If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t FCCSET?

In 1976 Congress created the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (FCCSET) to set overall federal policy in science. Known to insiders by its acronym, pronounced “fix-it,’ the 1 4-member council brings together the heads of all of the federal agencies that fund basic research. But the council, led by science adviser William Graham, has a major image problem: Its approach to tackling problems that range from biotechnology to advanced computing has been so timid that few people know it exists. In fact, just last month Mary Good, chairman of the National Science Board that oversees NSF, proposed to the House science research subcommittee that the next science adviser take a hard look at the nation’s research enterprise by convening a group whose membership would be practically identical to FCCSET’s. One indication of the current sorry state of scientific leadership in Washington...

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