B
Charge to the Committee

An ad hoc committee overseen by the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy will examine federal programs and policies related to advanced research instrumentation (including cyberinfrastructure) used for interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and disciplinary research.

The study, in response to Section 13(b) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Authorization Act of 2002, will focus on instrumentation that is not categorized by NSF as Major Research Instrumentation ($100K to $2 million) or Major Research Equipment (more than several tens of millions of dollars) but the equipment that falls in between these two categories (“midsized instruments”).

If needed, the committee will propose policies to make the most effective use of federal agency resources to fund such instruments. Such instruments are and would be located at a broad spectrum of academic institutions.

Specific questions that will be addressed regarding advanced research instruments include:

  • What are the current programs and policies of the major federal research agencies for advanced research instrumentation?

  • What is the current status of advanced midsized research instrumentation on university campuses? How are such instruments currently designed, built, funded, operated, and maintained?

  • What challenges do federal agencies and universities identify regarding such instruments?



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OCR for page 106
Advanced Research Instrumentation and Facilities B Charge to the Committee An ad hoc committee overseen by the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy will examine federal programs and policies related to advanced research instrumentation (including cyberinfrastructure) used for interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and disciplinary research. The study, in response to Section 13(b) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Authorization Act of 2002, will focus on instrumentation that is not categorized by NSF as Major Research Instrumentation ($100K to $2 million) or Major Research Equipment (more than several tens of millions of dollars) but the equipment that falls in between these two categories (“midsized instruments”). If needed, the committee will propose policies to make the most effective use of federal agency resources to fund such instruments. Such instruments are and would be located at a broad spectrum of academic institutions. Specific questions that will be addressed regarding advanced research instruments include: What are the current programs and policies of the major federal research agencies for advanced research instrumentation? What is the current status of advanced midsized research instrumentation on university campuses? How are such instruments currently designed, built, funded, operated, and maintained? What challenges do federal agencies and universities identify regarding such instruments?

OCR for page 106
Advanced Research Instrumentation and Facilities Would an interagency program to fund midsized advanced research instruments that are used by researchers funded by many agencies help respond to these challenges? If so, what should be the components of such a program? Are sufficient federal programs available to provide the intellectual and financial resources necessary to develop new midsized instruments that respond to research community needs? What federal policies could be put into place to enhance the design, building, funding, sharing, operations and maintenance of midsized advanced research instruments? CONGRESSIONAL LANGUAGE Congress requested this study in the following language in Section 13(b) of the NSF Authorization Act of 2002: NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES ASSESSMENT ON INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AND ADVANCED INSTRUMENTATION CENTERS. Assessment—Not later than 3 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director shall enter into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences to assess the need for an interagency program to establish and support fully equipped, state-of-the-art university-based centers for interdisciplinary research and advanced instrumentation development. Transmittal to Congress.—Not later than 15 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director shall transmit to the Committee on Science of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate, and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate the assessment conducted by the National Academy of Sciences together with the Foundation’s reaction to the assessment authorized under paragraph (1).