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proposal to us leads to the idea that in government that same possibility is available.
Dr. LENHER. Yes; it does.
Mr. DADDARIO. You buttress that up, at the end of your statement, by touching on the point that research projects which merely assert that they will expand basic knowledge is not enough, that the work can be explained with such technical contents so you can see whether or not it does have direction and purpose, and that Government research in this area of activity is susceptible to this kind of examination.
Dr. LENHER. Yes. I make those comments with regard to scientific research in which the Government or important parts of the Government feel they have an interest. I don't think that should apply to Government grants or contracts supporting research in the universities, Mr. Daddario. I think that is a different field where discrimination should be on a very much more broader basis, but I think where it is a matter of security or welfare of the people, where the Federal Government is moved to support scientific research in those areas, that this ought to be looked at on a centralized basis or with a centralized overview.
Mr. DADDARIO. Well, somewhere along the line, then, that fits in with the Du Pont approach, where you keep on top of those things which are ready to go ahead and you allow the basic research to be pretty much done at the discretion of the industrial managers. In the central area, I guess the analogy you could draw would be to the NSF, you allow more latitude and yet everything it does your Board has complete supervision over and must approve.
Dr. LENHER. Yes. They have broad control in approving annual budgets. The content of the budget is usually expressed in terms of fields of work rather than in specific projects, so the central control is quite a general direction rather than a closely coupled one. This, I think, provides a good analogy between our research setup and that possible in the Federal Government because both interests are very broad and as I pointed out in my prepared remarks in a science-based program the research part of the program is really quite cheap. A large institution can afford to range fairly free in a research area looking for opportunities, in the Federal Government for improved security or improved health, and in business for improved profit opportunities, but once that opportunity is apprehended or there is an opinion that there is an opportunity there, then interests begin to narrow and development and commercialization become quite costly, and there I think closer control is quite important, because the amounts involved, the commitment of people, and the commitment of money, become fairly long term, even in a developing project. So changes are not as easily made as they are in the research phase of the project.
Mr. DADDARIO. You see the value of the pluralistic approach in both the Government and in industry insofar as the development of knowledge and its application is concerned. In the background material, you have given us insofar as how Du Pont works, your industrial managers who would be as we draw an analogy here, somewhat on the same basis as our laboratory manager are given a great deal of latitude and a great deal of flexibility in spending moneys for research. I wonder how much flexibility our managers of national laboratories ought
to have and how much control over them should the mission agencies who are their sponsors have? Should that mission sponsorship be absolute or should there be in keeping with what you have said such flexibility so that that laboratory might be able to develop within it, in a tangential way I would expect, some other capabilities because of the kinds of people that such laboratories attract.
Dr. LENHER. Well, Mr. Daddario, I think some elements of flexibility should be permitted or even encouraged, provided there is a general overreview of all of the activities so there wouldn't be continuing duplication or overlap in two agencies with separate designated missions but with a scope to carry out parallel technical activities in this peripheral area.
Mr. DADDARIO. If the sponsorship is tight and the flexibility is not allowed, isn't the chance of duplication and drift even more possible?
Dr. LENHER. Well, I should think if the sponsorship were very close it would be less.
Mr. DADDARIO. Well from the standpoint of having numbers of laboratories each of which are tightly controlled, where there does appear to be the possibility that that control from a sponsoring point of view is guarded very carefully and where the people within the laboratory feel a restraining influence. The activity which exists in these agencies and the possibilities where one could be helpful to the other would appear to me to allow for the possibility of duplication of activities and the inability to be of help to each other. This does not occur in your laboratories because you insist that the laboratory directors who are responsible for research and development keep in constant touch with each other and it becomes a matter of habit or of education, because they can see opportunities where they can be helpful.
Dr. LENHER. Yes.
Mr. DADDARIO. My question is, Does the strict management control by the sponsor of the laboratories prohibit cross fertilization ?
Dr. LENHER. Oh, I think it probably would quite effectively. It would narrow it, it would narrow the outlook of the personnel in that laboratory markedly.
Mr. DADDARIO. The pluralistic approach, then, which you commend should have as part of it the opportunity of some flexibility but great communications.
Dr. LENHER. Yes.
Dr. LENHER. I think the key to a productive program which is reasonably free of duplication is good communication, full communication and rapid communication.
Mr. DADDARIO. When you talk about a central agency such as the National Science Foundation having the opportunity to be able to fit into the pattern of not only doing very much itself but having some ability to make determinations about what goes on in other places, taking into consideration that there are strict guidelines about what is being done, would you give the authority really to the National Science Foundation to make judgment values here or would the proper place be at OST, where with a staff properly beefed up it could develop this kind of working relationship in a better way than it now does?
Dr. LENHER. Well, that is a difficult question. I think I would assign to the National Science Foundation the job of setting priorities. Now, the implementation of priorities is the responsibility of branches of the Government other than the National Science Foundation, but I would think that the National Science Foundation has been and would be in the future in an excellent position to exercise discrimination between fields, not to be able to implement fully that discrimination, because this is the responsibility of the executive and legislative branches of the Government, but to indicate what priorities they think are most important.
This brings in another role in expressing points of view. If OST, to follow your suggestion, had this role, I am afraid there might be only two points of view considered—OST and the legislative. This may be all right, but I would suggest that a third agency, of more presumed independence, could express an opinion without it being determining.
Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Lenher, you also stressed the importance of the Government doing a great deal if not most of its basic research in the universities.
Dr. LENHER. Yes.
Mr. DADDARIO. I wonder if you might have some comment about how we develop and maintain the kind of financial support necessary for the universities, with the proper mix of Government as well as industrial and private donations. At a time when it appears that Government participation, as heavy as it is, is not enough to keep up with the great growth and needs of the universities and at a time when financial deterioration seems to be setting in in an inordinate way, will chemical industry or industry generally, which has been a strong supporter of the universities through grants and fellowships and direct support, increase or decrease its support because the Federal Government has participated so heavily? What needs to be done in this particular area?
Dr. LENHER. Well, Mr. Daddario, my view is that the Federal Government should give strong support to graduate schools in the universities and should give strong support to long-range research. Research and teaching are really coupled together, but research as a support of high-quality teaching, of excellence in our universities. I think this is a role in which the Federal Government should play the major part. I think industry, private individuals and foundations can supplement that support, but I believe in our culture that this is a major responsibility of the Federal Government for supporting higher education.
I would separate that, perhaps to anticipate a further question, from support of teaching and of undergraduate work. But I think for advanced work, which can look for support from very few sources, the Federal Government is an important source to be looked to in the future.
I think the support the Federal Government has given this work in the past decade was largely responsible for the great surge forward in science in this country, which we are seeing. I think that support in the future would be wisely adjusted to a level which could be met over a period of years without wide fluctuations. This perhaps is diffi
cult to accomplish, but I think that level of support would be better stabilized at a lower level, rather than to come up to some high level and then be reduced because of the press of other necessities in the whole Federal budget.
With regard to support from industry, I think industry support of the universities has continued on, at least from the chemical industry, with steady but modest increases in the face of the increased Federal support of science in the universities, and I expect this will continue. I would be surprised if industry support of the universities would not substantially increase should the Federal Government find it impossible to increase support of the universities, particularly in the graduate schools. But this is speculative.
We are so strongly dependent on highly trained technical people for the strength of an industry, that I am sure in enlightened self-interest industry would increase its support of higher education.
Mr. ĎADDARIO. In one place you talk about the need to support the young graduate student. Is this in keeping with the idea that you have to have both short-range and long-range goals and the young graduate students are the ones on whom we must depend in the future?
Dr. LENHER. Yes.
Mr. DADDARIO. Is that part of your reason for supporting the idea not only that the Federal Government ought to be heavily engaged but it ought to be heavily engaged in a continuous and somewhat predictable way insofar as support of education is concerned?
Dr. LENHER. I think you put it very well. Yes, that is my view.
Mr. MOSHER. I am a little troubled, Dr. Lenher, about the comments you just made, your emphasis on support for the graduate schools. You aren't implying that excellence in the graduate schools can be neatly separated from excellence in undergraduate schools, are you? Dr. LENHER. I didn't intend to imply that, no.
Mr. MOSHER. I hope you wouldn't. Because I think the Government has considerable responsibility to support and encourage excellence in the undergraduate schools, too, for the very reason that you can't have excellence in graduate work without feeding into the graduate schools excellent students.
Mr. Chairman, Dr. Lenher has certainly given us a fascinating exposition of the way one very distinguished and successful corporation operates in the area of science and of research and development, and obviously we, as he suggests, are going to have to make judgments as to what we can learn from the way this corporation operates and apply it to Government, and I suppose that means that right from the start we have got to decide where the goals of the corporation and the goals of the Government differ. That leads me back to a question that I think was the first question that the chairman asked, or similar to that.
Dr. Lenher, you say, starting at the bottom of your page 13, "It is possible for a research question to be original and fascinating but not worth the cost of answering. Unless we,” that means the corporation, "have some reason to believe that the answer would take us in a direction we want to go we do not undertake such a quest.”
Later on page 19, you say "To merely assert that a research project will expand basic knowledge is not enough. Project proposals should not only explain technical content but also should contain a justification related to potential uses of the findings.
I am sure we all recognize that the history of science is replete with situations where a researcher discovered something he couldn't conceivably had anticipated and that applications developed that no one could have anticipated. I can understand where a corporation has to be much more careful about this, in managing its science, but shouldn't Government and the essential interests of society and of the Government and of the scientific community, shouldn't these require that Government rather generously support research merely for the sake of expanding basic knowledge, without any certainty that it is going to lead to some application? Isn't this one basic difference between a corporation's goal and the Nation's goals that we have to keep in mind?
Dr. LENHER. Oh, I think it is a determining difference.
Dr. LENHER. Our scientific program and our technical program, I tried to point out as sharply as I could, have to be narrower than that of the Government. Our scientific and technical work has to be related to what we think is the corporate interest. Our goals, while we try to set them and have them followed clearly, must be entirely different, I think, from those of the Federal Government.
Mr. MOSHER. Yes.
Dr. LENHER. I think the Federal Government's goals should be very much broader. But I think they also should be understood, if possible, defined, recognized, and worked against, whether this be supporting research in the broad area of high-energy physics at one particular time, and perhaps in biology or genetics, at another time, or all three of those concurrently but in varying amounts. I think it is desirable to have a discrimination among those and that is all I am suggesting, that the Government might draw an analogy from our industry.
Mr. MOSHER. But at some point, and I assume this would be in the National Science Foundation, shouldn't we rather generously support science that doesn't immediately give evidence of supporting an end goal ? Probably our discrimination there should be a matter of discriminating between men of quality and excellence as well as ability, giving money to support scientists who obviously have ability and genius and let them have their own head and search for knowledge for the sake of knowledge itself.
Dr. LENHER. I would think in the future, as I read the past of the National Science Foundation, they should support talent where they recognize it.
Mr. MOSHER. Yes.
Dr. LENHER. There should be funds there coming from the Federal Government. The amount certainly will have to vary with the level of the national economy, but with the high level of prosperity in which we have been living for the last few decades, I think money should be found for that purpose, Mr. Mosher.
Mr. MOSHER. I won't take more time at this point.