I am pleased to transmit the 1997 Annual Report of the National Science and Technology Council. The president established the NSTC in 1993 to coordinate the diverse parts of the Federal research and development enterprise, especially activities that require and utilize resources of several Federal agencies. In its four years of operations, the NSTC has made substantial progress toward integrating our science and technology investments with the overall national agenda.
The NSTC is a successful experiment in governance of Federal science and technology investments. It capitalizes on the strengths of the mission agencies, but because it is a cabinet-level, interagency council, it avoids the "stovepipes" that can hinder innovation and creativity in Federal programs. As shown in this report, NSTC also encourages cooperation among the public and private sectors, with payoffs in new research and technologies that far exceed the reasonable expectations for either party acting alone.
Thomas Jefferson wisely noted
that, "As new discoveries are made, new truths discovered, and manners
and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must
advance also to keep pace with the times." In its dedication to reinvent
government, the Clinton Administration has lived up to that sage admonition,
and the NSTC is a vivid example of the benefits that can accrue from changes
in institutions. It has been an honor to help lead NSTC through its formative
years, and I look forward to many contributions from this outstanding interagency
council as we enter the 21st century.
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY GOALS
1997 ACTIVITIES OF NSTC WORKING GROUPS AND COMMITTEES
NSTC WORKING GROUPS
Global Positioning System
Aviation Safety and Security
Health Preparedness for Future Troop Deployments
U.S. Global Change Research Program
Air Quality Research
Research on Ecological Systems
Endocrine Disrupter Research Initiative
Research on Toxics and Risk Assessment
Research on Reducing the Impacts of Natural Disasters
Program Guide to Federally Funded Environment and Natural Resources R&D
International Technology Transfer
Cloning/National Bioethics Advisory Commission
Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring
Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers
Partnership for Advanced Technologies for Housing
United States Innovation Partnership
Computing, Information, and Communications/Research and Development
Next Generation Internet
Advisory Committee on High-Performance Computing and Communications, Information Technology, and the Next Generation Internet
B - Activities of the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)
C - Presidential Directive
D - Reports
The Clinton Administration is changing the nature of Federal S&T policy and policymaking to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The President established the NSTC in 1993 to coordinate the diverse parts of the Federal research and development (R&D) enterprise and to foster synergy among the varied talents of the Federal S&T workforce. The NSTC completed its fourth year of operation in November 1997.
During 1997, the NSTC's committees and working groups focused on activities that contributed to the President's goals for S&T. In addition, NSTC worked closely with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to develop R&D budget guidance for the Federal departments and agencies to help integrate our science and technology investments with the overall national agenda.
National Science and Technology Goals
At the beginning of his Administration, President Clinton made a commitment to the American people to integrate Federal agency R&D budgets to ensure that the Nation's S&T investments served broad national goals, as well as agency missions. In 1997, the NSTC undertook activities related to the following broadly stated S&T goals:
Through the NSTC process, Federal agencies and departments identify priority research areas that are important to national efforts and require investments across agencies. These interagency priority areas reflect objectives of maintaining excellence, maximizing effectiveness, and minimizing costs with R&D investments. For the fourth consecutive year, the OMB and NSTC issued broad R&D policy principles and goals to guide individual agencies in preparing their FY 1999 budgets. Agencies were instructed to adhere to R&D investment principles that give priority to Federal research and education programs that:
Over the past four years the NSTC has become the primary mechanism for coordinating and strengthening Federal R&D. During 1997, an internal evaluation of the NSTC identified opportunities to capitalize on experience and streamline operations. NSTC merged some activities and reduced the number of standing committees from nine to the following five:
President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology
President Clinton established the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) to advise him on matters involving S&T, and to assist the NSTC in securing private sector involvement in its activities. The PCAST, which consists of distinguished individuals from industry, education and research institutions, and other non-governmental organizations, serves as the highest level private sector advisory group for the President and the NSTC. The direct link to the activities of the NSTC reflects the Administration's intention to incorporate advice from the private sector in developing the S&T budgets and policies of this Administration and to secure private sector advice on the implementation and evaluation of budgets and policies. Appendix B describes activities of the PCAST for 1997.
The NSTC, through its Committees, focuses Federal R&D activities on the President's goals for science and technology. These goals include:
The diversified Federal research
portfolio serves the multiplicity of missions for which our Federal departments
and agencies are responsible. This distributed system of research funding
provides strong linkages between research and the core agency missions,
but also places a premium on coordination and complementation of agency
programs. The NSTC, which in 1997 completed its fourth year of operation,
is improving such coordination, so that our Federal investment is being
used to the best advantage in the national interest.
NSTC WORKING GROUPS
Some activities undertaken by the NSTC span the interests of all standing committees. These activities are managed as ad hoc working groups. In 1997, four efforts functioned in this capacity.
During its first term, the Clinton/Gore Administration began to review and reform the Federal S&T (FS&T) system with the goal of realizing greater service to the nation at a lower cost. One NSTC effort focused on improving the cost-effectiveness, productivity, and scientific quality of the Federal laboratory system. This effort includes agency intramural research, research performed at national laboratories or other Federally Funded R&D Centers (FFRDCs), and the provision and operation of major, shared federally funded scientific user facilities. Together these performers receive about 40% of civilian FS&T investment
OSTP coordinated a study,
published in March 1997, that assessed the progress of the Department of
Defense (DOD), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration (NASA) in implementing Presidential Decision Directive
(PDD) NSTC - 5, September 1995, to focus laboratory missions, reduce excessive
agency oversight, and streamline administrative processes. The study confirmed
that the agencies are making progress, but much work remains. As a result,
an NSTC Interagency Working Group (IWG ) was established during the summer
of 1997 to implement the recommendations and improve information flow among
all S&T agencies with intramural research programs. The report of the
IWG should be available in mid-1998.
Global Positioning System (GPS)
On March 29, 1996, the President signed Presidential Decision Directive NSTC-6, establishing national policy for the management and use of the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) and related U.S. Government augmentations. The primary goals of this policy are to strengthen and maintain U.S. national security, enhance our economic competitiveness, and encourage the acceptance of GPS as a standard for international use.
In 1997, the Secretaries
of Defense and Transportation chartered an Interagency GPS Executive Board
to manage GPS and its U.S. Government augmentations and to provide policy
guidance for U.S. efforts to assure global acceptance of GPS. DOD and the
Department of Transportation (DOT) reached an agreement assuring the availability
of a second frequency to civilian GPS users, a major step towards acceptance
of GPS as an international standard. In response to the President's policy,
the Department of State (DOS) initiated formal consultations with Japan,
the European Union (EU), and Russia on development of bilateral agreements
on GPS cooperation.
Aviation Safety and Security
On February 12, 1997, the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security submitted its Final Report to the President. Many of the Commission's recommendations for improving aviation safety and security or for modernizing the nation's air traffic control (ATC) system require research and development or technology implementation.
NSTC agencies are working to ensure that the R&D needed to address its recommendations is in place and fully coordinated. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and DOD were asked to prepare a joint S&T plan for implementing the Commission's recommendations that details agency roles and responsibilities, partnership opportunities, and five-year budgets. NASA has stepped up to the aviation safety challenges by reprogramming
$500 million over the next
five years to R&D aimed at reducing the aviation fatal accident rate.
Planning for this research initiative is being closely coordinated with
the FAA and DOD through NASA's Aviation Safety Investment Strategy Team.
Health Preparedness for Future Troop Deployments
The Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses (PAC) issued their Final Report on December 31, 1996, which included a recommendation that a Presidential Review Directive (PRD) be initiated. As a result, PRD-5, Development of Interagency Plans to Address Health Preparedness for and Readjustment of Veterans and Their Families After Future Deployments, was enacted April 21, 1997. The PAC highlighted seven broad categories to be addressed by this review, which have been grouped into the following areas: deployment health, record keeping, research, and risk communications.
An NSTC IWG was established
to oversee the progress of the review. The IWG established separate task
forces to address planning needs associated with each of the four areas.
Each task force produced a strategic planning document to be integrated
into a final report by spring 1998.
COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES
The purpose of the Committee
on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) is to foster and implement
a coordinated multi-agency and interdisciplinary focus for Federal research
and development resources in pursuit of the goals of sustainable use and
management of our natural resources, maintaining biological diversity,
maintaining a safe water resource, improving air quality, reducing exposure
to toxic substances, limiting losses from natural hazards, understanding
climate change, and minimizing ozone depletion.
Environmental Monitoring and Research Initiative
A fundamental improvement in the way the U.S. monitors its environment is required to meet the challenges of the next several decades. Current monitoring programs do not provide integrated data across multiple natural resources at the temporal and spatial scales needed to develop policies based on current scientific understanding of ecosystem processes. An integrated framework for environmental monitoring and assessment will enable the evaluation of the Nation's natural resources and their sustainability on national and regional scales. Such an integrated framework is essential for an accurate description of environmental conditions. Current programs, while effective at tracking specific components of the ecosystems, often are deficient in providing information on how different components interact.
Significant progress was
achieved in the Environmental Monitoring and Research Initiative. A cooperative
arrangement among government, universities, environmental groups, and industry
has been established to produce the initial draft of the "report card"
on the health of the Nation's ecosystems called for by the Vice President.
A pilot project has also been initiated in the Mid-Atlantic region to demonstrate
the effectiveness of integrated efforts on a regional scale. Finally, two
broad scientific issues, nutrient cycling and biological populations, are
being analyzed as a means to investigate the role of a national network
of index sites to complement monitoring information provided by surveys
and remote sensing.
U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)
USGCRP's fundamental purpose is to increase understanding of the Earth system and thus provide a sound scientific basis for national and international decision making on global change issues. The USGCRP focuses on four key areas of Earth system studies: seasonal to inter-annual climate variability; climate change over decades to centuries; changes in ozone, UV radiation, and atmospheric chemistry; and, changes in land cover and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Other important activities include development of an integrated global observing and monitoring system; construction of a data management system that will promote full and open access to global change data, products, and information services; involvement of scientists from the United States in international research and assessment activities; and, promotion of scientific literacy on global change issues through public education. The USGCRP agencies made important contributions to the authorship and review of a special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) entitled The Regional Impacts of Climate Change: An Assessment of Vulnerability, and to several IPCC technical papers on other key issues.
A national assessment of
the consequences of climate change for the United States was initiated
during 1997. Eight of a series of 20 regional workshops, to be completed
by mid-1998, were held around the country. A National Forum on Climate
Change Impacts was held in Washington, DC, November 12-13, 1997 to explore
the relationship between regional and national-scale impacts and to continue
planning for a national assessment. The National Scientific Assessment,
to be completed during 1999, will become a contribution from the U.S. to
the IPCC Third Assessment Report. The first series of reports from the
assessment is scheduled to be completed in 1999. In addition, USGCRP agencies
developed plans to enhance their consequence-based research in order to
build the base for improved national assessments in the future.
Air Quality Research
The NSTC agencies support an array of research activities aimed at improving our understanding of atmospheric processes and the effect of human activities on the atmosphere. While the Nation's commitment to better air quality is clear and unequivocal, the best means for attaining it are far from clear. By enhancing the effectiveness and productivity of U.S. air quality research, we will provide a better scientific basis for decision making on policies designed to improve air quality.
The North American Research Strategy for Tropospheric Ozone (NARSTO) moved forward in its mission to perform coordinated research and assessment on the behavior of tropospheric ozone and the development of workable and effective ozone management strategies. During 1997, successful field campaigns were conducted in Mexico City, and in the Western and Midwestern United States. The National Acid Participation Assessment Program (NAPAP) produced its 1996 Integrated Assessment Report to Congress, which is currently nearing completion of NSTC review.
Research on Ecological Systems
In 1997, the NSTC responded to an urgent request to develop a national research strategy to respond to the outbreak of the toxic dinoflaggelate, Pfiesteria, in the mid-Atlantic region. The strategy identifies both immediate and longer-term efforts to deal with the effects and the underlying causes of Pfiesteria and other harmful algal blooms. In addition, a plan was developed to assess the effects of hypoxia (very low oxygen conditions lethal to marine life) in the Gulf of Mexico and the possible linkage to upstream land use practices. Six scientific teams have been assembled and begun their work on topics including characterization of hypoxia, ecological and economic consequences, sources and loads of nutrients transported to the area, effects of reducing nutrient loads, evaluation of methods to reduce nutrient loads, and evaluation of the costs and benefits.
A Biodiversity and Ecosystem
Informatics Work Group was established to provide an interagency coordinating
mechanism to guide development of the National Biological Information Infrastructure
(NBII). Among its areas of emphasis is effort to enhance recognition and
support for the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). ITIS is
an interagency activity that is building the first comprehensive on-line
reference of standardized biological nomenclature and taxonomy for all
U.S. species. The interagency ITIS team was recently awarded a Vice Presidential
"Hammer Award" for its innovative partnership and its efforts to provide
this valuable information service as a part of the NBII.
Endocrine Disruptor Research Initiative
Endocrine disruptors are
chemicals present in the environment in low concentrations as pollutants,
such as DDT, dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), phthalates and
pharmaceuticals that may affect the endocrine systems of vertebrates. In
1997, the Endocrine Disruptors Working Group completed a framework for
characterizing research needs, an inventory of ongoing federally supported
research, and prepared the first draft of Endocrine Disruptors: Research
Needs and Priorities—1998, that will be published when the review is
Research on Toxics and Risk Assessment
Toxic materials are of concern because of the harm they can cause to both human health and ecological systems. The potential for harm is typically expressed in terms of risk, and management of toxic materials involves assessing and managing risk. The R&D priorities for toxics and risk revolve around research, development, and demonstration of science and technology for monitoring, prevention, control, and remediation of risks from toxic materials.
The CENR established an IWG
on Mercury to resolve the scientific issues related to the Environmental
Protection Agency's (EPA's) Mercury Study Report to Congress. In addition,
the final report of the Interagency Oxygenated Fuels Assessment Steering
Committee was completed and published in June 1997. The report describes
the current state of understanding of critical scientific issues related
to the winter oxygenated gasoline program mandated under the Clean Air
Act Amendments, including potential health impacts, fuel economy, and performance
Research on Reducing the Impacts of Natural Disasters
Although natural hazards are inevitable, they need not lead inevitably to disasters. Through prudent actions, the U.S. can reduce losses of life and property as well as social and economic disruptions from natural hazards. The NSTC has established a goal to reduce the cost of natural disasters to the U.S. economy through support of a coordinated, multidisciplinary, multi-agency research program. Key aspects of this program include focusing R&D efforts on improving future risk assessment and risk management capabilities, and improvement of analytical, modeling, forecasting, and information dissemination tools.
CENR's Subcommittee on Natural
Disaster Reduction (SNDR) and the Institute for Business and Home Safety
(IBHS) established Public Private Partnership 2000 (PPP 2000) to seek opportunities
for government and nonprofit, private-sector organizations to work together
to reduce vulnerability to natural hazards in communities throughout the
Nation. A series of PPP 2000 Forums on Public Policy Issues in Natural
Disaster Reduction are bringing representative stakeholders together to
break through traditional patterns of thinking. Each Forum will produce
recommendations for strategies to reduce losses from natural hazards. Such
recommendations will be valuable input for U.S. policy making and will
also contribute to the ongoing goals defined during the United Nations
International Decade for Disaster Reduction (DDR). For FY 1999, five agencies
Department of Commerce (DOC), Department of Interior (DOI), U.S. Department
of Agriculture (USDA), Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA),
and National Science Foundation (NSF), coordinated their budget initiatives
through CENR's Subcommittee on Natural Disaster Reduction, leading to a
new level of program integration in this vital area.
Program Guide to Federally Funded Environment and Natural Resources R&D
The second edition of the
Guide was compiled and published in 1997. This popular document serves
as a reference on competitive funding opportunities for use by colleges,
universities, and other research institutions. The Guide describes the
competitive processes for merit review and evaluation, lists potential
opportunities for funding, and provides points of contact and web site
information for specific agency programs.
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, AND TECHNOLOGY
The Committee on International Science, Engineering, and Technology (CISET) addresses the international aspects of the national research and development agenda as well as the relationship between the national agenda and principal U.S. foreign policy goals. CISET's activities are directed toward three broad, complementary goals:
Emerging infectious diseases--new, resurgent, or drug resistant infections of which incidence in humans has increased within the past two decades or threatens to increase in the near future--present one of the most significant health challenges facing the global community. The NSTC Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, co-chaired by OSTP and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), led the implementation of the June 1996 Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) on Emerging Infectious Diseases (NSTC-7). The first annual progress report, highlighting a number of accomplishments, was delivered to the President in December 1997.
Accomplishments in the area
of emerging infectious disease research include the following: agreements
with 22 states and localities to cooperate in strengthening national notifiable
disease systems, conduct disease surveillance, diagnose diseases, and investigate
outbreaks; expansion of research on emerging infectious diseases and disease
vaccines, both domestically and internationally; cooperation with medical
associations and medical schools to increase the attention given to emerging
infectious diseases in curricula; development of a work plan for more effective
quarantine and containment; consultations with the International Society
of Travel Medicine to improve communications and establishment of the surveillance
network of travel medical clinics; support for U.S. leadership on this
issue in bilateral and multilateral fora; support for U.S. participation
in the WHO-proposed revision of the International Health Regulations for
improved screening and quarantine capabilities; and creation of a DOD surveillance
and response system for infectious diseases.
Strategic coordination was provided for the Administration's S&T relations with priority nations and regions through the NSTC's CISET. Through the NSTC interagency process, international S&T relations have been more fully integrated into our overall foreign policy and specifically sharpened with Japan, Russia, China, South Africa, the European Union, as well as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and the Summit of the Americas. In addition, CISET continued to facilitate U.S. participation in multilateral cooperative science projects and programs through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Megascience Forum and other efforts.
Over the course of the year, a coordinated, interagency strategy was developed to strengthen the value of S&T relations with Japan. Agencies identified priorities for enhanced partnerships, issues of concern that impede S&T relations, and mechanisms for managing the relationship in a more effective manner. A report on this effort will be released in 1998.
CISET helped develop the
U.S. position and prepare for two major signings this year, illustrating
the importance of international cooperation in science and technology.
First, the U.S. and the European Union signed their first-ever umbrella
science and technology agreement, as called for in the Transatlantic Agenda,
signed by the President in Madrid in 1995. The U.S. also agreed to join
other countries to build the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Europe, which
will involve more than 4,000 scientists and engineers in 45 countries.
CISET also helped develop two S&T related initiatives for the historic
Summit between President Clinton and the President of China.
COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY
The Committee on National
Security (CNS) is chartered to facilitate coordination of Federal efforts
in R&D in areas of national security. CNS identifies relevant priorities,
programs, and plans across Federal agencies with a view toward advising
the NSTC about the vigor and appropriateness of Federal investments in
R&D that underpin a sound national security posture. In 1997, CNS focused
on nonproliferation and initiated a new working group on technology transfer.
The Nonproliferation and Arms Control Technical Working Group (NPAC TWG) is the designated mechanism for the President to coordinate all federally funded R&D supporting the controlling of arms and stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The NPAC TWG systematically inventories programs, coordinates among departments and agencies, identifies gaps and overlaps, highlights areas in need of high-level attention, and makes recommendations for maximizing the effectiveness of the total program. It has made a substantial contribution to ensuring the effectiveness of nonproliferation and arms control-related R&D.
During 1997, the NPAC TWG,
maintained its primary missions of coordinating Federal R&D in non-proliferation
and arms control and examining policies, programs and plans across Federal
agencies. In addition to its periodic briefings for the relevant National
Security Council (NSC) policy internal working groups, the White House
OSTP and the CNS, the NPAC TWG held discussions with Senate staffers on
ways that NPAC TWG elements could complement the work of Congressional
International Technology Transfer
The International Technology Transfer Working Group was established in December 1996 to identify ways to improve national policy mechanisms governing international technology interactions. The Working Group has initiated efforts to examine the export of technology in the context of its impact on U.S. security and competitiveness, the adequacy of existing control mechanisms, and interagency approaches and concerns.
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE
The purpose of the Committee
on Science (CS) is to advise and assist the NSTC, with emphasis on those
federally supported efforts that develop new knowledge in the sciences,
mathematics, and engineering. The Committee on Science addresses significant
national policy matters that cut across agency boundaries and provides
a formal mechanism for interagency science policy development, coordination,
and information exchange.
Review of the University/Federal Government Partnership
The longstanding partnership
between the Federal government and universities aimed at advancing S&T
in the national interest is a core element of America's world-leading R&D
enterprise. Federal commitment to the partnership remains strong and Federal
support for university-based research has increased. However, both parties
report growing stresses in the partnership and concerns about the best
ways to sustain the relationship into the future. Therefore, the Assistant
to the President for Science and Technology initiated a review of this
partnership to (1) determine what might be the major stresses in the areas
of research, education, and administrative regulations; and (2) determine
the best ways to address the issues raised in this examination. The products
of the review will assist both parties in developing strategies that promote
cost-effective, university-based research, allocate research costs fairly,
strengthen the research-education linkage, and maintain appropriate accountability
for expenditure of public funds.
Over the past year, Federal representatives from agencies that support the vast majority of university research and education National Institutes of Health (NIH), NSF, DOD, USDA, NASA, and DOE) have been developing a clearer understanding of the nature of the partnership that exists between the Federal government and universities. This included assessing the current status of the partnership's financial relationship (cost sharing), how agencies directly or indirectly support education through their support for research, and what regulatory barriers exist that could be lowered or removed to enhance the productivity of the partnership. Input was solicited from the university community and from other Federal agencies. RAND's Critical Technologies Institute provided analysis of this input. A report is expected in 1998.
Cloning/National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC)
NBAC was created by Executive Order 12975 on October 3, 1995. The Commission advises the NSTC on issues arising from research on human biology and behavior, including clinical research, and the applications of such research. The Commission is comprised of non-governmental experts in the relevant scientific disciplines, law, philosophy and theology, as well as community representatives. No more than one-half of its members may be scientists. The Commission operates under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
In June 1997, NBAC released the report, Cloning Human Beings. The President requested this report after the announcement in February 1997 of the successful cloning of a sheep from fully differentiated cells. In response to recommendations in the report, legislation prohibiting the use of this technology to clone human beings was transmitted by the President to Congress in June 1997.
During the spring of 1996, the former NSTC Committee on Fundamental Science (CFS) established the Research Integrity Panel to address the concern that Federal research agencies lacked a common definition and approach to addressing cases of research misconduct for federally sponsored research. The Committee was concerned that this lack of uniformity presented the research community with a great deal of uncertainty and that it required research organizations, such as universities, to be responsive to multiple definitions and approaches. The Panel reported its results to the Committee in the fall of 1996.
The NSTC continued its efforts
to develop a common definition of research misconduct and a set of guiding
principles to shape agency efforts to ensure the integrity of the research
record. Research agencies were given an opportunity to respond to the NSTC
Committee approved definition and principles. The proposed definition is
being modified based on agency comments on the draft. A final definition
will be sent for full NSTC approval in spring 1998.
With recent advances in plant genetics and in genomics technology, the time is right to develop a strategy on how the Federal government should contribute to a comprehensive effort on expanding our knowledge of plant genomes, especially those plants that contribute significantly to our nation's agricultural sector. The Administration has been supportive of plant genomics and has been actively funding a project designed to sequence the genome of the Arabidopsis thaliana, a relatively simple mustered plant, which is the must promising starting point before tackling more complex plants like corn. In addition, the Administration received a congressional request to develop a plant genome plan to guide their efforts in directing appropriations.
An NSTC IWG, was established to develop an integrated plan to map and sequence genomes of agriculturally important plants. The IWG presented a status report in June 1997 that was used by Congress to help shape FY 1998 appropriations decisions for the NSF and the USDA. The report of the IWG was approved and published by NSTC in January 1998.
Even though the U.S. food supply is one of the safest in the world, millions of citizens become ill each year due to food borne pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella. In response to this threat, the President launched a major food safety initiative in 1997 that includes improved, scientifically–based regulatory procedures, expanded inspection and monitoring, and accelerated research and education programs. Key to the success of this initiative will be the development of sound risk assessment procedures and research leading to new knowledge that can be applied to cost-effective pathogen detection, prevention, and intervention technologies.
A key goal set out in the President's "Call to Action for American Education in the 21st Century" is to "Make sure there is a talented and dedicated teacher in every classroom." Recognizing and rewarding our best teachers helps attract and retain successful members of this demanding profession. Nearly two million of the Nation's three million teachers will turn over during the next ten years. The shortage of qualified teachers is particularly acute in mathematics and science. The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is the Nation's highest commendation for K-12 math and science teachers. Candidates are chosen on the basis of their teaching performance, background, and experience. PAEMST is administered through NSF, and coordinated by OSTP. One science and one math teacher at each level are ultimately recommended as Presidential Awardees. They must be U.S. citizens who teach in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Dependent Schools, or the U.S. territories.
In 1997, 107 elementary and
107 secondary teachers received Presidential Awards. The Vice President
addressed the elementary school recipients and the First Lady the secondary
school recipients. All (over 1,000) teacher awardees since 1983 are now
linked electronically and have been used as a comparison group in a national
study of math and science teachers.
Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring
The educational principles advocated by President Clinton emphasize the importance of high quality mathematics and science education for all Americans. Studies show that such training does lead to more productive and satisfying careers. Indeed, the demand for technically qualified workers in our economy is growing much faster than the supply. Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities have traditionally been very underrepresented in science and mathematics, and every effort should be encouraged to improve their participation rates. The Presidential mentoring award demonstrates the Administration's support for access to education and diversity in the S&T workforce by recognizing the efforts of individuals and institutions that have mentored underrepresented groups.
The second annual presentation
of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering
Mentoring occurred on September 11, 1997. The award was given to 10 individuals
and 9 organizations with outstanding records in mentoring African-Americans,
Native Americans, Hispanics, Women, and persons with disabilities.
Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)
President Clinton approved the awards program for early investigators across government agencies on February 1, 1996. The purpose of this award is to recognize demonstrated excellence and promise of future success in scientific or engineering research, and the potential for eventual leadership of the recipients in their respective fields. Maintaining leadership across the frontiers of scientific knowledge and producing the finest scientists and engineers for the 21st century, two of the five goals enunciated in the NSTC's Science in the National Interest, are both significantly served by this award.
On November 3, 1997, the President selected 60 individuals to receive the second annual Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). These young researchers are recognized as having the potential to become the future leaders in S&T, university faculties, and Nobel laureates. The recipients were nominated by the following agencies/departments:
1) USDA; 2) DOC; 3) DOD; 4) DOE; 5) Department of Veterans Affairs (VA);
6) NASA; 7) NIH; 8) Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); and
Preparing America's children for the 21st century is among our most important national priorities. Today's children face the promise of a new century of unparalleled opportunity. Yet, too many of them face obstacles that obscure that bright future, including poverty, violence, child abuse, limited educational opportunity, and unhealthy behaviors. To appropriately address these obstacles to a productive future for children at risk, we must develop new knowledge and use it in a way that provides policies and programs that are likely to succeed.
The multi-agency "Children's
Initiative" study was released in April 1997. The study, sponsored by the
NSTC, with collaboration from the Domestic Policy Council (DPC), assessed
the current scope of research on child and adolescent development, identified
significant gaps in the research agenda, and developed recommendations
for needed efforts not only in the research area but also in linking research
and policy development.
COMMITTEE ON TECHNOLOGY
The purpose of the Committee
on Technology (CT) is to advise and assist the NSTC to increase the overall
effectiveness and productivity of Federal R&D efforts. The Committee
addresses significant national policy matters, which cut across agency
boundaries and provides a formal mechanism for interagency policy coordination
and development of Federal technology activities. The Committee acts to
improve the coordination of all Federal efforts in technology. This includes
developing balanced and comprehensive R&D programs, establishing structures
to improve the way the Federal government plans and coordinates R&D,
and advising the Directors, OSTP and OMB, on R&D budget crosscuts and
Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV)
The Federal government and the U.S. automobile industry have joined in a historic partnership to establish global technical leadership in the development and production of commercially-viable vehicle technology that, over the long term, can preserve personal mobility while further reducing the impact of cars and light trucks on the environment and reducing dependence on imported petroleum. This unprecedented alliance was established on September 29, 1993, and included Federal agencies, national laboratories, universities, suppliers and the United States Council of Automobile Research (USCAR)--a conglomerate of the Big Three U.S. auto makers (Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors). The partnership's goals are: 1) manufacturing productivity improvement; 2) Implement commercial viable innovations from ongoing research on conventional vehicles; and, 3) development of a production prototype by the year 2004 that can achieve three times the fuel efficiency of today's vehicles with comparable cost and performance. The research plan is annually peer-reviewed by the National Research Council (NRC).
The PNGV has accomplished
the technology selection and is preparing an announcement of the selected
technologies for inclusion into the first PNGV concept vehicles. The selected
technologies will be used to produce the first generation prototype PNGV
vehicles and will be used to prepare the production prototypes planned
for 2004. The PNGV is responsible for advancing and spinning off
several new technologies such as hybrids, composite bodies, and fuel cells,
that are now on production track within the participating auto makers,
Partnership for Advanced Technologies for Housing (PATH)
Construction is one of the largest industries in the U.S. and a critical asset for enhancing the Nation's international competitiveness. PATH was established to develop and deliver to practice high performance construction materials and systems, advanced information systems addressing industry needs, automation for construction processes and constructed facilities, knowledge needed for productivity and safety, and measures of effectiveness for construction technology. This initiative responds to a high level of industry interest, and combines Government and industry goals.
Federal government agencies,
led by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and DOE, with
support from DOC, Department of Labor (DOL), the FEMA and EPA, in conjunction
with OSTP have begun the formulation of a partnership with builders, developers,
product suppliers, insurers and financiers to develop, demonstrate and
deploy housing technologies, designs and practices that can significantly
improve the quality of housing without raising the cost of construction.
The goals of PATH are to create markets, consumer demand, technologies,
practices and capabilities so that all new homes by 2010 will be built
cheaper, more environmentally sustainable, more disaster resistant, more
durable and safer. The first meeting of partners was held and a steering
committee created which will set a timetable and agenda for research priorities,
road maps and pilot demonstrations.
United States Innovation Partnership (USIP)
USIP, announced in February 1997, establishes a relationship in which the Nation's governors and the Administration cooperate to achieve new economic growth, high quality jobs, and globally competitive businesses by leveraging U.S. science and technology leadership and resources through partnerships among states, the Federal government, industry, and universities.
USIP Task Forces began operating
in mid-1997. Their work includes activities to (1) build partnerships to
leverage the Federal investment in the Small Business Innovation Research
(SBIR) program in Federal agencies, (2) promote electronic commerce, (3)
shape the next generation of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and
(4) provide technology information to entrepreneurs. The SBIR Task Force
is the furthest along in its effort and is jointly lead by Kansas and the
Small Business Administration. USIP has had some early successes. It helped
to compile state comments on the Advanced Technology Program at the DOC
and has helped Commerce get state comments about a new program, the Experimental
Program to Stimulate Competitive Technology (EPSCoT), before the program
The Subcommittee on Transportation
R&D, formerly the NSTC Committee on Transportation R&D, establishes
consistent national transportation R&D priorities and coordinated research
programs throughout the Federal government. Government agencies work in
partnership with industry and academia to maintain and improve the safety
and productivity of the U.S. transportation systems in order to realize
the world's safest, most responsive and competitive transportation system
by considering human behavior in all aspects, now and in the future.
The Subcommittee's primary accomplishment in 1997 was completion and publication of the first Federal Transportation Science and Technology Strategy. The Strategy establishes partnership initiatives, identifies long-term enabling research for Federal sponsorship, and initiates development of measures to evaluate the impact of Federal R&D investments. The Subcommittee sponsored a special National Research Council/Transportation Research Board (NRC/TRB) review, which concurred with the general directions established in the Strategy. The NRC/TRB report, which offered suggestions to improve the research planning process, was distributed to Congress and to the transportation community. The Subcommittee has begun work on a technology plan and strategic research plan to guide implementation of the Federal research and partnership initiatives -- which cover aviation, surface transportation, and maritime transportation -- outlined in the Strategy.
Computing, Information, and Communications/Research and Development (CIC/R&D)
The Federal Computing, Information, and Communications/Research and Development (CIC/R&D) programs invest in long-term R&D to advance computing, information, and communications. These programs are an outgrowth of the highly successful, Congressionally-chartered High Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) initiative that was responsible for catapulting the U.S. into the era of teraflop computers, gigabyte networks, and computation-intensive science and engineering applications. In 1997, the NSTC oversaw work in five Program Component Areas: High End Computing and Computation (HEC); Large Scale Networking (LSN); High Confidence Systems (HCS); Human Centered Systems (HuCS); and Education, Training, and Human Resources (ETHR).
Accomplishments of the Federal CIC/R&D Program in 1997 are described in two publications: Computing, Information and Communications Technologies for the 21st Century, March 1997; and Technologies for the 21st Century: Supplement to the President's 1998 Budget, November 1997. Additionally, the NSTC sponsored several CIC-related events during 1997:
On October 10, 1996, President Clinton and Vice President Gore announced the NGI initiative, a 3-year project to: invest in R&D for new networking technologies, such as the ability to handle real-time, multimedia traffic; connect more than 100 research institutions at speeds that are 100 to 1,000 times faster than today's Internet; and demonstrate new applications in areas such as distance education, telemedicine, national security, and collaboratories (laboratories without walls). Built on the base of Federal agency programs currently underway as part of the NSTC's CIC R&D Large-Scale Networking (LSN) working group, the initiative calls for partnerships and collaboration with the private sector and the academic community.
In May 1997, the LSN co-sponsored a workshop on Research Directions for Next Generation Internet. Results of the workshop were subsequently incorporated into an NGI concept paper and a draft implementation plan, which were released for public comment in late July 1997. On the basis of this draft, Congress appropriated $85 million for NGI in FY 1998, slightly less than the President's request for $100 million.
Committee on High-Performance Computing and Communications, Information
Technology, and the Next Generation Internet
In February 1997, President Clinton established an Advisory Committee to provide the NSTC, through the Director of OSTP, with guidance and advice on all areas of high performance computing, communications and information technologies. The members bring a broad range of expertise and interests from business and universities.
As one of its first official acts, the Advisory Committee reviewed the draft implementation plans for the Administration's NGI initiative. They reported enthusiastic support for the NGI and made some crucial recommendations for strengthening the program. Members of the Advisory Committee testified before Congress on behalf of NGI. The Committee also launched a review of Federal high-end computing priorities and a more general review of Federal R&D budgets for CIC. Their recommendations will be reported to the President's Science Advisor in June 1998.
Through the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Committees, Federal agencies and departments identified a set of priority research areas that are important national efforts requiring investments across agencies. These interagency priority areas reflect our objectives of maintaining excellence, maximizing effectiveness, and minimizing costs. R&D investment principles provided guidance for our choices. Priority was given to Federal research and education programs that:
President Clinton established the President's Committee of Advisors
on Science and Technology (PCAST) at the same time that he established
the NSTC to advise the President on matters involving S&T and to assist
the NSTC in securing private sector involvement in its activities. The
PCAST, which consists of distinguished individuals from industry, education,
and research institutions, and other non-governmental organizations, serves
as the highest level private sector advisory group for the President and
the NSTC. In 1997, PCAST provided the following reports:
Development of Interagency Plans to Address Health Preparedness for and Readjustment of Veterans and Their Families After Future Deployments, dated April 21, 1997—Examination of health concerns related to Gulf War service. Provides guidance to the Federal government in reviewing policies and programs and developing a coordinated interagency plan for minimizing or preventing similar post-conflict health concerns in the future.
The President established the National Science and Technology Council
(NSTC) in 1993 to coordinate the diverse parts of the Federal Research
and Development (R&D) enterprise and to foster synergy among the varied
talents of the Federal S&T workforce. The NSTC completed its fourth
year of operation and has become the primary mechanism for coordinating
and strengthening Federal R&D. This report highlights 1997 NSTC activities
related to broadly stated S&T goals, including: 1) Maintain World Leadership
in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering, 2) Promote Long-term Economic
Growth, 3) Sustain a Healthy, Educated Citizenry, 4) Improve Environmental
Quality, 5) Harness Information Technology, and 6) Enhance National Security
and Global Stability. An overview of activities performed by NSTC Working
Groups and Committees is presented. The activities of the private sector
President's Committee on Science and Technology (PCAST) for 1997 are also
included as Appendix A of this report.