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U.S. Science Policy Cheryl L. Eavey, Program Director

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1 U.S. Science Policy Cheryl L. Eavey, Program Director
Methodology, Measurement, and Statistics Division of Social and Economic Sciences National Science Foundation

2 U.S. Science Policy In essence, to support the “best” science that meets national needs.

3 Defining Characteristic
Science and technology policy in the U.S. is the product of a pluralistic, decentralized system with numerous interests competing for influence and scarce funds.



6 Competing Interests Federal agencies Congressional committees
Universities and other research institutions Individual researchers

7 Federal Agencies Supporting S&T-Related Research
Department of Energy Department of Defense Environmental Protection Agency National Aeronautics & Space Administration National Science Foundation Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health

8 The U.S. Government Includes Both Cabinet Departments and Independent Agencies
Major Departments Independent Agencies

9 NSF Invests in Ideas to provide a deep and broad fundamental science and engineering knowledge base. People to develop a diverse, internationally competitive, and globally engaged workforce of scientists, engineers, and well-prepared citizens. Tools to provide widely accessible, state-of-the-art science and engineering infrastructure.

10 NSF Expects the Collective Outcomes of Its Investments to Yield:
Discoveries at and across the frontier of science and engineering Connections between discoveries and their use in service to society A diverse, globally-oriented workforce of scientists and engineers Improved achievement in mathematics and science skills needed by all Americans

11 NSF Is a Science Management Agency
} Scientists and institutions responding to broad civilian scientific needs of the nation 30,000 Annual Proposal Actions 1,200 full-time employees 60 advisory groups (6,000 members) 250,000 reviews (50,000 reviewers) About 20,000 award actions for almost $5 billion (academic, industrial, non-profit, governmental recipients)

12 U.S. Government Budgetary Process
Executive Branch Legislative Branch Executive Office of the President Cabinet Departments Independent Agencies Senate House of Representatives Authorize Appropriate Request Manage

13 House and Senate Authorization Committees
House Committee on Science Jurisdiction over all non-defense federal scientific research and development, including oversight of programs of relevant agencies (e.g., NSF, NASA, EPA). Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Jurisdiction for, among other things, science and technology policy. Recent Action Legislation to double NSF’s budget in five years, with new management requirements.

14 House and Senate Appropriation Committees
Discretionary programs are funded via 13 separate appropriation bills. Research programs considered in different bills. NSF, for example, competes with NASA and EPA for funding (but not with NIH or DOD).

15 The University System No national universities.
System of private and state-funded universities. Federal funds represent approximately 60% of academic R&D spending. Generally speaking, geographic distribution is not a criterion for the allocation of funds. Interests represented by professional associations; i.e., National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges

16 Individual Researchers
Funds are awarded for projects conducted by individuals or groups of individuals. Funding decisions generally are made on the basis of a competitive, peer-review process. Interests represented by associations; e.g., American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Participation in activities of funding agencies via Federal Advisory Committee Act.


18 Advantages Multiple potential sources of funding. “Best” ideas win.
Wide ranging set of topics, ideas, and approaches are supported. Opportunities for innovation and support of “risky” proposals.

19 Disadvantages Weakly articulated national policy.
Sporadic coordination across agencies. Potential for duplication. Differences in agency funding policies.

20 Office of Science and Technology Policy
Broad mandate to advise the President on the impacts of science and technology on domestic and international affairs. Coordinates some interagency activities US Global Change Research Program Nanotechnology

21 Role of Entrepreneurs In a pluralistic system, lots of points of access and possible influence: Federal agency staff at multiple levels Survey and Statistical Methodology Biocomplexity Nanotechnology Congressional influence NSF/EPA Partnership for Environmental Research Children’s Research Initiative Presidential directives Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI)

22 Future Challenges Continuing to “make the case” for the value of science for the public good Balance across the sciences University/industry partnerships International collaboration


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