WASHINGTON—David Challinor smiles as he explains how Smithsonian Institution scientists benefit from about a dozen National Science Foundation grants even though Congress has prohibited the organization from asking NSF for money.

"It just takes some imagination. One way is to join a consortium. Another is to approach the NSF with a project it wants done. As any Washington bureaucrat knows, there's more than one way to skin a cat."

In fact, the 66-year-old Challinor knows more than most bureaucrats about which strings to pull to advance the cause of science. This summer he will retire after 16 years as head of scientific research at the Smithsonian, which in addition to its museums runs a $60 million-a-year research program with 400 scholars and scientists in the United States and Panama. Two years ago he became Assistant Secretary for Research, adding the arts and humanities to his previous duties overseeing science.


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