of the BIO Advisory Committee
November 18-19, 2004
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18th
Welcome and Approval of Minutes
Dr. James P. Collins, Chair of the Advisory Committee for Biological
Sciences (BIOAC), convened the Fall 2004 meeting at 8:45 am with
a welcome to members and guests. Dr. Collins noted members not
in attendance – Chandler, Melillo,
Vanderhoef, and Jelinski. Dr. Mary E. Clutter, Assistant Director for the Biological
Sciences (BIO), greeted the BIOAC and introduced new BIO senior managers – Tom
Brady, Division Director of Integrative Organismal Biology (IOB) and Jerry
Cohen, Deputy Division Directory of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences. The
minutes for the April 2004 meeting were unanimously approved by the Committee.
Dr. Collins updated BIOAC members on the activities of the Advisory
Committee for Environmental Research and Education (ACERE), including
a new report and workshop in the spring focusing on water resources
and sensing systems. The ACERE has been advising NSF on integrative
and interdisciplinary programs and is interested in making connections
Budget and Current Issues – Dr.
Mary E. Clutter
Dr. Clutter updated the Committee on the status of the FY 2005
Budget Request including highlights of the House and Senate reports.
She reviewed NSF budget history, noting that NSF had received increases
every year except 1986 and that the increase from 1998 to 2004
was 65%. She predicted that NSF would be back on doubling track
by 2007 and discussed BIO average award size, duration and the
decrease in BIO success rates from 1999-2004. Federal government
outlays were presented to the AC and discussion topics included
the future of social security, the increasing net interest, and
the likelihood of a decrease in discretionary spending. Dr. Clutter
noted that only $18 billion of federal research and development
money out of a total of $85 billion is going to universities and
colleges. She also reviewed NSF’s strategic goals and priorities,
including broadening participation, increasing the success rate,
cyberinfrastructure, and organizational excellence.
The BIOAC discussed:
- A recent panel suggestion to cut BIO award size in order to
spread the budget farther.
- How success rate decreases as proposal number increases.
- The fiscal risk involved in making mostly standard grants.
- The Emerging Frontiers Division as an innovative strategy
for dealing with high risk, or bold, research.
- The impact of Criterion 2 as well as the tension caused by
having a goal of broadening participation during years of flat
Reorganization - Division of Integrative Organismal Biology (IOB):
Dr. Judith Verbeke, Deputy Division Director
Dr. Verbeke updated the Committee on the IOB reorganization plans
that took effect on July 26, 2004. The overall goal of the reorganization
is to support integrative research at the frontier of plant, animal,
and neural biology. The four cluster descriptions – Behavioral
Systems, Developmental Systems, Environmental and Structural Systems,
Functional and Regulatory Systems – have been posted on the
web (http://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=IOB) and A Dear Colleague
Letter (DCL) and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) will follow
shortly. IOB Program directors have been given responsibilities
in multiple clusters to encourage team-building and cross-talk.
IOB is creating panels for proposals (not proposals for panels)
to encourage fluidity and flexibility. Implementation plans include
cluster descriptions and DCL/FAQ’s posted on web and communicated at professional
society meetings and to all advisory panels.
The BIOAC discussed:
- The marked enthusiasm seen in panels for this new focus on
- The fact that this reorganization opens doors and provides
more flexibility and opportunities for plant and neuroscience
- Enthusiasm for greater interaction among Program Directors.
- How this IOB reorganization can serve as an example to academic
- The importance of IOB communicating the reorganization to
the community, especially at meetings that are not normally attended
by IOB researchers (e.g., cell biology).
Cyberinfrastructure in the Biological Sciences Working Group (CIBS):
Dr. Michael Willig, Chair (Division Director, Environmental Biology)
Dr. Willig updated the Committee on activities of the CIBS working
group and reviewed the charge to CIBS – to assess and update
baseline data, review cyberinfrastructure programs, and develop
a Strategic Five Year Plan. The first draft of the strategic plan
is due in December. Recommendations for FY2005 include: workshops,
workforce development, database development, and advanced computation
and simulation. Other proposed activities include: interacting
with CISE (Shared Cyberinfrastructure) and other directorates,
BIO-wide workshops, and Cyber-enabled Research Seminars. The Strategic
Plan focuses on – workforce, data and information, access,
interoperability, and advanced computation and simulation – and
on creating cyber-savvy Program Officers to lead the development
of cyberinfrastructure for biological research and education while
at NSF and when they return to their home institutions.
The BIOAC discussed:
- The new role of libraries as interactive learning centers for
- The maintenance of long-lived data in the future.
- The need to develop a cadre of students who will be ready
to use cyberinfrastructure, including development of interdisciplinary
majors founded on informatics tools.
- Can BIO lead the way in making the connection from K-12 to
- How the CIBS Strategic Plan reflects diversity and targets
the growing number of minority students, especially in its
- How cyberinfrastructure, by its very nature, creates a democratization
- The constant tension between protecting the intellectual property
rights of individuals while at same time protecting public
access to data and information.
- How cyberinfrastructure is changing the culture of biosciences.
National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON): Dr. Elizabeth
Blood, Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
Dr. Blood briefed the Committee on NEON activities since the last
AC meeting: science requirements workshops held during the summer
of 2004; a $6 million award to AIBS in September 2004 for the NEON
Design Consortium and Project Office; an Interagency Working Group
meeting; cross-observatory activities; and the new NEON website:
www.neoninc.org, which includes workshop reports and a calendar
of all NEON activities. Dr. Blood explained the structure of the
NEON project, which includes: the NEON Senior Management Team,
the NEON Project Office at AIBS, Technical Services Contractors,
and the NEON Advisory Board. NEON committees include the Science
and Human Dimension Committee (SHDC), Education Committee (EC),
Facilities and Infrastructure Committee (FIC), and National Network
Design Committee (NNDC). Dr. Blood also discussed common issues,
challenges, and interoperability among observatory systems.
The BIOAC discussed:
- Concern regarding the very tight and somewhat inflexible schedule
- The importance of including the NSF large facilities office
in the vetting of all committees memberships and reports.
- The reason for including professional firms (e.g., Technical
- The 16 regional groups and the self-nominated members of committees
(the “at large” group of advisors) who will receive
proceedings of meetings to help refine the process and products
along the way.
Emerging Frontiers (EF): Dr. Joann Roskoski, Executive Officer
Dr. Roskoski briefed the AC on the history, goals, and activities
of the Emerging Frontiers Division and explained how EF incubates,
grows, and then mainstreams innovative programs into the BIO
core. In FY 2005, EF includes Biocomplexity in the Environment
(BE), Nanoscale Science and Engineering (NSE), Math Sciences,
Human and Social Dynamics (HSD), and Frontiers in Integrative
Biological Research (FIBR). BE includes Coupled and Natural Human
Systems (CNH), Ecology of Infectious Diseases (EID) with NIH,
Microbial Genome Sequencing with USDA, and Assembling the Tree
of Life (AtoL). FIBR supports projects that address major biological
questions, are multidisciplinary, and are larger and of longer
duration than most BIO awards. In FY 2004, EF also included Research
Coordination Networks (RCN) that support groups of investigators
across disciplines, organizations, institutions, and geographical
boundaries. Two examples/websites of RCNs were demonstrated – WallBioNet
and Deep Time Project.
The BIOAC discussed:
- The administration of EF, including the ups and downs.
- The challenges of implementing the shared management of EF
using the Electronic Jacket (EJ).
- How EF has given staff a better, clearer idea of what is going
on with these programs.
Dr. Joseph Bordogna, Deputy Director, NSF
Dr. Bordogna discussed the contemporary scene in the federal government
including Administration priorities, a continued emphasis on
homeland security, growing opportunities for science and engineering
communities to address national needs, growing sophistication
of research tools as enablers, and workforce issues. Dr. Bordogna
briefed the Committee on the NSB report, Fulfilling the Promise
(NSB 03-151, Section 22), a response to legislation on doubling
the NSF budget legislation. Priorities in the FY 2006 budget
include accessible cyberinfastructure, maintenance of organizational
excellence, and a primary focus on broadening participation and
diversity, even in times of tight budgets. Dr. Bordogna concluded
by presenting examples of how diversity is woven throughout all
speeches given by the OD (e.g., a regional HBCU student research
conference and a ABET annual meeting).
The BIOAC and Dr. Bordogna discussed:
- How the Foundation can use its “green lights” to
- The need for NSF to take a leadership role in embracing diversity
at the community college level.
- Strategies for increasing award size during static budget
years including the importance of efficiency at all levels (e.g.,
rewriting open-ended solicitations that result in too many proposals).
- The importance of holistically bridging disciplines to create
strategies for linking funds (e.g., Science and Technology Centers).
- Strategies for increasing public awareness of NSF’s
mission, including the new NSF website and the need for more
interaction between universities and local congressional representatives.
- The effect of an increasingly conservative and ideological
government on efforts to “stay at the frontier,” and the need
to keep NSF moving carefully ahead with force – NSF provides
the infrastructure and grantees are the force.
Introduction: Dr. Mary Clutter
Dr. Clutter gave an overview of broadening participation at NSF,
noting that every grant should be having an impact and that Criterion
2 is making a difference. She gave examples of activities (K-12
through faculty levels and institutional programs) and reviewed
the 2003-2008 NSF Strategic Goals.
Background on NSF Diversity
Legal Aspects – Mr. Lawrence Rudolph,
NSF General Counsel
Mr. Rudolph briefly discussed legal aspects of broadening participation
to increase the number of underrepresented minorities, women, and
persons with disabilities in the S&E enterprise. He reminded
the Committee that different lawyers have different levels
of risk tolerance and encouraged NSF to think creatively and carefully
consider when writing a solicitation.
The BIOAC discussed:
- Strategies for BIO to ensure diverse participation on panels
and committees, e.g. you can insist that groups be diverse but
you can’t insist that groups be exclusive.
- The problems caused by the difficulty of collecting ethnic,
racial and gender data. Mr. Rudolph reminded the AC that there
are laws restricting data collection by federal agencies. You
can’t solicit data without an OMB approved form but you
can talk to a handful of people. It might border on anecdotal
evidence, but it should still be usable data.
- The many difficulties in evaluating NSF’s minority programs
and the relationship between inputs (how much we spend) and outputs
(success of the programs).
- The significant effort but absolute need for NSF to collect
information during a program’s entire life cycle.
NSF Framework and Programs – Dr. Thomas
Windham, Senior Advisor, OD
Dr. Windham reported to the Committee that NSF has made extraordinary
strides in efforts to broaden participation but there is no denying
the fact that it is extremely difficult to evaluate programs. He
stressed that in order to truly measure progress, we need to use
the Caucasian number of PhD’s per bachelors (6 out of 100)
as a benchmark and establish that same number as the goal for underrepresented
The BIOAC discussed:
- The fact that using a “quota” is forbidden
but using a “goal” is not. You just have to be careful
that your goal does not turn into a quota.
- Concerns that with more data, NSF could be more strategic
in its investments.
- How universities can use creative ways to collect this data,
e.g. survey alumni and provide feedback to NSF.
CEOSE Guidance to NSF – Dr. Margaret
Tolbert, Executive Liaison
Dr. Tolbert discussed the history and goals of CEOSE – to
review and provide advice to NSF about all of its programs, not
just those for underrepresented groups. She reviewed the CEOSE
Reports to Congress that are used to assess policies and trends
and propose new strategies. She concluded with a discussion of
continuing challenges, including the role of the merit review system;
access to education and employment for underrepresented populations;
enhanced diversity among NSF staff; continued expansion of outreach
efforts; better monitoring of Criterion 2 outcomes; greater attention
to concerns of scientists with disabilities; addressing reviewer
reluctance to report gender, race/ethnicity, and disability status;
broaden participation in STEM; and the need for regular assessment
The BIOAC discussed:
- BIO’s excellent track record according to the CEOSE report
- The problem with measuring success in different units.
- Concern about retention, i.e. student diversity is much greater
than faculty diversity.
- The need for a personal approach to recruiting – find
a small number of students and dedicated mentors each year and
then have patience and watch numbers grow.
- The posse approach – using groups of students to support
Education Plan: Drs. Penelope Firth, DEB, and Muriel Poston, DBI
Drs. Firth and Poston updated the AC members on the Education plan,
concentrating on actions since the last AC meeting. They reviewed
fundamental goals, priorities to build capacity, and big questions
used to organize the plan’s recommendations. Actions include
a modest FY05 budget increase for LTER Schoolyard Science, a
planned workshop regarding high school students in research settings,
a Dear Colleague Letter for community college faculty (Research
Opportunity Awards), and an assessment of the REU program. Future
considerations include “bundling” of recommendations,
closer attention to timing (e.g., how near term actions enable
and constrain longer-range plans), partnering opportunities beyond
BIO, and integration with objectives for broadening participation.
Next steps include a BIO Senior Management Education and Strategy
Retreat for Planning and Implementation.
The BIOAC recommended:
- Publishing the BIO Education Plan, possibly as an “occasional
paper” much like the recent ACERE published papers.
- Add a disclaimer to the paper to address concerns that a published
report equals dedicated funding.
Broadening Participation Working Group: Dr. Thomas Brady, Chair
(Division Director, IOB)
Dr. Brady began his presentation by noting that this is a unique
time in the history of the Foundation: the Director of NSF has
a senior advisor on broadening participation, broadening participation
is one of the Foundation’s strategic goals, and BIO has a
broadening participation working group. Dr. Brady introduced members
of this working group and discussed its charge to develop an action
plan for broadening participation of individuals and institutions
underrepresented both within NSF and in the biological sciences
community. A draft strategic plan will include recommendations
for BIO that may be used for designing or updating an appropriate
portfolio of activities, consistent with the BIO Education Strategy,
the NSB Broadening Participation guidance, various activities within
EHR, and across NSF. Dr. Brady discussed a recent Quality Education
for Minorities (QEM) workshop organized by a MCB grantee and a
not-for-profit organization that provides technical assistance
to faculty members at minority institutions and underrepresented
minority faculty at other institutions. Dr. Brady concluded by
reviewing details of potential research funding mechanisms, including
a soon to be released Research Planning Grants and Career Advancement
Awards request for proposals.
The BIOAC discussed:
- Strategies for increasing the pool of individuals from underrepresented
groups to participate in workshops such the QEM Network Meeting.
- The strong connection that the QEM Network has with Minority
Serving Institutions (MSI).
- The value of using the QEM list as a source of possible NSF
- The importance of communicating to individuals from underrepresented
groups, whose first proposals to NSF are declined, that persistence
Division of Biological Infrastructure: Dr. Muriel Poston, Deputy
Dr. Poston presented examples of projects that address broadening
participation in the Division of Biological Infrastructure, including
- Plant Genome Research Program Outreach Portal (PGROP) – an
outreach portal for educational activities emphasizing resources
integrated at all levels (http://www.plantgdb.org/pgrop/).
- An outreach activity to discover the origins of the Makah
potato, including a public portal with information about potato
genome research (http://www.outreach.potatogenome.org).
- Two UMEB projects – (1) one at the University of Hawaii
targeting native Hawaiians, includes component to train faculty
from community colleges in Micronesian and Polynesian Islands,
and (2) a collaborative program targeting African American students
at Hampton University and the College of William and Mary.
- REU, New Mexico State University – program targeting
first generation college students whose parents or grandparents
were migrant farm workers.
- Research Experiences for Teachers (RET), UTEP Indio Mountain
Research Station – provides supplements to middle and high
school science teachers for development of mini-courses to use
in classrooms and field sites.
- Two IGERT programs – ISU (87 faculty, 11 departments, 5
interdepartmental programs) and NC State (118 faculty, 15 departments).
Division of Environmental Biology: Drs. Alan Tessier and Charles
Dr. Tessier discussed the Interdisciplinary Training for Undergraduates
in Biological and Mathematical Sciences (UBM) program, an alternate
form of broadening participation focusing on the interface of biology
and math. The first UBM award went to the College of William & Mary
and Thomas Nelson Community College (40% minorities) and involves
changes in curriculum and multiple-year joint mentoring by biology
and math faculty. Dr. Tessier also discussed the NCEAS K-12 Science
Outreach effort – Kids Do Ecology – a website designed
to attract kids to ecology, where teachers can work with NCEAS
postdocs and scientists throughout the school year. Dr. Nilon presented
two examples of broadening participation through LTER programs:
(1) the Schoolyard LTER at Niwot Ridge focusing on biosphere literacy,
and (2) the Baltimore LTER focusing on urban ecosystems. Dr. Nilon
also discussed the Cicada Conference, the largest press event ever
held at NSF, which included an outreach effort to reach the public
in new ways.
Division of Integrative Organismal Biology: Dr. Thomas Brady,
Dr. Brady presented examples of broadening participation in the
Division of Integrative Organismal Biology, including the following:
- CAREER award at the University of Chicago – awardee created
a video to communicate science to the public and incorporates outreach
to “Sisters4Science” program targeting girls during
a crucial decision-making time of their lives (middle school).
- C-RUI award at Towson University – studies the impact
of urbanization and uses problems to which students can relate,
an important factor in recruiting a broad array of students to
science; awardee serves as a mentor and involves students at
all levels of the project.
- C-RUI award at Pomona College and Elizabethtown College – very
successful results of a minority awardee serving as a mentor
and inspiration to minority students.
Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences: Dr Maryanna Henkart,
Dr. Henkart presented examples of broadening participation in the
Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, including the following:
- CAREER award at the University of Tennessee – education
outreach to develop functional genomics tools for the community;
PI developed relationship with HBCU to host workshop for undergraduates,
graduate students, and faculty.
- CAREER award at James Madison University – integrated
research and education outreach to develop laboratory experiences
for undergraduates and high school teachers in research; activities
expanded to include deaf and hard of hearing undergraduates,
high school students and their interpreters in the labs; results
are being published in education journals as another source
The BIOAC discussed:
- Details of the RET program, including participation of Native
American teachers and dissemination of the Dear Colleague letter
to the community via the web and a list of activities sent to
all BIO awardees.
- How much higher education uses IGERT’s successes and
even declines as excellent examples of broadening participation.
- The short and long-term impacts of attracting kids to science
- The importance of explaining science to the public.
- The importance of choosing the right problem and the right
time to intervene if you wish to engage students in S&E.
Challenges and Impact of NSF Activities
Dr. Norine Noonan, College of Charleston
Representing Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs), Dr.
Noonan shared success stories from the College of Charleston: (1)
A statewide program (NIH/EPSCoR) through which 11 faculty mentored
75 students (15% of which were African American) over three years.
All graduated African American students are now working in their
field or are in graduate/professional school. (2) Integration of
REU and South Carolina Alliance for Minority Participation (SCAMP)
programs, including a deaf student whose mentor learned sign language.
(3) SCAMP students in summer bridge program involving parents as
well. Dr. Noonan also discussed challenges in hiring minority faculty;
the unique requirements of students with physical disabilities;
and Standing Our Ground, the new AAAS publication dealing with
underrepresented minority recruitment and retention in the post-Michigan
era. Dr. Noonan proposed that NSF should reconsider its current
organizational structure, which separates EHR’s K-12 programs
from the rest of the Foundation’s programs, if we are truly
to integrate research and education and broaden participation at
The BIOAC discussed:
- The need for more SCAMP funding and the challenges faced by
- Outreach activities needed at the K-14 level.
- The critical importance of developing metrics to evaluate
- The role that peer groups and parents are playing in retention
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 19th
CAREER: Dr. Joanne Tornow, Chair, NSF CAREER Coordinating Committee
Dr. Tornow reviewed the history and goals of CAREER; the decline
in NSF CAREER success rates over the last five years, noting
a 30% increase in number of proposals over the same period of
time; BIO success rates by division and total increase in BIO
funding for CAREER; and CAREER demographics – increasing
females and minorities, 16% from EPSCoR states and 4% from MSI’s.
Future activities include a COV review in FY 2005, an external
evaluation, and a PECASE award colloquium focusing on building
bridges between PECASE, CAREER and other NSF programs.
The BIOAC discussed:
- The need for data to examine the change in success rate for
the increased number of minorities submitting CAREER proposals.
- The challenges facing CAREER awardees as they try to balance
research and education at the beginning of their career – activities
need to be integrated not competing for time.
- The recent trend in institutions using CAREER as a measure
for tenure and promotion.
- An example of a CAREER award in which the research failed
but the education component was a huge success.
- The multiple implementation strategies of CAREER at NSF – Leader
model vs Critical Mass model – resulting in differences
in how CAREER is implemented across the foundation.
Challenges and Impact of NSF Activities (continued)
Dr. Norma Allewell, University of Maryland, College Park
Dr. Allewell reviewed NSF support at the University of Maryland,
an extremely diverse university (e.g., 32% of 25,000 undergraduates
are from underrepresented groups), and presented the following
successful examples: (1) vertically integrated K-16 partnerships,
including summer institutes and school year collaborations creating
professional learning communities; (2) a CAREER award enabling
first year students to engage in independent research; (3) Materials
Research Science and Engineering Center supporting service-learning-based
K-12 education outreach; (4) an IGERT in Biology of Small Populations
supporting 42 students and 16 postdocs; and (5) an IGERT in Human
Evolutionary Biology incorporating outreach in Africa.
The BIOAC discussed:
- The excitement that diversity brings to an institution.
- The paradox that those doing a good job don’t have the
external stimulus to push them harder (e.g., the legacy of exclusion
of women in geosciences vs. the legacy of inclusion in biosciences
resulting in difficulties recruiting women to the biosciences
as compared to the geosciences).
Dr. George Liggins, Bacton Assay – Partnerships
Dr. Liggins discussed examples of positive impacts he’s seen
in the private sector and while serving on advisory boards of academic
institutions. Most noticeable are the increased number of relationships
between community colleges (higher level of diversity) and larger
institutions (increased opportunities). He noted that UCSD has
been more successful recruiting underrepresented groups to the
faculty than to the student body; the role that private sector
executives can play in encouraging students to continue their education;
and NSF has become more approachable to institutions like his alma
mater, Hampton University.
The BIOAC discussed:
- The need for colleges and universities to invite business men
and women from underrepresented groups to interact with and encourage
- The possibility that more BIO PhDs are employed in the private
sector because of issues of job insecurity and low salaries
in academic careers.
Dr. Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet, Tribal Colleges
Dr. Manuelito-Kerkvliet briefed AC members on the status of the
nation’s 35 Tribal Colleges and distributed copies of Tribal
College Journal and an NSF-produced publication on profiles of
all Tribal Colleges. Dr. Manuelito-Kerkvliet discussed the following:
- Federal funding is not growing at the same rate as Tribal Colleges.
- The need for NSF to focus on newer, smaller schools that need
the most help – site visits are most advantageous.
- A key problem with outreach to Tribal Colleges is that information
does not reach the right people.
- Challenges of delivering educational resources to remote areas.
- The umbrella organizations – American Indian Higher Education
Consortium (AIHEC) and White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges
and Universities (WHITCU).
- Sustainability of grants at Tribal Colleges – the lack
of resources and communication causing problems with efficiency
and management of awards.
- The weak commitment of native faculty to Tribal Colleges and
students when salaries and opportunities are higher at mainstream
- High student retention rates at Tribal Colleges – 90% compared
to 50% in mainstream schools.
The BIOAC discussed:
- The advantages of Tribal Colleges making connections with mainstream
schools and EPSCoR programs.
- The tension between Tribal Councils and overarching organizations
such as AIHEC and WHITCU.
Activities of Other NSF Directorates
Directorate for Geosciences (GEO): Dr. Jacqueline Huntoon, Office
of the Assistant Director
Dr. Huntoon reviewed demographics in the geosciences, which has
the lowest percent minorities at the bachelors and masters levels
and one of lowest for PhD’s and women. She presented programs
in GEO used to broaden participation: (1) Opportunities for Enhancing
Diversity in the Geosciences (OEDG), which provides support for
individuals, communities and institutions by developing collaborations
or using existing networks (e.g. LSAMP) and encourages research
universities to develop partnerships with minority serving institutions
(MSIs). (2) REU sites encouraging PI’s to recruit from LSAMP
institutions and other MSI’s. (3) Annual reporting procedures
in GEO and strategies to make STC’s more effective in broadening
The BIOAC discussed:
- The importance of putting dollars in places where the student
body pool is diverse, e.g. make site visit before making award
to ensure diversity.
- The role of the AD/GEO in making broadening participation
a high priority in GEO.
- Engaging students at the interface between (BIO) and (GEO).
- GEO’s loss of students to engineering professions and the
historical connection between geosciences and the petroleum industry.
Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS): Dr.
Janice Hicks, Division of Chemistry
Dr. Hicks presented new activities in MPS, including an REU-LSAMP
partnership (67 sites with 600 students) and Undergraduate Research
Centers (URC) targeting first and second year students and community
colleges. The first URC award went to Purdue, the Center for Authentic
Practice in Science Education (CASPiE), and includes distribution
of planning grants to partner institutions. Future activities include
cyber-enabled chemistry, partnering REU sites with the URC planning
grant sites, and Discovery Corps Fellowships – service-oriented
projects that leverage research expertise of postdocs or senior
The BIOAC discussed:
- The importance of including community colleges
in all efforts to broaden participation.
- Foreign REU sites – getting students to think globally.
A General Broadening Participation Discussion Centered On the
- Outcomes from these AC discussions – will NSF be making
- Concerns regarding lack of data and development of metrics.
- The effect Criterion 2 is having on institutions.
- IGERT accountability and sustainability issues.
- NSF should increase the number of workshops to make the community
more aware of these broadening participation programs.
- Focus on “pressure points” (e.g., sixth-seventh grade)
to efficiently leverage resources.
Committee of Visitors Reports
Dr. Burt Ensley briefed the Committee on recommendations from the
PGR COV report: (1) the management of legacy databases, (2) attention
to plants of economic importance outside the US, (3) concern
for the low level of attention paid to Criterion 2 by reviewers,
and (4) the low level of participation by underrepresented groups
in PGR. Dr.Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet briefed the Committee
on recommendations from the DBI COV report: (1) FastLane and
Electronic Jacket should be relieving Program Officer workload,
not adding to it, (2) decrease feedback time to PI’s, (3)
reference broader impacts in all documents, and (4) increase
outreach efforts to MSI’s. The BIOAC unanimously agreed
to accept both PGR and DBI COV reports.
- FY 2005 COVS: MCB – Mary Lou Guerinot and IOB – Susan
- Spring dates: April 7-8 or April 28-29, 2005
Around the Table Comments Included:
- Enthusiasm for IOB’s reorganization, especially unique
panels to meet needs of proposals.
- Emphasis on community colleges and their role in educating
minorities – encourage
continuing partnerships with research institutions.
- The curve is still flat. BIO is doing great things but it’s
the outcomes that really matter.
- Excitement seeing NSF pulling together as an agency – Criterion
2 is really making a difference.
- NEON as the beginning of a whole new era and way of doing
business for biologists.
The Fall BIO Advisory Committee meeting was adjourned at 1:20
/S/ Susan Stafford 04/08/05
Susan Stafford, Chair Date
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