Regarding Jeffrey Mervis' article "Many Questions, Few Answers on New NSF Science Centers" (THE SCIENTIST, March 23, 1987, p. 1), I'd like to ask a question or two myself.
Does the right hand know what the left hand is doing? Why are we overlooking the fact that the NSF's Industry-University Co operative Research Center Program (IUCR) is an excellent model for the Science and Technology Centers? Why is Mervis raising concerns that have been answered in the course of the 10 years or so that the IUCR program has been in operation? Why are we trying to reinvent the wheel when a model exists for such centers? The only problem is that IUCR centers have been overlooked and underfunded by NSF. Why does NSF have such amnesia?
Evaluation methods, importance of industrial role, effect on academic environment, appropriate research focus—these have been studied at the 40 or so...
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