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OCR for page 51
8-51 Predictably, the British government proceeded to adopt many of Rothschild's main proposals -- the customer-contractor principle, the need to hold ministers responsible for seeing that departmental objectives are properly backed by research and development, and that there are effective partnerships between departmental customers and research and development con- tractors. The government also declared, in passing, that it cannot accept the notion that there should be a Minister for Research and Development. Applied research and development are a necessary part of government and cannot be separated from the responsibilities of r~11 ministers. For the coming years, the effect of tne Rothschild plan will be to en- courage more mission-oriented research in a system that has traditionally emphasized the freedom of the scientist to go wherever his curiosity takes him. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF MATERIALS RESEARCH IN THE U.S. The thrust of the discussions in this section appears to be that there is no one permanent solution or ideal administrative structure for allocating and managing resources for basic and applied research. However, extremes are to be avoided, either in which one organization is responsible for all basic and applied research, or the other where these are the uncoordinated respon- sibilities of separate, poorly-interacting organizations. The line between basic and applied research remains extremely fuzzy and dynamic, and often so in the activities of an individual scientist let alone in departments and larger organizations. What seems to make most sense is that the "centers of gravity of some organizations will be in basic research while those of others will be in applied research. C1 early there will be some overlap between the two sets of organizations. This overlap may outwardly seem like wasteful duplication, but this is not necessarily so. It should be recognized as vital for information and technology transfer between the two communities of scientists. It also introduces some healthy competition. As societal priorities fluctuate so will, to some extent, the balance between basic and applied research. A heavy responsibility falls on those whose job it is to allocate resources among the various basic and applied research proposals. Whether at the administrative or working level, a special kind of wisdom is called for -- one that recognizes and understands the different motivations often operating within these two sectors, that can appreciate the intellectual excitements, challenges, and satisfactions of basic research as well as those of the technical and economic objectives of applied research. The practical approach as far as policy is concerned is to appoint a suitably representative advisory committee that reports to the highest levels of government. In the U.S. the administration and coordination of basic research has traditionally been the province of the National Science Foundation. It has only recently become involved in the administration and support of some applied science in the private sector through the Research Applied to National Needs (RANN) Program and the Experimental Technolocy Incentives

OCR for page 51
8-52 Program. The Interagency Council for Materials has for some time provided a coordinating role for materials R&D programs among the various governmental departments and agencies. The main bodies concerned with coordination of U.S. science policy and the federal support of R&D, particularly in the materials field, can be summarized as follows: Coordination of national science policy with other national policies. Advice on broad distribution among sectors of federally-supported basic and applied research Coordination of materials research carried on in various sectors. Federal support of basic research in the private sector. Federal support of generic applied research Cabinet; Counsellors The (former) Office of Science and Technology; now the President's Science Adviser, the NSF Interagency Council for Materials NSF NSF - RANN Dept. of Commerce - NBS - Technology Incentives Program At the highest level differences of opinion exist among various countries as to whether the coordination should be associated with -- or even sub- ordinated to -- a particular field of national activity (the economy, in- dustry, education, etc.) or whether, on the contrary, such an association might not have the effect of restricting to a single type of research, or a single area of application, the interest and support which should be accorded by the government to the national R&D system as a whole. The (former) Office of Science and Technology, in principle, performed an essential and central role in advising on the distribution of federal resources for R&D among the various sectors competing for funds. It has its counterpart in almost every other major country. While the U.S. Office of Management and Budget has the final say in the disposition of funds, there seems to be a clear need for effective scientific and technological advice of the sort that could be expected from a properly constituted and staffed Office of Science and Technology. The Interagency Council for Materials performs useful liaison and coordination in materials R&D among the various technical departments and agencies of the federal government. It has no funds of its own, however, for supporting R&D, nor does it have any substantial authority. The NSF has traditionally been a main supporting agency for long-range and basic research in the academic community. It is divided into various operating divisions, one of these being the Materials Research Division