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  • A blue ribbon panel convened by NSF, which estimated that $850 million more per year is needed for cyber infrastructure.34

One contributor to infrastructure deficits has been the imposition by the federal government in 1991 of a 26% cap on reimbursement to universities for “administrative costs,” including funding for construction, maintenance, and operation of research facilities. Universities have in most cases been unable to increase their spending on infrastructure and have had to shift funds from other nongovernment sources to cover their investments in this area.35

NSB concludes that researchers are less productive than they could be and somewhat more likely to take positions abroad where resources are increasingly available. It is also important to note that the federal government alone has the ability to fund this type of research infrastructure. Industry has little incentive to do so, and state governments and universities do not have the resources. If the federal government fails to maintain the national research infrastructure, this infrastructure will continue to decay.

The committee used the 2001 estimates to determine the advanced research instrumentation and facilities needs of the nation. The recommendation would fund only a portion of that built-up demand, but the committee believes the proposed amount would be sufficient to at least keep the research enterprise moving forward.

The National Academies committee that developed the report on ARIF recommended that the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) enhance federal research agency coordination and cooperation with respect to ARIF. Federal agencies could work together to develop joint solicitations, invite researchers from diverse disciplines to present opportunities for ARIF that would be useful to many fields to multiple agencies, simultaneously, seek out and identify best practices, and discuss the appropriate balance of funding among people, tools, and ideas, which could become part of the regular White House Office of Management and Budget-OSTP budget memorandum.

Therefore, in terms of the management of this fund, this committee believes that the best model is that of a national coordination office such as the National Coordination Office for Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NCO/NITRD).36 The National Coor-

34

Report of the National Science Foundation Advisory Panel on Cyberinfrastructure. Revolutionizing Science and Engineering Through Cyberinfrastructure. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, February 2003.

35

Council on Governmental Relations. Report of the Working Group on the Cost of Doing Business. Washington, DC: Council on Governmental Relations, June 2, 2003.

36

See http://www.nitrd.gov/.



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