Page images

whole field, however, and these bearings will perform a valuable function in reviewing it approximately a decade after the idea last received any sustained attention.



Dr. REAGAN. Given the context of these hearings I think one has to start with the question of why or why not centralized activities. I think the major reason for centralizing is to build on common premises of action for common activities wherever such common premises can be determined to exist.

On this basis, it seems to me that to centralize all Federal science activity is very much out of the question at the present time, because there are too many disparate components to the whole thing. I don't think we are ready to unify the whole thing.

In the area of basic research and higher education, however, I believe it is possible to discern a specific set of organizational purposes and therefore I think this area is ripe for centralization and therefore, just to provoke further thought, I have advocated something along the lines of your NIRAS, or as I have preferred to call it, a Department of Research and Higher Education.

I think the set of organizational purposes one might use here are to support the healthy development of basic research in the humanities and the arts as well as in science, to promote the education of future researchers and faculty members, and to provide a major share of funds for the health of higher education institutions through which these other objectives are largely pursued.

I think the larger the share of an activity accounted for by a single agency, the better are the chances that one will achieve å rational ordering of interfield priorities. The better the opportunity to compare the choices that have to be made across fields, across disciplines, across activities. And the more comprehensive an agency, furthermore, I would guess, the better that agency may be able to defend its program area politically in the competition for funds and a place in the governmental sun.

We have had for some time a proliferation of agencies focusing on special areas of science, and we have currently and recently before the Congress the question of adding NOAA to NASA.

If one looks ahead, there may also be cries for a separate environmental agency, and a little ahead of that we are bound to need one for biopolitical problems as we handle heart transplants and the question of the meaning of termination of life, and the other questions of breaking the genetic code and the social uses we may possibly make of this.

Rather than have a separate agency developed for each of these particular areas of science, I think

it makes a great deal more sense to have a department of science that can serve as a home for the rational comparative development of emerging new fields. As my colleague here, Don K. Price, has emphasized in several of his writings, science is not as such a governmental purpose, except in the case of the NSF mandate to promote a healthy research base.

And at least when a new field is not yet ready for exploitation in serving in particular missions, it is perhaps better cultured in a department covering several areas.

I would also emphasize, as has Dr. Dupree, the inextricable linkage between basic research and higher education. That the two are linked is a widely accepted fact, but I don't thing governmental organization yet reflects it adequately.

Hålf of NSF's budget goes for education, not research as such. Almost all NSF research funds constitute backdoor support for graduate education. On the other hand, the NDEA fellowships and other higher education activities of the Office of Education now give that agency, too, a major role in university development.

I think the question of a new kind of institutional grant which this subcommittee has been considering in the past year is relevant here; that is, should a new program of institutional grants be built around the science education function, or should it be a more general program for all areas of higher education. I would incline toward the latter.

Additionally, mission oriented agencies, NASA, AEC, and so on, have had major fellowship programs of their own. And DOD with Project Themis is heavily involved in education.

From the viewpoint of the universities, it is obviously fine to have so much support. But I think it is terrible that we have the support so fragmented as we do, with different requirements, different administrative connections, different reporting systems, which greatly complicate the bureaucracies on our campuses. And in the University of California the bureaucracy is great enough already, it doesn't need any more growth.

Furthermore, I would add the personal note that I think it is a real tragedy that this country has to depend on the Department of Defense for a major part of higher education support. I think in a department of research and higher education we can link together these things which obviously go together in a meaningful way that will give them fuller weight than they have through separated programs, and which will perhaps permit us for the first time at the same time that we are fusing them to clarify when we are supporting education as such, when we are supporting research for research results as such. When the only way the Congress could approach support of education was through the back door, we had an excuse for doing it through research project grants. Now that that logjam has been broken for 2 or 3 years, it is perhaps time for us to say clearly that we are supporting this area of research explicitly because of its value to graduate education and not because of the research results that may come out of it, and in other areas, the reverse.

Another point I would make is that although it would not be appropriate to pull all mission oriented research out of the line departments, there is perhaps greater fragmentation of basic research than is either necessary or desirable. I think some basic research in agencies-like energy physics from AEC, would be perhaps a prime example—could be lifted outright and moved to the new department.

Beyond this I would like to see, though it may be a vain hope, the mission agencies—perhaps they can get funds more easily-get the 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 DRHÉ 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 ail 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 Teller the 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.

Thank you.
Mr. DADDARIO. Thank you.
Mr. Price?



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

« PreviousContinue »