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NSF Management and Oversight
The Foundation makes awards to universities, colleges, and other qualified institutions. Grants are rarely given to This practice allows NSF to take advantage of
the internal management controls of grantee institutions. also benefit from the institutional screening of proposals before they are submitted to NSF. And there is an implied institutional commitment to the project, should an NSF award be made.
Over the past several years NSF has demonstrated that it can manage large-scale research undertakings in a thorough and cost-effective manner. The Very Large Array, an extremely complex facility for radio astronomy, is an example. The first instrument of its kind in the world, the VLA will be completed on schedule and at a total cost within 4 percent of the estimate made at the start of the project, back in 1973.
The Foundation also has full management responsibility for planning, funding, implementing, and overseeing the United States program in Antarctica. The U.S. Antarctic program requires that NSF manage both the U.S. research program in the Antarctic and a large and complicated support operation involving extensive logistical and operational support by the U.S. Navy, the Coast Guard, and a number of private contractors. The Foundation has demonstrated that it can do an effective and competent job in this demanding role.
We are also seeking ways to reduce red tape and paperwork while maintaining an effective level of accountability. Just recently the Foundation initiated an experimental "Master Grant" technique. This technique permits simplified accounting methods and makes it easier for investigators at a single institution to make the most effective use of the research dollars provided by NSF.
The Foundation has also introduced a number of innovative programs to encourage full participation of minorities, women, and the physically handicapped in science activities. As Dr. Hackerman mentioned earlier, we are also supporting an experimental program to stimulate competitive research at institutions in a number of states which have traditionally received very little support from NSF.
Since NSF has responsibility for maintaining strength in all fields of science and engineering, the research programs of other Federal agencies are of keen interest to us. As part of our management strategy, the Foundation works closely with the President's Science Adviser and the Federal agencies which support research and education. We have just completed a series of seminars with representatives of eight agencies, discussing in some detail their current and planned research programs for FY 1980. In this way we are able to avoid unnecessary duplication, and I believe that we have achieved on a Federal-wide basis a balanced set of science activities.
The Foundation has an Office of Audit and Oversight, whose chief officer reports directly to me. I rely on the office director to insure that NSF award policies and procedures are followed and that we have effective internal management control over Foundation programs and funds. The audit agencies of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and the Department of Defense have been assigned responsibility for making on-site financial audits of NSF awards.
The Foundation's FY 1980 program is a sound investment. will help the United States in the overall effort to keep our science and technology capabilities among the strongest in the world. A summary budget table is attached to my statement. urge your support of the full program.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would like to have the Foundation's Budget In Brief included in the record.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This concludes my remarks.
Includes $625,000 proposed supplemental for increased paycosts of Antarctic logistics support.
Includes $6.9 million FY 1978 Deferral.
HISTORICAL MATERIAL ON ESTABLISHMENT,
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
NSF is an independent Federal agency. It accomplishes its mission primarily through grants and contracts. It operates no in-house laboratories.
More than 2,000 colleges, universities, industrial firms, and other institutions and organizations participate in NSF programs. Additionally, over 200 small business firms are involved in NSF-supported research, mostly applied research.
The Foundation was established as an outgrowth of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's desire for a science agency that could contribute to a peacetime economy by enhancing U.S. scientific strength. In 1944, President Roosevelt instructed Dr. Vannevar Bush, then Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, to find a way for the Nation to benefit from science in peacetime as it had in wartime and to assure U.S. scientific strength for reasons of national prosperity and security.
Dr. Bush's report, Science, the Endless Frontier, led to the establishment of the National Science Foundation. President Harry S. Truman signed the NSF Act in 1950. NSF's mission under the Act is to strengthen U.S. science and engineering through the support of basic research and science education programs.
In 1968, the NSF Act was amended to give the agency additional authority to support applied research and to clarify and strengthen the Foundation's responsibilities in science education, international cooperative science, and science policy. NSF is responsible for strengthening science education "at all educational levels."
NSF determines the quality of research and science education projects through a system of peer review. More than 30,000 scientists, engineers, and science educators in all parts of the United States participate in the NSF peer review process each year. They provide a yardstick for excellence, giving their views and evaluations of proposed projects. NSF staff members who are experts in science and engineering and science education make the final decision on awards.
Through contracts with university consortia, NSF supports five National Research Centers, four for Astronomy and Atmospheric Research. These are the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado; Kitt Peak National
Observatory, Tucson, Arizona; Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Chile; National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Green Bank, West Virginia; and the Sacramento Peak Observatory, Sunspot, New Mexico. A sixth National Research Center, the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, Puerto Rico is operated under contract with a single university.
NSF, by law, consists of the Director and the National Science Board. The National Science Board is the NSF policymaking body and has 25 members, including the Director as an ex officio member. The Director and Board members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for 6-year terms. The terms of the Board members are arranged so that the terms of one-third of the members expire every two years.
The Foundation has about 1,260 employees. The Director, Deputy Director, and four Assistant Directors are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
Three other Assistant Directors are appointed by the NSF Director. More than 30 percent of the NSF staff are experts in the various fields of science, engineering, and science education. About four percent of the staff are scientists serving as "rotators" from academic and other nongovernmental institutions. These rotators work for the Foundation for 1 or 2 years and then return to their home institutions. They help provide a continuous influx of up-to-date information and fresh viewpoints on the needs and opportunities for science and science education.