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CPP Task Force on International Science

Charge
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Statutory Basis
"The Board shall render to the President for submission to the Congress reports on specific, individual policy matters related to science and engineering and education in science engineering, as the Board, the President, or the Congress determines the need for such reports."
(42 U.S.C. Section 1863) SEC. 4. (j) (2)

Action Recommended
The National Science Board (NSB, the Board) will examine the role of the U.S. Government in international science and engineering in response to the changes that have occurred in recent years to the global dynamics for science and engineering (S&E) research, education, politics, and technical workforce.

Background
In September 2001, the Board released a report entitled, Towards a More Effective Role for the U.S. Government in International Science and Engineering (NSB-01-187). Many of the recommendations from this report remain valid, and are largely unfulfilled. Since the time this report was prepared, there have also been considerable shifts in the international landscape. These shifts, along with the unfulfilled recommendations of the 2001 report, warrant a careful reexamination of the role of the U.S. Government in international S&E to address the many changes that have occurred in the global S&E dynamics related to research, education, politics, and technical workforce.

Policy Objectives
The ad hoc Task Group on International Science recommends that the Board approve the creation of a formal Task Force on International Science under the Committee on Programs and Plans (CPP). The following issues will be analyzed and discussed before constructive policy recommendations are brought to CPP and the full Board:

  • Facilitating partnerships between U.S. and non-U.S. scientists and engineers in the U.S.
  • Facilitating partnerships between U.S. and non-U.S. scientists and engineers outside the U.S. in both developed and developing countries
  • Utilization of (S&E) partnerships for improving relations between countries.
  • Utilization of (S&E) partnerships for improving quality of life and environmental protection in developing countries.

The role of U.S. and international students will be considered throughout all task force activities. As the world of scientific research becomes increasingly global and intensely competitive, it is important to establish an environment for future generations of researchers to perform in a more "globally aware" manner. Future generations of researchers will need to be more cognizant of, and be able to successfully address, the various international and cultural issues that may influence the development and implementation of S&E partnerships; issues which current generations have been fairly insulated. Even U.S. scientists who have been active internationally in the past, may not be fully aware of the complexity of functioning in a rapidly changing and highly competitive world because they have often been the lead or "controlling" entity in previous partnerships.

U.S. Federal agencies currently fund a wide range of international (S&E) partnerships that support both basic and applied research, with NSF programs seeking to ensure that U.S. institutions and scientists are globally engaged and able to more fully advance their research via international collaboration. The task force will examine the experiences of various U.S. Government supported international S&E partnership programs with respect to their effectiveness in furthering research advancements, and their experience in utilizing S&E partnerships as vehicles for achieving more than research advances (i.e., improved relationships between countries; capacity building; and environmental awareness). While particular interest will be on the level of inter-agency coordination, and more specifically the role of NSF in both facilitating and directly supporting (S&E) partnerships outside the U.S., the task force will also examine international S&E partnership activities as they interplay with science policy, foreign policy and domestic policy objectives.

The task force will consult with science officials from other agencies and around the world as well as representatives of both U.S. and international science communities, to better understand a wide range of perspectives on the role of government in supporting international S&E partnerships that specifically address the issues identified above. The task force will also interact with other Federal agencies to understand how they may or may not have utilized the findings and recommendations made in the Board’s 2001 report on international S&E.

Logistics
The task force will seek to bring together NSB Members, members of the international scientific community, U.S. Federal agency representatives, and NSF staff (along with representatives from the NSF Advisory Committee for International Science and Engineering). The NSB Office will serve as the focal point for coordination and implementation of all task force activities.

A series of workshops will be held during 2005-2006 to address the issues identified above. In addition, the task force will convene such working groups as it deems necessary to obtain relevant information. It is anticipated that the task force will produce a final report that synthesizes the contributions from its own deliberations, workshops, and working groups and present recommendations regarding the role of the U.S. Government in international S&E, with specific recommendations for NSF policy in supporting international science partnerships. Printed copies of a final NSB report will be widely distributed and available on the NSB Web site for the public, universities, the Congress, various special interest groups, and the broad scientific community. However, a regular and pro-active outreach effort to communicate task force activities will be implemented throughout the duration of the task force life. The task force expects to conclude its activities within 2 years from the date that formation of the task force is approved.

 

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Last Updated:
Jul 31, 2009
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