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tions. The NSF Faculty Early Career Development Program makes 350-400 awards annually, ranging from $400,000 to nearly $1 million over 5 years, to support career research and education.22 Corresponding DOD programs include the Office of Defense Programs’ Early Career Scientist and Engineer Award and the Navy Young Investigator Program. The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) is the highest national honor for investigators in the early stages of their careers. In 2005, there were 58 PECASE awards that each provided funding of $100,000 annually for 5 years (Table 6-2). Still, that group is a tiny fraction of the postdoctoral research population.

In making its recommendation, the committee decided to use the PECASE awards as a model for the magnitude and duration of awards. In determining the number of awards, the committee considered the number of awards in other award programs and the overall reasonableness of the extent of the program.


The federal government should establish a National Coordination Office for Advanced Research Instrumentation and Facilities to manage a fund of $500 million per year over the next 5 years—ideally through reallocation of existing funds, but if necessary via new funds—for construction and maintenance of research facilities, including the instrumentation, supplies, and other physical resources researchers need. Universities and the government’s national laboratories would compete annually for the funds.

Advanced research instrumentation and facilities (ARIF) are critical to successful research that benefits society. For example, eight Nobel prizes in physics were awarded in the last 20 years to the inventors of new instrument technology, including the electron and scanning tunneling microscopes, laser and neutron spectroscopy, particle detectors, and the integrated circuit.23 Five Nobel prizes in chemistry were awarded for successive generations of mass-spectrometry instruments and applications.

Advanced research instrumentation and facilities24 are defined as instrumentation and facilities housing closely related or interacting instruments and includes networks of sensors, databases, and cyberinfrastructure.


J. Tornow, National Science Foundation, personal communication, August 2005.


National Science Board. Science and Engineering Infrastructure for the 21st Century: The Role of the National Science Foundation. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, 2003. P. 1.


NAS/NAE/IOM. Advanced Research Instrumentation and Facilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2006.

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