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funds for basic research in areas they are interested in but then task this new department of research and education with the administration of their intramural basic research. In this way we could get again better interfield comparisons of projects, put all the projects in a given area into the same pot, as it were, subject to a centralized panel system of review, perhaps, so that a weak project from agency A doesn't get supported just because agency A has funds while the strong project in proposed agency B does not get supported because it doesn't have enough funds. If we could task the central agency with much of the basic research, I think we could do a better job of this, and in this way make that agency something more closely approaching the balance wheel which has been advocated for NSF but which that agency alone has been unable to achieve.
A further major need which my DRHE could meet is one that again goes along with the thought expressed by Professor Dupree, namely for a common framework for Federal support of science, social science, the arts and the humanities. The Federal Government is now not just the patron of science, but the patron of research, and research goes on in the universities in all disciplines, not just the physical science disciplines.
I think it would be a very healthy thing for the scientific community to have to make its case in an agency perhaps occasionally directed by someone who is not himself a physical scientist and to have to make it in competition with other areas of research.
A single agency would be able to avoid a narrow perspective on the disciplines, and the effort of consolidation might be messy, but I think it would be productive of a fruitful interfield dialog.
For all these reasons and more, I think serious considerations of a NIRAS or a DRHE is very much in order at this time. I would suggest that the initial components of such a department might include NSF, the National Bureau of Standards, the Environmental Science Services Administration, the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities, a distinct National Social Science Bureau which might be in effect Senator Harris' Social Science Foundation, perhaps the Geological Survey, perhaps the residue of AEC, perhaps NIH.
I would not immediately include NASA on the practical ground that it might swamp the smaller and less hardware-oriented components.
The general criterion would be to include as much basic research and as many technique-oriented units as possible without unduly disturbing research that really is intimately related to agency missions.
To discuss centralization of Federal science activities may immediately call to mind executive reorganization, but I think we cannot leave the subject without touching on the legislative side of centralization. To centralize in the executive branch without accomplishing something along the same lines in the Congress seems to me would be to do only half the job. Perhaps automatically there would be some legislative centralization if one authorizing committee such as this one and one appropriations subcommittee were to handle this entire DRHE or NIRAS. But I think more than that is needed. I think I would hazard the statement, not particularly original, that the Senate needs to catch up with the House and have a committee that has as broad jurisdiction for science as does this committee.
Beyond that, I will forbear trying to suggest to the members of this committee what appropriate legislative centralization might be.
And legislative centralization is not just a question of organization, but I think perhaps more importantly, the idea that Bill Carey of BOB has advocated for several years, and others have suggested too, is very important, namely, that the Congress provide an overall statutory rationale to guide all Federal science policy, to guide all Federal agencies involved in science. I think some sort of declaration of purpose of the National Government analogous to that contained in the preamble to the Employment Act of 1946 could be written at this time, and would provide the beginnings of a unifying rationale for science activities in the National Government even though it is not yet timeif it ever will be, I don't know-to unify organizationally all of these activities.
Conceivably, too, an annual Presidential-level report on science and technology which Carey and others have advocated might also serve as a useful device for providing some unifying themes. I don't think, with all due respect, that the National Science Board report as required by the Daddario amendments of 1968 will be sufficient exactly, because NSF's focus is so narrow on a part of the whole spectrum of Federal science policy. It is Federal-university science policy and that alone, and not even all of that.
So although I welcome the NSB reports, and the first one is certainly an excellent document, I don't think this is broad enough. I think a Presidential-level report perhaps written in OST would be the appropriate vehicle.
I would like finally to take a moment, if I may to raise one other point which is of a corollary nature, perhaps. It is one of my
favorite theses at the present time, that we need to pay much closer attention to the basic research-applied research linkage than we have yet managed to do. And I think the Department of Research and Higher Education might be the place to do this. And that is the connection that leads me to mention that at this point.
The purpose of having an applied science division in this department would not be to duplicate or supersede the applied science tied directly to ongoing agency missions, but (1), to create a locus for the fundamental exploration of the basic-applied research relationship, and (2), to engage in and sponsor exploratory applied research in areas not yet ripe for mission-oriented agency development.
The basic researchers, it seems to me, have been much too purist. And I think NSF has been much too purist. They have not wanted to be sullied, as it were, by contact with applied science, and with the occasional exception of a Teller who is going round the country in recent years plumping on the need to interest graduate students in applied science, I think very correctly—with the exception of a Tellerthe university scientists just don't want to have anything to do with this and NSF is their reflection, so it doesn't want to have anything to do with it. I think even though it has a mandate for applied science under the 1968 amendments, the statements that Dr. Haworth and others have made publicly suggest to me a far too limited view and concept they are taking of this applied science dimension. And I would like to see it strengthened considerably, and I think a bureau
level section of the proposed Department of Research and Higher Education could do research itself, or sponsor research on how we go from basic to applied, and perhaps do some laboratory work in the sense of picking out particular areas of basic research, monitoring the papers that are coming out, and seeing if they can't speed up the processes of application.
The scientists have always wanted research to be supported for its own sake. I don't think the Government does support research for its own sake, in an esthetic way, and I don't think it should. We need to emphasize the practical application of our scientific research more than we have done, and importantly to achieve this, we need to find out more about how we go from basic to applied to link those two communities more closely.
With the exception of those final remarks on applied science, what I have tried to do is focus on one segment of the science activities field that I think is exceptionally ripe for centralization, that is the basic research-higher education portion of the spectrum. Beyond that, as I say, I am more skeptical about either the possibility of or the need for organizational centralization at this time, but I do not think a centralization piece of legislation in the form of a statement of national purpose regarding science and technology would be very much in order. And I would just like to say that I very much welcome these hearings. I think it is an appropriate time to reopen this question of a Department of Science. It is now 10 years, approximately, since we looked at it closely. I think the circumstances in which we are looking at it are quite different from a decade ago; that we have perhaps a more realistic vehicle, that things have settled down a bit now and we can see where the dust is settling and maybe we can really do something to centralize part of the spectrum that will enable us to make better decisions in science policy. And that is, of course, the purpose of the whole game.
STATEMENT OF DON K. PRICE, DEAN, JOHN F. KENNEDY SCHOOL
OF GOVERNMENT, HARVARD UNIVERSITY
Dean PRICE. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the committee very much for its invitation to me to appear today. Since I have been a member of its Research Management Advisory Panel which, as this Report on Centralization of Federal Science Activities states, had some share in the discussions that preceded the preparation of this first-rate report, I did not think I could make any additional contribution in writing. I am happy to have the chance to make a few comments on what seem to me the leading problems here for the committee and for the Government generally in the organization of science.
Since you added to my assignment, Mr. Chairman, an injunction to summarize, I am glad that there isn't much of a disagreement to deal with. I don't have any considerable quarrel with either of my two colleagues here, and I find a very remarkable coherence of point of view. Obviously, when you get into detailed practical decisions, we tend to differ. But the degree of our agreement on a general approach seems to
me very impressive, and that I think is the great contribution of this report.
Let me note several points that seem to me significant; and the first two are negative points.
I have for years been against the idea of a central department of science as that term has usually been defined. In that sense of the term, my colleagues are against it, and this report, I think, substantially comes out against it.
There are two ways in which I think we should put that old idea to rest, and in that way I think this report has done a remarkable job.
The first is the political dimension. This report does not propose to create a department exactly like other departments of the Government. Mr. Reagan does indeed like the term "department"; one of the few minor points in what he said on which I would quibble with him a bit. I would not like to adopt the term "department” because I think it suggests too close a connection with the inner political councils of the President than is appropriate for this proposed agency with its mission. What is suggested here and what I think is acceptable to everybody at this table is an agency which is much less hierarchical and less centrally administered than the standard Cabinet department. And I like the other terminology for that symbolism. But it is really just a symbolic point.
If the Federal Government is avowedly going to get into the business, as it has been actually now for a good many years, of supporting higher education along with research, you want to organize in a way which does not project Federal administrative controls on a hierarchical basis down into the laboratories. And I think that the scheme that is suggested here of a unified institution with each of its several parts representing the kind of balance that the Science Foundation has already exemplified—the balance between administrative responsibility on the one hand and a consensus in the scientific community on the other—you really need symbolism to signify that it is not being run like other departments. Just because it has broad concern for the whole range of science and higher education in the country, it doesn't mean it has to try to run the universities and the research laboratories of the country right out of Washington.
One small side issue here is the question of whether or not if you put these programs together you are going to get more money for them.
I am inclined to think that those scientists who have argued for a central department of science because they think it would give science more support and more money are politically quite wrong. But on this point I shouldn't try to speak with confidence to this audience.
I think that in a local community, if you put all of your welfare voluntary projects in a community chest, you usually wind up reducing the burden of solicitation on business and donors and probably cutting down on the aggregate amount of money spent rather than expanding it. Similarly, I think that the very plural system we have had has probably resulted in more money for science than it could have had if it had all been put together. But I don't think that is the real issue, because I don't believe that at the level of support which science now enjoys the most critical problem is whether it goes up 5 or 10 percent or down 5 or 10 percent. It has already leveled off, it is already effec
tively being reduced, probably more than is wise. But I don't think that any organizational gimmicks are going to solve this one way or the other.
Now, the second point on which I think this report does a valuable negative service is by debunking the idea that all research ought to be put together. There were shadings of difference between the testimony of Mr. Reagan and Mr. Dupree here, and I might differ in minor degree with them but I think everybody here agrees with what this document says: “That the major principle should be that clearly identified mission-oriented research should remain with the operational agencies." This is what justifies the appropriations. And in any case, a measure of pluralism is good; in any case a certain amount of basic research unquestionably does something to keep the applied research programs alive. And the connection is important.
Now, if these negative points are accepted, I think then we can move with more confidence to saying that we can see some probable advantages in the long run, maybe in the short run, from putting together some closely related interests and programs.
To say that we can see the advantages doesn't mean that we could immediately be sure we should take thus-and-such an agency away from a department and put it here. As one who has spent a fair part of his life working as a bureaucrat on administrative analysis I think that unless you really calculate what you are losing by taking a program away from another department, you can't really evaluate the net cost of the transfer. And this, of course, I haven't done. But as far as general approach goes, we have here, I think, a proposed package which makes a lot of sense in several ways. And when we put the several things together in this model scheme, one thing I think comes out quite clearly—and Mr. Reagan touched on it: The multiple grant-in-aid and contractual programs that we have been using to run all of this business, each of which was justified at the outset as a separate enterprise, involves so much redtape and so many reporting systems that you put a very considerable burden on the institutions that you are endeavoring to help.
The danger here, I think, is not central policy control over universities and research laboratories; nobody, as far as I know, has ever wanted to exercise it. It is the piddling little control that comes at the 15th level down where the administrator is worried about reporting to his boss and his boss is worried about reporting to you gentlemen, and so they put on a lot of conditions that don't do any. body any good and add greatly to the burden of the work and complicate everything. This is not dissimilar to the model cities program and to the Health, Education, and Welfare grants to cities and States. The Federal Government, by getting deeper into grant-in-aid programs of all kinds has now, I think, got to think more carefully whether the detailed supervisory system, and the detailed system for controlling the applications and the awards, have not been set up in much more pluralistic and restrictive detail than make any sense from the point of view of either the donor or the recipient.
Now, then, I would come to three more general points on which I think the general approach of this report is right.
The first is one which I touched on a moment ago in a negative way, and that is that the organization that is proposed here is not