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One point is that the coordinating entity should assume responsibility for both the research and teaching aspects of federally supported programs.
They should also consider the question of the necessary facilities and equipment. They should have responsibility to deal with such questions as commonality in contract writing, in reporting mechanisms, and patent policies, to name only a few items. Without being certain of what shape the coordinating activity might take, I hope this Committee continues to give this a priority in their consideration of centralized activities.
I should note that the National Science Foundation has some formal responsibility for this kind of coordination. However this has not been effectively done in the past and I am presently doubtful whether it will be in the future. Hence my belief that some additional mechanism is probably needed.
2. THE PROBLEM OF A NATIONAL PROGRAM FOR BASIC AND APPLIED SCIENCE The research in basic and applied science in the United States is performed by a very large number of institutions that can probably be thought of as falling within three major groups: private industry; the universities; the federal laboratories. Only by considering the activities of these three groups can one properly say that one is considering the national science program. My own belief is that in a very broad sense the ingredients of this national program should be à concern of the federal government. Furthermore, I believe that if the federal government is to respond to this concern it will need a centralized activity which either does not now exist or exists in too limited a state to be useful. The essential problem is that of program balance and especially of response to new national needs. At any given time, the total national science effort is a mixture of programs, some of which historically relate to the older research institutions and others of which represent a developing response to new problems as they arise in industry or in government or as basic science brings them forth in its own way. Many of the new needs for applied science will arise from new awareness of socially related national problems, pollution and the like.
Conceivably, the federal government could adopt an almost entirely "standoffish" attitude and permit the national science program simply to be that which developed by the multiple responses of all of the relevant research groups and agencies. However, even if attempted I doubt whether this would work with applied science. As technology is increasingly needed and applied in our civilization the pressures for new programs and for modifications of ongoing programs will continue to impact on the federal government. There will be vigorous proponents of expanded space exploration programs or of new programs in oceanography or of new studies of the environment. In one way or another the federal government will be forced to respond to these pressures. Even within the field of basic sciences some federal responses will be needed, if for no other reason than that the available funds are limited so that the funding of any given expensive basic science effort will necessarily impact on others. Conceivably, the questions of program balance in basic science could be handled by the basic scientists themselves, but historically, this has not happened and there seems to be no reason to think it will. In applied science the combination of national needs and outside pressures will simply not permit any casual abdication of federal responsibility.
Some mechanisms for responding to this problem of program balance already exist. Hearings before Congressional committees respond to some degree. Considerations of the Bureau of the Budget constitute another kind of response. Finally, OST and PSAC both study this problem and make recommendations. The question is whether this set of responses is sufficient. In my judgment it is not. I am persuaded that a more professional, more continuing and more directly responsible analytical and planning procedure is needed. A possible mechanism is the establishment within the federal government of a Planning Bureau for Federal Science Programs, where the word science explicitly includes both basic and applied science. This new Bureau could be sufficiently well funded to permit extensive analysis of ongoing programs as well as of proposed new programs. It should probably be located within the Executive Branch of the government, but it should be charged to be responsive to requests from Congress. It is entirely possible that the correct home for such a group is within the National Science Foundation, but if so, it should be established in such a way that it carries a separate budget item and is explicitly given a very large degree of autonomy and independence.
I am conscious that an organization of this type contains within it some potential dangers. Unimaginative analysis and planning could work to delay needed new programs and could work toward the preservation of obsolete ones. Pressures from important groups or agencies could distort the analyses. On the other hand these sorts of things need not happen and the potential for positive good is so great that I strongly feel that the overall result would be of immense benefit. It is even possible that the existence of a vigorous group within the government would catalyze the appearance of parallel groups outside the government which could do for this national program something of the same sort that the Brookings Institute has done in the analysis of the impact of federal programs on the national economy. This development would be wholly desirable.
3. PROBLEMS WITHIN THE DIRECT FEDERALLY MANAGED SCIENCE PROGRAMS The Federal Government itself is a major producer of science. There now exist literally hundreds of in-house federally supported laboratories responsible to a large number of different federal agencies. If one adds to this group, as one should, the large Federal contract laboratories such as the AEC National Laboratories, the total activity is impressive indeed.
The need for such in-house laboratories is obvious enough. The technically oriented agencies require groups of scientists and engineers who can respond directly and rapidly to agency needs. Furthermore, the area of the applied science and development particularly calls for strong in-house groups. One can argue that private industry could take over these applied research functions. In actual fact, the very management of industrial R&D contracts virtually requires that there be significant in-house capability within an agency. For these reasons and many others we do have a very substantial federal in-house program of research in applied science.
These in-house laboratories, which give strong support to the Federal Agencies, also raise some serious problems. There is the problem of keeping these laboratories operating at a high-level efficiency, particularly in classified areas where interactions with outside professional groups are necessarily restricted. More often than not, these laboratories have neither the spur of profit-oriented effectiveness and relevance which goes with laboratories in private industry nor the almost automatic renewing effect which universities receive from the steady flow of new students. Furthermore the missions of the supporting agencies change considerably over time and requirements for new kinds of research building up.
Hence the dangers of obsolescence and irrelevance are constantly with the federal laboratories. So also is the danger of undue overlay among the laboratories of the several supporting agencies. Finally there is a tendency, which clearly must be resisted, to establish a new Federal laboratory as a response to each new national need.
Here then is another area where a centralized federal activity can be of immense help. The essential tasks are coordination; integration ; mission-analysis ; forward planning. Two other tasks are important however. One is development of ways to enhance the interactions of federal laboratories with each other and with universities. A second is to encourage multiple agency use of ongoing laboratories. A fine example of the first is the JILA program whereby the National Bureau of Standards and the Physical Department of the University of Colorado have developed a collaborative, mutually beneficial program. In the second category the broadening of the programs of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to extend beyond AEC tasks into such fields as desalination and civil defense is wholly admirable and points the way for other federal laboratories. A central activity could examine these and similar arrangements, report on their effectiveness and encourage comparable innovative programs in other federal laboratories.
4. MECHANISMS FOR CENTRALIZED FEDERAL CONSIDERATION OF SCIENCE PROGRAMS
As I complete my discussion of this broad topic I am conscious that I have been less explicit in my considerations of specific organizational changes. This is primarily because the organizational aspects are not areas where I feel very knowledgeable. Furthermore, I am persuaded that there are a number of possible directions which if followed thoughtfully could lead to substantial improvement in the federal response. However, I would be remiss if I did not point out that the one conceivable possibility is an expansion and modification of the already existing Office of Science and Technology.
As it now operates OST has netiher the size nor perhaps the structure to take on these added centralizing responsibilities. But supposing the following changes were made: (a) OST is permitted to grow in size; (b) provision is made for two or three presidentially appointed deputy directors; (c) arrangements are made for more formal OST participation in the preparation of budgets for science support: (d) provisions for closer and continuing liaison with Congress are established; (e) OST is formally charged by Congress to carry out a number of these federal analysis, planning and coordination functions. Then OST would be capable of making a most substantial contribution.
There is however a concerning aspect to this proposal, a concern which is of sufficient seriousness that, if it cannot be minimized in a modified scheme for OST, then perhaps the whole proposal may be desirable. The danger is that OST, as currently operated, with a director who is also the President's chief science advisor, and at the same time, chairman of PSAC, is simply too much a direct branch of the White House and too little an independent federal agency for science. Hopefully the modifications which I have been proposing could decouple these affiliations to the point where OST could truly be thought of as an independent federal agency. If not, then there may be serious doubt as to whether this otherwise attractive possibility should be followed.
The committee's own proposed structure of a National Institute of Research and Advanced Studies certainly contains many of the ideas which I have been supporting. I would personally be reluctant to see the full proposal established immediately and fulīblown, i.e., establishment of a body which promptly becomes the overseeing body to the National Science Foundation, takes on the operation of national laboratories, etc. On the other hand I can quite imagine that as a first step, a central planning and coordinating federal agency could be established promptly to undertake many of the tasks which the committee itself has discussed and which I have discussed today. It would be wholly appropriate if such a new federal agency were designed to fit comfortably into an ultimate, more ambitious structure such as the one the committee has been considering. Is perhaps one possibility to establish the office envisaged in the committee report of May 1969 entitled “Administrative Staff and Planning Office” and modify it to be the first federal unit for overall consideration of these several problems? If this or some similar central body were established it would give the Federal Government the kind of planning and coordinating capability which I believe it needs. If, as time went on, this new arrangement pointed toward the need for a still more centralized effort, perhaps by way of a Department of Science or by way of a group of Science Institutes, the Congress could then take a next step with more confidence and less concern than if it tried to go the whole way now. But the fact remains that some first steps toward a more centralized federal responsibility should be made. In reopening this topic for further serious consideration this committee is doing a service both to the federal government and to the nation's science.
STATEMENT OF DR. FRANKLIN A. LONG, VICE PRESIDENT FOR
RESEARCH AND ADVANCED STUDIES, CORNELL UNIVERSITY
Dr. Long. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
It really is a great pleasure to be able to come again before this committee. The problems that you deal with are, in my judgment, of very great consequence to the country and it is a pleasure to be able to participate.
You do have my biography. I ought to say one or two words to tell you what will be the attitudes of mine from which I will be talking. One of them obviously is as a professor in a university,
A second one is that I have, as you have noted, been an administrator for the last several years in a university concerning myself with general university programs, especially where science and technology integrate into the total university structure.
Thirdly, I have been involved in a consortium of universities, called Associated Universities, Inc., which operates Brookhaven National Laboratory and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and in this hole I have been forced to ask questions as to what are these large national laboratories for and where they fit in the total picture.
This, then, is my background. Unless you tell me otherwise, I shall not read my statement in detail but rather pick points out. Let me first state that in what I say I am very firmly supporting the position of this committee, that is, that an inquiry into what further centralization of Federal activities in the management of science is needed is an important task. I think what the committee has been doing is valuable and I myself believe that some further centralization of Federal management and supervision and especially analysis and planning is needed. I am not so clear and firm on what precisely is needed. My own tendency is to believe that we should approach this centralization in a step-wise manner. I am not quite prepared to stand up and be counted for the Department of Science or even for the rather interesting alternative that your committee staff has developed, the National Institutes of Science.
On the other hand, some components of the committee's suggestions I do strongly support. I support them in terms of three different needs. Let me spend a little time on each of the three.
One of them is the problem of Federal support of teaching and research in science in the colleges and universities. We all know how important Federal funds have become to the colleges and universities of the United States, notably in the area of science but not restricted to that. We do know that there have been some distinctly awkward features that go with them, features that, now that Federal support is dominant, become of increasing importance. It is certainly so that science has greatly flourished under this Federal support, but it is equally so that there are a number of really awkward aspects. One of course is that so much of the support comes under the rubric research, so that the problem of the teaching aspects in the colleges and universities to some degree has been taken care of on occasion with the left hand. That is a little unfair to the Office of Education, but overall I think it is valid.
The other awkwardness, and I don't want to go stronger, is that a good bit of the support to universities comes from mission-oriented agencies. Let me quickly say that I am in favor of this. I think that universities should participate in research with mission-oriented agencies.
In the past support from Agriculture, DOD, and HEW has been of really great consequence to universities. I am not in any sense suggesting that we should modify that in any basic way.
On the other hand, it is a fact that the mission-oriented support has occasionally been awkward. And the awkwardness is that the mission agencies' interests necessarily reflect to their needs, and the character and participation of the universities is not always completely parallel to their interests and needs.
Furthermore, the mission-oriented agency's interest in these will fluctuate and change with time and those changes don't necessarily phase with the changes and interests of the universities.
Finally, of course, there is this, that I mentioned earlier, the fact of the need within the universities for support for the teaching efforts as well as the research. The mission-oriented agencies tend usually to focus primarily on research.
Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Long, as this committee looks at the organization of our science resources, we are also concerned about its administration and management. You indicated in these remarks that the way, in which we are organized, and in which we support activity in the universities, has brought about through its emphasis on research an improvement and an effect on teaching which as I understood has been somewhat negative. I wonder if that is what you mean.
Dr. LONG. I surely didn't mean to imply it was negative. The word I used specifically was “awkward,” and it is awkward in two senses.
One is that much of the support for teaching that has come from the Federal funds, and it has been substantial, has come under this categorization of research, so that many graduate research assistance, for example, have been supported under contracts or grants labeled for research. Similarly, a number of visitors programs expansions have been under that. Now, this is by no means entirely the case. The NDEA fellowships have been important to universities and they have not had that research categorization.
It is simply that one hasn't had the situation of looking at the program as a whole by a single Federal agency, with an objective to program balance.
A second aspect, I think, of the awkwardness is that a good deal of the teaching of science, and very important components of it, are done in the undergraduate colleges and they happen not to be so interesting to many agencies if the categorization is research. So that I think of these as awkward points, but not in any sense implying that teaching has suffered thereby.
Mr. Daddario. Well, what would you recommend to put things in better balance? Without criticizing the Office of Education, you indicate that the teachers have been taking care of it with the left hand. How do you recommend this imbalance be dealt with?
Dr. LONG. Well, certainly I believe firmly that there should be some kind of central Federal agency which concerns itself with the totality of support, Federal support for science in institutions of higher education, and the totality includes teaching, research, equipment, and facilities. I note that commonalty in such things as contracts and grants and reporting mechanisms and patent policies also could be of substantial help. So that it is I would hope that a coordinating activity within the Federal Government could take as responsibility problems of program balancing and problems of consistency in the policies among interested and active agencies.
I think all of that would help. I think that not only would it help in research but it would help very much in the teaching aspects. It is true that some of these things are accepted as problems by the National Science Foundation. I am perfectly glad to go on record as supporting the National Science Foundation and supporting its efforts. I would be delighted to see it grow and flourish. But I am absolutely persuaded that, in fact, for the next many years we are going to have pluralistic Federal support and it is because I am so persuaded that I think a cen