WASHINGTON-Officials at the National Science Foundation are considering major changes in a five-year-old program that provides federal science agencies with information on research topics that are ripe for additional funding.
The program was begun in 1982 at the request of George Keyworth II, former presidential science adviser and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. It enlisted researchers in an annual effort to identify a handful of fields where additional funding could lead to major increases in scientific understanding and, not incidentally, to innovative technology. Keyworth also won the support of the National Science Foundation, which has spent about $800,000 to fund briefings on 32 topics.

The review is conducted by the Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy of the National Academies of Science and Engineering and the Institute of Medicine. The committee prepares a 15-to-20 page briefing on topics that have ranged from agricultural...

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