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1. There is a discernible set of organizational purposes: 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 the higher education institutions through which these other objectives are largely pursued.
2. The larger the share of an activity accounted for by a single agency, the better are the chances that a rational ordering of inter-field, inter-program priorities will be established. Further, the more comprehensive an agency, the better that agency can defend its program area politically, in the competition for funds and a place in the sun. And the more significant the agency in its area, the better the quality of program managers who ean be attracted to the personnel roster.
3. It is a matter of high priority that we slow down the proliferation of agencies focusing on special areas of science. Instead of adding NOAA to NASA, and then an environmental science agency, and then, projecting ahead, an agency focusing on bio-political problems, we should have a Department of Science that can serve as a home for the rational development of emerging fields. As Don K. Price has emphasized, science is not a governmental purpose_except in the case of the NSF mandate to promote a healthy basic research base. At least when a new field is not yet ready for exploitation in serving the missions of operating agencies, it is better cultured in a department covering several areas, so that it does not become a precious pet on its own.
4. Basic research and higher education are inextricably linked. This is a widely accepted fact, but government organization does not yet reflect it. Hall of NSF's budget goes for education, not research as such; and almost all NSF research funds constitute back-door support for graduate education. On the other hand, NDEA fellowships and other higher education activities of the Office of Education now give that agency, too, a major role in university development. NIH, although focused by purpose upon health, plays so large a role in support of university research that it, too, has to be brought into the picture as an educational agency. Additionally, NASA and AEC have had major fellowship programs of their own, and DOD, under a Presidential memorandum of September, 1965, has inaugurated in Project THEMIS a major new instrument of institutional support for university groups. From the viewpoint of the universities, it is great to have so much support. It is most unfortunate, to say the least, that this support takes such a variety of forms as to require complex bureaucracies on the campuses to keep track of the myriad requirements. And it is tragic that this country has to use the Department of Defense to provide higher education support. Rationalization of higher education support, both in terms of research grants and direct educational aid, such as fellowships, is badly needed, and would constitute a major function of the proposed Department.
5. Similarly, although it would not be appropriate to pull all mission-oriented research out of the line departments, there is a greater fragmentation of basic research that is necessary or desirable. Given congressional willingness to transfer the tab from one agency to another, much basic research now in missionoriented agencies could and should be shifted to the Department of Research and Higher Education (DRHE). Partly this should be accomplished by outright takeovers—say the high-energy physics program from AEC—and partly also by the mission agencies obtaining their own research appropriations, but tasking DRHE with administering much of their extra-mural basic research.
Such consolidation would give DRHE a significant fraction of federal basic research (which NSF does not yet have), enabling it to be a much stronger spokesman, as well as a "balance wheel," as has been so often proposed in recent years. It would also make it possible to establish broader programs in each field, thus improving the potential for better priority evaluations among competing proposals. A broader research perspective in a single agency will mean a better mode of research planning.
6. Another major need, which DRHE can help meet, is 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-in all disciplines. Although I would have some concern about the humanities and social sciences being swallowed up in a combined department (and have for that reason earlier supported Senator Fred Harris' proposed National Foundation for the Social Sciences as an entity separate from NSF). I think that under the DRHE concept the advantages outweigh the dangers. For if the Department is as broad in scope as I would like to see it, there is no reason in the world why the Secretary need always be a physical scientist. In fact, it would be a very healthy development-even an educational one-for scientists to have to make their case in an agency directed by someone who is not himself a physical scientist but who is conversant with basic research in some area.
As federal support for social science and the arts and humanities burgeonsit is bound to do so in the next few years—common principles will have to be developed for equitable and rational allocation of resources among and between these major areas. A single agency would be able to avoid a narrow perspective on each. The effort at consolidation would be messy, perhaps, but it would be messy, perhaps, but it would be productive of a fruitful inter-field dialogue. In general, the public interest is always advanced when narrow interests have to be weighed in a broader context than they provide in themselves so that policy choices cannot be dictated by too narrow a perspective.
For all of these reasons and more I would appeal for serious consideration of a Department of Research and Higher Education.
The initial components of such a department would include NSF, the National Bureau of Standards, the Environmental Science Services Administration, the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities, a distinct social science bureau, the Geological Survey, perhaps the residue of a dismantled AEC, perhaps NIH-plus tasked research and administration of fellowship programs funded by such operating agencies as NASA and DOD. I would not immediately include NASA on the practical ground that it would tend to "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 (e.g., AEC), as possible without unduly disturbing research that really is intimately related to agency missions. But in ONR and other places, there is a good deal of extramural research of a rather non-programmatic kind that could be handled through DRHE with no loss of essential relevance.
Parenthetically, I would hazard the personal view that such an amalgamation would be very healthy for the pure research commuinty and for NSF: they have been living too unrealistic a life, through NSF's mistaken notions of “independence” from politics. Independence from partisanship is of course to be desired; but independence from the political purposes of the government (which is close to what NSF's clientele have demanded) is both wrong and—as NSF has discovered in the past two appropriations seasons-ineffective even for serving the special interests of scientists.
Since what the Executive puts together the Congress sometimes tears asunder, centralization of research and higher education in administrative terms needs to be accompanied by centralization and consolidation on the legislative side. Hopefully, some of this would occur automatically-if DRHE were given its annual authorizations through the House Science Committee and the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences (which should in any case have its jurisdiction broadened to equal that of its House counterpart). All of science and technologly, especially the latter, cannot be placed in a single jurisdiction in the legislature any more than in the Executive; but a considerable rationalization of jurisdictions is called for. However, I will forebear trying to tell the best-informed committee of the Congress on science matters just what is needed in this area !
Although we think of centralization largely in terms of organizational structure, that is not the only dimension. Even more basic is the question of the premises that underly the organizational forms, and the Congress can play an essential role here in providing an overall rationale to guide all federal agencies involved in science. It can do this through a declaration of purpose, and by a requirement of an annual President-level report on science and technology.
These ideas are, I know, familiar to members of this committtee, so I need not dwell on them in detail. I do want to point out that a legislative frame of reference is, however, presently lacking and badly needed. And I believe that Federal science affairs have now sufficiently "shaken down" so that it should be possible to come up with such a frame of reference, to act as a guideline for all science affairs.
There is one further point I would make, of a rather speculative nature. It is that the proposed Department should have an applied science division as one of the major components.
The purpose is not to duplicate or supersede the applied science tied directly to on-going agency missions, but (a) to create a locus for the fundamental exploration of the basic-applied research relationship, and (b) to engage in and sponsor exploratory applied research in areas not yet “ripe” for mission-oriented agency development.
Postwar science policy has largely been premised on the basic researchers' feeling that all that needs to be done is to ensure sufficient support for a vigorous basic research effort. Then the “bank” will be full, and applied science and engineering development can draw on the bank at will. The purists have wanted to assume that the linkage was automatic and required no special effort, for, ideologically, they did not want to be “sullied” by having to deal with the applied science relationship. That view is no longer tenable. Both Congress and the Executive are finally insisting, as they should have done all along, that explicit efforts be made to establish “payoff” from the basic research whenever possible—former President Johnson's remarks about NIH a couple of years ago being a case in point. Although many university scientists would like it otherwise, the fact is that public patronage of science is (from the public, taxpaying viewpoint) a matter of practical utility-not of aesthetics or sciencefor-science's sake.
The problem is, however, that even when we want to maximize payoffs, we don't know much about the general processes as yet. Two recent studies have attempted to explore the lines of relationship by tracing back technological developments to their basic science origins (the DOD's Project Hindsight and NSF's Project Traces), and this is useful—although, unfortunately, both reports were subjected to somewhat extraneous reactions revolving around whether they “proved” or “disproved' 'the value of basic research. Occasional perceptive essays have been done on the relationship (I think of pieces by Derek J. DeSolla Price and Hendrik W. Bode), but I have the impression (which may be largely out of my own ignorance) that a great deal remains to be done if public utilization of basic research is to be maximized.
That the research-technology linkage is exploitable through specific social mechanisms would seem to be indicated by the history of agricultural productivity in the United States. The social invention of federally-supported research in land-grant colleges, combined with the extension service, has made agriculture the economic sector of most rapidly rising productivity. From what I have been able to glean concerning this, the development of an extremely fruitful relationship of symbiosis between basic and applied research in the Schools of Agriculture may be hypothesized to play a large role. The question is: can we work out equivalent mechanisms in the non-agriculture civilian technology sector? The State Technical Services Act is apparently an effort to build on the analogy, but perhaps without as yet a sufficient basis of understanding of the processes involved to warrant much hopefulness for its success.
The Daddario amendments to the National Science Foundation Act created an explicit authority for NSF to concern itself with applied sciences, but the published statements of what NSF sees as its mission under this authority indicate an overly timid approach, and one dominated by the views of those who really see applied research as less "dignified” than basic science. The Edward Tellers who stress the importance of applied work and who try to upgrade its status are too rare.
Without being able to spell out what needs to be done (since I am neither a scientist nor an engineer), I can only urge that this is a question of great importance, scientifically and in terms of governmental finances, and one that might well be considered along with the creation of some kind of department of science. Such a department might well provide the right locus for fruitful work on the relationship. One part of the effort might well take the form of a laboratory whose specific function would be to monitor the basic research in some specific sample areas of science, and attempt to pick out and work on ideas for creating technological applications. Maybe this is naive, but since I have not seen anything to belie the possibilities, I throw it out for whatever consideration it may be worth.
With the exception of this final digression on applied science, I have focused my remarks on one segment of the science activities field that I think is especially ripe for centralization: the basic research-higher education portion of the spectrum. Beyond that, I am much more skeptical about either the possibility of, or the need for, centralization. The question does need to be raised concerning the 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.
STATEMENT OF DR. MICHAEL D. REAGAN, PROFESSOR OF POLITI
CAL SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT RIVERSIDE
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 a 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.
Half 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 th 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