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Dr. Bordogna's Remarks


Dr. Joseph Bordogna
Acting Deputy Director
Remarks For IRI Annual Meeting
Federal Science and Technology Committee Meeting
Boca Raton, Florida

May 18, 1997

Good afternoon. It's good to be here and as always, instructive for me to be a part of the IRI annual meetings.

This afternoon I want to take a few minutes to provide a snapshot of NSF's budget request, discuss a few of our new initiatives, and provide some follow up on the status of NSF's ongoing initiatives.

NSF Budget FY 1998 Request

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OVERHEADS #1 and #2

Our FY '98 budget continues to make its way through Congress. Very quickly the following is what our budget request consists of:

  • Starting with the bottom line, our total request comes to $3.367 billion. This is an increase of nearly $100 million - $97 million to be precise - over our current funding level. This represents a 3 percent increase, which keeps us on a par with inflation.

NSF Budget Request by Appropriation


  • Research and related activities increases by 3.4 percent to just over $2.5 billion. This reflects NSF's emphasis on giving priority to merit-based research and supporting our university enterprise.
  • Education and Human Resources increases by 1.1 percent to a total of $626 million. This includes a very dynamic and innovative set of activities that reach all educational levels.
  • The Major Research Equipment account includes a small increase of $5 million bringing the request to a level of $85 million which provides the funds for several important facilities development projects which I will talk about a bit later.
  • And our administrative requirements receive a modest increase of 2%.

Structuring the Investment Portfolio--NSF Budget by Key Program Function


  • Research project support increases by just under 3 percent.
  • The research facilities function rises by 3.5 percent.
  • The education and training function also increases by 3.5 percent.
  • Administrative expenses rise by 2 percent -- although NSF salaries and expenses continue to remain at 4% of our overall budget.

NSF Balanced Portfolio


When you put all these pieces together, you can see that we have been able to maintain what we think is a very healthy balance across our portfolio. I should add that these are large budget categories which should not be expected to change rapidly.

NSF Investment Outcomes


  • Produce discoveries that shed new light on the world around us
  • Make vital connections between discoveries and service to society
  • Develop diverse, productive, globally-oriented workforce
  • Facilitate proficiency in math and science skills for all

Integrative Investment in Research and Education


  • NSF as investment agent for S&E research and education
  • Broad portfolio of integrated investments

NSF FY 1998 Request: Highlights and Priorities


  • Knowledge & Distributed Intelligence in the Age of Information
  • Life and Earth's Environment
  • Educating for the Future

Knowledge & Distributed Intelligence


We are making significant investments in FY 1998 in a number of emerging areas of science and engineering.

The first of these is what we refer to as Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence in the Age of Information (KDI). This is a broad-based, multi-disciplinary effort that aims to keep academic science and engineering at the leading edge of information technologies.

KDI by contrast is perhaps the most encompassing venture NSF has ever pursued. It cuts across all fields of research and touches education at all levels. And, it is inseparable from the trends and technologies that are driving growth and opportunity in our economy and society - from networks to sensors to virtual reality systems.

That is why KDI is a centerpiece of our FY 98 budget. It will support research that will help us take the next quantum leap forward in terms of both scientific progress and economic and societal benefit. Web browsers, computer aided design, technologies for learning, and reliable methods of transferring data are just a few of the advances and benefits that have deep roots in academic research across a wide range of fields and disciplines. It is impossible to predict the next level of tools and capabilities. But, we can be confident they will be spectacular!

NSF's KDI effort supports two sets of activities:

  • First is the Next Generation Internet. NSF's role in this multi-agency effort is intended to keep academic science and engineering at the cutting edge of computing and networking technologies. This will receive $10 million. The President has devoted $100 from across the government to funding the Next Generation Internet in FY 1998.
  • The second component of the investment package is: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence. This effort will span such activities as knowledge-based networking, learning and intelligent systems, and new approaches to computational tools important to many disciplines. This will receive an additional $48 million.

The total increase for KDI therefore comes to $58 million, which builds on an existing base of related activities that totals roughly $356 million.

Life and Earth's Environment


We will continue to expand our efforts directed at gaining a better understanding of Life and Earth's Environment. In that capacity, we are focusing on how living organisms interact with their environment. This includes how we humans affect our environment and how our environment affects us.

Under this heading, we will be expanding support for activities that focus particularly on Life in Extreme Environments.

We will also examine ways to improve coordination across a range of NSF-supported research activities related to Urban Communities. This includes such areas as physical infrastructure, hazards mitigation, political structures, and ecological processes.

Educating for the Future: The Integration of Research and Education


The FY 1998 request also continues our emphasis on activities that promote the integration of research and education. This was one of the key themes to emerge from our strategic plan, and it has become a central feature of programs throughout the Foundation.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates - one of our most successful and popular programs - increases by 11 percent to almost $30 million.

The CAREER Program - short for Faculty Early Career Development - is our flagship effort for junior faculty and young investigators. It enables them to link their research with their teaching and mentoring responsibilities. It increases by 21 percent to $83 million.

Also, programs such as the GOALI Program - Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry - also continues to expand, rising 15 percent to just under $30 million. GOALI has become a highly effective means for giving graduate students and postdocs the opportunity to work in industrial settings.

Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training Program


One of NSF's new initiatives is an experimental, $20 million activity to broaden graduate training. It's known as IGERT, or the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training Program. This activity will increase is:

  • Designed to broaden and increase flexibility of graduate education
  • Based on Research Training Groups and Traineeships
  • Extend opportunities for graduate students to work on multidisciplinary projects and to gain experience in private industry.

NSF Supported Centers


And our research centers continue to provide an environment where research and education cross disciplines as well as industry and university boundary experiences for the almost 25,000 (actual: 24,793) participants that are involved in these Centers.

Overall financial support for the Centers from NSF is $209 million. Total leveraged support for the Centers (i.e., funding for centers from sources other than NSF) is approximately $305 million.

It is significant to note that the Centers have almost 2,000 (1,982) different non-academic partners ranging from industry, to states and other federal agencies.

The total number of Centers NSF now supports is 176. An important point about the Centers is that we believe in ensuring the work of the Centers remains fresh and cutting edge. Recent competitive merit review has resulted in phasing down six of the Engineering Research Centers and initiating three to four new ERCs in 1998.

This is a process that enables NSF to continue to push the frontiers of new knowledge and education and provide resource to new opportunities as they present themselves.



In FY 1998, we will initiate support for two major facilities projects.

  • The Polar Cap Observatory will be located near the Earth's northern magnetic pole. This facility will track a number of phenomena in the atmosphere and ionosphere, including events like the solar eruption that many believe knocked out a $200 million communications satellite this past January. Our request is $25 million which will provide for the full cost of constructing the observatory.
  • Our other new start is the first phase of the Millimeter Array, which will be the world's most sensitive, highest resolution, millimeter-wavelength telescope. The FY 1998 request includes $9 million to begin the design and development phase of the project.
  • The budget also includes $26 million to complete funding for the construction of LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory.
  • We are also requesting $25 million to maintain investments in much-needed facility improvements at the South Pole. My enormous thanks go out to Norm Augustine who led a top-to-bottom review of NSF's operations in the Antarctic. The Antarctic is a true scientific treasure-trove - a veritable bounty for everything from solar neutrinos to Martian meteorites. Norm's work has positioned the U.S. Antarctic Program to remain a mainstay of U.S. science and engineering for many generations to come.

NSF FY 1998 Request/Operations Context


  • Balanced Portfolio
  • Low Overhead, High Efficiency
  • Increased Investment in Key Areas

Investment Portfolio: Setting Priorities


  • Field specific: physics vs. chemistry, science vs. engineering
  • Mode of support: individual investigators vs. centers, people vs. facilities
  • Conceptual: basic vs. applied, fundamental vs. strategic
  • Analysis vs. synthesis, hands-on vs. abstract learning, hard vs. soft
  • Balanced Risk: embryonic vs. emerging vs. state of the art

Impact of Investments in S&E/ Partnership Opportunities


We know from countless studies and examples that investments in science and engineering deliver high returns. Indeed nearly half of all real economic growth in our economy over the past fifty years can be attributed to advances in science and technology.

And we are increasingly aware that investments in science and technology are inseparable from job creation and economic growth.

I don't want to take up much time during the presentation, but I do want to say a few words on the issue of the CHI Report (aka the Narin Report) released last month. This report, supported by NSF, performed a study on the growing citation linkage between U.S. patents and scientific research papers.

Some of the findings include:

  • 73% of the papers cited by U.S. industry patents are public science, authored at academic, governmental, and other public institutions; 27% are authored by industrial scientists.
  • References from U.S. patents to U.S.-authored research papers have tripled over a six year period, from 17,000 during 1987-88 to 50,000 during 1993-94, a period in which the U.S. patent system grew by only 30 percent.

NSF feels the study's results confirm what we have maintained since 1950 when the Foundation was created, and that is that basic science and engineering research is the critical catalyst for much of our nation's economy and quality of life.

Noteworthy as well from this report is the linkage between basic research and commercial technology development. In my estimation, the study's conclusion has the most impact, and that is that industry is increasingly depending on publicly supported basic research.

The work of top economists like Edwin Mansfield provides further evidence of this direct linkage. Mansfield's recent work has focused on links between academic research and innovation in industry and the rates of return from this investment. He has found that government support lays the foundation for successful industry-university collaborations.

And further, that academic research that attracts industry support is most often an extension of work supported by public sources. This again testifies to the importance of Federal support, since over 60 percent of the funding for academic R&D comes from NSF, NIH and other Federal agencies.

These findings, coupled with today's Federal budget environment makes this an especially crucial period for industry-university linkages. Over the last two decades, we have seen partnerships between academe and industry grow from virtually nothing into a bountiful landscape of innovative endeavors.

In 1980, for example, industry's total investment in academic R&D was under $250 million. Today, it tops $1.5 billion. When we adjust these levels for inflation, that represents an increase of over 300 percent.

In the current environment, however, nothing would be more dangerous than to look at the gains we've realized and assume we can rest on our laurels. Even with the growth we've seen over the last fifteen-plus years, industry support for academic R&D remains a small portion of the total for academic R&D, and it constitutes an even smaller portion of industry's total R&D portfolio.

The latest data show that industry funding is still under 7 percent of total academic R&D, and that these investments constitute only 1.5 percent of total industry-funded R&D.

For both sectors, these collaborations are small but growing slices of much larger pies. We'd all like for them to continue growing.

As I have articulated in these remarks, NSF's budget request for FY 1998 indicates a strong emphasis on integrative and cooperative activities where our investment can have the most impact.

As part of this great nation, industry and government together must forge a "critical mass" of knowledge, skill, and infrastructure. This must also include public and private schools, colleges and universities of all types, industry and small business, government at all levels, and the talented personnel from each sector. It must be guided by a collective vision of where we need to go and a collaborative spirit of how we can get there.

In essence, it means going back to words written over 50 years ago by FDR's science advisor, Vannevar Bush. At the beginning of his 1945 report, Science: The Endless Frontier, Bush laid down a concise vision. He said, "Science can be effective in the national welfare only as a member of a team." I think that his words have become increasingly prescient. It does not matter that we now talk of partnerships instead of Bush's "teams." What does matter is that we recognize the need for collective effort, for collaborations where each partner has something to offer and each has something to learn.

We no longer live in an era where academe can provide an autonomous career sheltered from society's needs and problems. We no longer live in a time when U.S. industry believes it has nothing to learn from other nations or other sectors, an attitude that persisted for too long. We no longer live in the luxury of succeeding on first-rate higher education and mediocre K-12 education. We no longer live in the industrial age when a modestly-skilled assembly-line workforce could propel the nation.

And, we can no longer expect public support for science and engineering research in the form of a blank check and an undefined agenda. Well, maybe a modest blank check here or there, once in a while, based on partnered trust, but certainly not an undefined agenda - and certainly not an agenda that overlooks the natural linkages between research and education.

In this period of transition from an era of Cold War to an era of knowledge and distributed intelligence, both pitfalls and possibilities abound. We must be astute observers, students and practitioners of the shifting global landscape, and we must agree on a collective vision and plot a path together to reach our goals.

Thank you so much for your attention and I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.



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