programs such as the collaborative RUI and ROA initiatives are good examples of such flexibility in the current scheme; more prescriptive limitations on CCLI are examples of a less effective aspect of the NSF program.
Second, it is essential that the core research programs be responsive to changing needs of the disciplines. Science is by its nature an evolutionary process, and those at the forefront of their fields are exploring new directions or questions that sometimes do not fit into existing, often rigid disciplinary boundaries. The flexibility to handle requests for funding in interdisciplinary fields will greatly enhance the effectiveness of many of the NSF programs, as will the support of collaborations not only across the disciplines, but between many types of institutions.
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Finally, it is clear that there is no simple formula for determining criteria for funding research programs. Allotment of funds should be driven by high quality proposals from individuals or groups, innovative ideas with the potential to advance the frontiers of science and of science education. The focus on integrating research into the undergraduate educational experience dictates that research will not progress at the traditional rate or necessarily along the same path as it does at the research universities. Consequently, it is essential that requests for funding from undergraduate institutions be considered in this context and not judged against inappropriate standards. Criteria for granting funding should, therefore, include not only previous research productivity, but also effectiveness in preparing students for future careers in science.
Undergraduate institutions provide the essential link between research and education; it is at these institutions where students get their initial taste of independent research and take their first steps toward successful careers as scientists and informed citizens. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be able to participate in this process, and fortunate for the continued support of the National Science Foundation.
(Footnote 1 return)
For more detailed information see the Full Committee hearing entitled ''The R&D Budget for Fiscal Year 2003'' held on February 13, 2002.
(Footnote 2 return)
For more information see the Research Subcommittee hearing entitled ''NSF's Major Research Facilities: Planning and Management Issues'' held on September 6, 2001.
(Footnote 3 return)
THE INDEPENDENT COLLEGES: Allegheny College, PA; Augsburg College, MN; Beloit College, WI; Birmingham-Southern College, AL; Bowdoin College, ME; Calvin College, MI; Coe College, IA; Colgate University, NY; College of the Holy Cross, MA; College of Wooster, OH; Cornell College, IA; Dickinson College, PA; Grinnell College, IA; Harvey Mudd College, CA; Hobart and Williams Smith Colleges, NY; Hope College, MI; Illinois College, IL; Illinois Wesleyan University, IL; Kalamazoo College, MI; Knox College, IL; Lake Forest College, IL; Lawrence University, WI; Macalester College; Monmouth College, IL; Oberlin College, OH; Ohio Wesleyan University, OH; Pomona College, CA; Reed College, OR; Ripon College, WI; St. Lawrence University, NY; St. .Olaf College, MN; The Colorado College, CO; University of Redlands, CA; University of Richmond, VA; Ursinus College, PA; Wheaton College, MA.
(Footnote 4 return)
THE PROJECT KALEIDOSCOPE FACULTY FOR THE 21st CENTURY is a network of over 1100 undergraduate STEM faculty taking a leadership role in the effort to build and sustain research-rich, discovery-based environments for undergraduate students in the Nation's colleges and universities. This network is supported by the ExxonMobil Foundation.