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NSF taken to task

Budget hearing raises still unresolved management and funding disparities

Ted Agres(tedagres@lycos.com)

WASHINGTON, DC—The National Science Foundation (NSF) has failed to address fully half of the recommendations outlined last year by its own Inspector General to improve management and oversight of large infrastructure projects.

NSF Inspector General (IG) Christine Boesz told a Senate appropriations subcommittee Thursday that key recommendations "on developing new project and financial management policies and procedures remain unresolved by NSF management." With increased funding for large facilities and infrastructure projects underway "this issue needs to become one of greater urgency," she testified. "We are disappointed that the whole process could not have been accelerated."

Legislators have for several years questioned whether NSF's bureaucracy would hinder its ability to manage high-quality research, especially given a huge infusion of funds for "tools"—instrumentation and equipment, facilities, accelerators, telescopes and the like. NSF is seeking more than $1.34 billion in this area for FY 2004, nearly 25 percent of the agency's total budget....

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