The Future Of NSF: Four Key Issues Require Clarification

A recent article in The Scientist, headlined "NSF Still Wrestling With Science Board Over Recommendations For Agency Future" (Barton Reppert, Feb. 8, 1993, page 1), discussed the report of the National Science Board's Commission on the Future of the National Science Foundation. This commission, of which I was a member, was asked to answer two questions: (a) How can NSF best ensure its continued support of basic academic research? and (b) What, if anything, should NSF do differently to meet the

The Scientist Staff
Mar 21, 1993
A recent article in The Scientist, headlined "NSF Still Wrestling With Science Board Over Recommendations For Agency Future" (Barton Reppert, Feb. 8, 1993, page 1), discussed the report of the National Science Board's Commission on the Future of the National Science Foundation. This commission, of which I was a member, was asked to answer two questions: (a) How can NSF best ensure its continued support of basic academic research? and (b) What, if anything, should NSF do differently to meet the new national priorities in the post-Cold War period?

The commission answered these questions, but, as The Scientist correctly noted, the report was worded rather ambiguously. Bruce Smith, a science policy analyst at the Brookings Institution, was quoted as saying about the report: "It's like the Dead Sea Scrolls, written in some kind of strange code." I rather agreed with Smith, and felt strongly that the issues surrounding NSF's future...

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