of the BIO Advisory Committee
November 8-9, 2001
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8th
Welcome: Dr. Mary E. Clutter, Assistant Director
Director Dr. Clutter introduced
a new member of the BIO AC, Dr. Thomas E. Brady., Dean College of Sciences, University
of Texas, El Paso.
Remarks, Approval of Minutes: Dr. Ellen Goldberg, Chair
of the April 2001 meeting were approved by voice vote. Dr. Goldberg
noted that one goal of this meeting is to assist BIO in developing
the new biology of the 21st century.
Government Performance and Result Act (GPRA) Assessment: Dr.
Joann Roskoski, Ms. Sonya Mallinoff, & BIO AC Government
Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Working Group
Dr. Roskoski reviewed the assessment process which made use of
Committee of Visitors (COV) reports, program annual reports and
other documents to produce the FY 2001 BIO GPRA Performance Report.
The BIO AC Working Group was charged to rate the BIO directorate's
achievement against the FY 2001 NSF performance goals. .
BIO FY 2001 Committees of Visitors:
Committee of Visitor (COV) reports were summarized by each BIO
AC representative to a COV, as noted below, and approved by the
- Division of Environmental Biology, Long-Term Ecological Research,
Dr. Leonard Krishtalka
- Division of Integrative Biology and Neuroscience, Division
Review, Dr. Gwen Jacobs
- Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, Cell Biology
Cluster, Dr. Norine Noonan
- Plant Genome Research Program, Dr. Burt Ensley
Incentives and Consequences: Dr. George Jones (ad hoc discussion)
Dr. Jones led a discussion about using both incentives and consequences
to address diversity issues at NSF and within the research/educational
BIO GPRA Performance Evaluation: Dr. Norine Noonan
The BIO AC endorsed
the BIO self-assessment and rated the BIO directorate as successful
in meeting the FY 2001 Performance Goals of NSF (People, Ideas
and Tools). The report included the following comments and recommendations:
(a) the issue of increasing diversity in science and engineering
remains a large problem without easy solutions, and it is recommended
that BIO consider this issue in consultation with the rest of NSF;
(b) BIO funding has significantly advanced knowledge in areas not
supported by other Federal agencies and catalyzed interagency work;
(c) it is recommended that BIO implement COV suggestions as appropriate
for increasing the use of criterion 2 by reviewers and principal
investigators; and BIO is commended for achievement in the area
of management and investment goals. The AC asked BIO to report
back on its progress in implementing COV recommendations and to
ensure that its programs continue to evolve with the fields they
BIO FY 2002 Budget Update: Dr. Mary Clutter
NSF received an increase
of 8.4% over the FY 2001 current plan; BIO received an increase
of 4.8% over the FY 2001 current plan
NSF Activities Update: Dr. Joann Roskoski
BIO participates in
various NSF priority areas, including Biocomplexity in the Environment,
Information Technology Research, Nanoscale Science and Engineering,
and Learning for the 21st Century. BIO's priority areas include
the Plant Genome Program and the 2010 Project.
Recruitment of Program Officers: Dr. George Jones
included (1) the effect of timing and career stage on an individual's
decision to serve as a program officer; (2) ways to encourage recognition
of service as a program officer so that the time away does not
become an impediment to career advancement; (3) use of AC members
to help with program officer recruitment; (4) engaging professional
societies in recruitment and recognition; and (5) benefits of being
a program officer (growth, broadened vision, administrative skills).
Current Issues - The New Biology: Dr. Mary Clutter
reached the point where new tools and information allow it to embrace
an integrated as well a reductionist approach. As borders between
disciplines have blurred, a New Biology, which is multidisciplinary,
multidimensional, education oriented and information driven, has
Charge to Breakout Groups: Dr. Ellen Goldberg
The charge was to
consider how to bring about the integration of reductionist and
holistic biology. Additionally, the groups were to consider how
NSF could implement the New Biology in order to better serve the
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9th
Future Business - Workshops - Grand Challenges: Dr. Leonard Krishtalka
A list of ten grand scientific challenges was presented, which
Dr. Krishtalka suggested could be used as a blueprint for scientific
planning, or in developing a budget. Dr. Clutter charged a working
group to further develop a workshop on this idea. Because of the
breadth of the challenges, other disciplines will need to be involved
in the workshop.
Reports and Discussion from Breakout Groups - Enabling The New
The AC formed breakout groups to discuss how BIO and NSF
might best facilitate and enable the New Biology. There were exciting
and interesting discussions on issues such as: (1) the need to
support informatics, (2) mid-career training of biologists, (3)
training biologists how to manage multidisciplinary teams, and
(4) developing the infrastructure and institutional framework to
support interdisciplinary work.
BIO AC Subcommittee on Program Officer Recruitment
The AC agreed
to work with BIO to develop a plan to recruit the highest quality
program officers and recommended that BIO work with the AC and
the scientific community to determine future areas of needed expertise
for program officers. Drs. George Jones (lead), Marvalee Wake and
Norine Noonan agreed to serve on this subcommittee.
BIO AC Subcommittee for the New Biology
Drs. Larry Vanderhoef,
Claire Fraser, Burt Ensley, James Collins and Vicki Chandler agreed
to form a subcommittee to interact with and advise BIO on this
topic, and then report back to the AC.
Future Business - Workshops - Roots of Cognition: Dr. Ellen Goldberg
The AC reviewed a draft proposal prepared by the Krasnow Institute
for Advanced Study at George Mason University. The Institute will
be advised to submit a formal proposal to NSF for consideration.
Other Directorates such as SBE will be invited to participate in
the review of the proposal.
FY 2002 BIO Committee of Visitors: BIO AC assignments are noted
- Division of Biological Infrastructure, Instrumentation Cluster,
March 4-6, 2002, Dr. John Wooley
- Division of Environmental Biology, Ecological Studies Cluster,
March 20-22, 2002, Dr. James Collins
- Division of Integrative Biology and Neuroscience, Physiology
and Ethology Cluster, February 25-27, 2002, Dr. Thomas Brady
- Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, Division Review,
March 13-15, 2002, Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones
BIO AC voted to endorse position on foreign student visas
AC drafted a memo to Dr. John Marburger, Director of the Office
of Science and Technology Policy, regarding foreign student visas.
The Committee acknowledged that there is an administrative tracking
problem regarding foreign students that must be fixed. However,
the committee also stressed the benefits of educating foreign students,
e.g. enhanced vitality of US science from foreign students who
remain, economic benefits resulting from the growth of science
overseas when students return home, and the positive view of the
US, its culture and institutions, that foreign students often convey
to their country upon their return.
BIO AC Activities - Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program
20-Year Review: Dr. Leonard Krishtalka
In extensive coordination
with the community, the review committee developed nine issues
to be addressed during the review. The final report will be presented
at the April 2002 AC meeting.
BIO AC Activities - Environment - Report on the Advisory Committee
on Environmental Research and Education (AC-ERE) Meeting: Dr. James
The AC-ERE is developing a strategic planning document
that focuses on : (1) research, (2) infrastructure, and (3) education/diversity.
Speakers at recent AC-ERE meetings included E.O. Wilson and Simon
Levin. In October 2001, NSF and the EC signed an Implementing Arrangement
for Cooperative Activities in the areas of climate research, marine
science and technology, seismic risk and hazards reduction, Arctic
research and environmental biology. A similar agreement will be
pursued with Japan.
Dr. Rita Colwell, Director, NSF
discussed the budget and NSF's role in the response to the events
of September 11, 2001. The AC presented information on the New
Biology and recruitment.
A final discussion centered on the
idea of NSF senior administrators visiting universities to meet
with all NSF PIs and institutional representatives in order to
encourage networking, recruit the next generation of researchers
and program officers, and address diversity issues in the science
and engineering workforce.
Future Meeting Dates:
Spring - April 25 - 26, 2002 Topic: Education
(Date changed after the meeting to accommodate schedule conflicts)
Fall - November 7-8, 2002
/S/ James P. Collins May
James Collins, Acting Chair Date
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