Under Erich Bloch, who was appointed director of the National Science Foundation in 1984, the agency has broadened its activities beyond its traditional support of individual laboratories and researchers. Bloch has strengthened NSF’S engineering component and put greater emphasis on on industry university cooperation, including the establishment of research centers around the country as the focus for advanced study in areas ranging from computers to exotic materials to basic biology. He also has taken pains to emphasize the practical dimensions of science, pointing to its importance as the foundation for economic progress.

These efforts appeared to pay off last year, when President Reagan agreed to request a doubling of NSF’S budget over five years. But, despite expressions of support on Capitol Hill, Congress ultimately approved only a .6 percent funding increase for NSF in fiscal 1988 instead of the 17 percent boost the agency had expected. NSF has requested a...

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