workshops. Although there was surely some merit in the concerns expressed by those scientists who felt neglected, I do not believe the early projects themselves failed to address any important significant aspects of the scientific research needed to achieve the objectives of the projects.
Once the projects resulting from the workshops had been identified as appropriate for consideration by IDOE, and the proposals submitted, the well-established NSF peer-review process played a critical role in the final selection of projects for funding. Like most NSF proposals, DOE proposals were subjected to peer review. In the case of IDOE, these were mail reviews, and the mail reviews for each project were then carefully considered by a panel of specialists that made its own recommendations.
One of the major difficulties in reviewing IDOE projects was that traditionally NSF reviewers were accustomed to reviewing only individual projects and the reviews focused on the question of scientific excellence and receiving ratings accordingly. But IDOE projects included all of the tasks necessary to achieve success, and while not all of these tasks were the type to receive excellent ratings, each of them was essential to the success of the project. Mail reviewers were quick to point out the deficiencies in these proposals, to note the routine character of certain tasks, and to give them only fair ratings. In NSF, the administration was accustomed to funding only those individual projects receiving excellent ratings by the reviewers. Early on, we in the IDOE office were able to explain to the NSF chain of command, without too much difficulty, that these routine tasks were essential to the projects even though they did not receive high marks from the reviewers. At the time, we reported directly to the Assistant Director for National and International Programs, whose office understood the problem and fortunately proposals did not receive heavy scrutiny above that level.
Later on, in response to pressure from Congress, a review board was established in each directorate, plus a review board for special items requiring approval by the Foundation's governing body, the National Science Board. The review boards compounded the prospects for delay and