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1981 NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 1980
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY,
Washington, D.C. he subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:15 a.m., in room 2318, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. George E. Brown, Jr., presiding.
Mr. BROWN. The subcommittee will come to order.
Today we will be continuing the National Science Foundation program review that was started yesterday, and we will begin with the Directorate for Scientific, Technological, and International Affairs, which has rather diverse and interesting responsibilities that include the administration of international cooperative agreements. Although the United States/Russia and China agreements involve other directorates, I am hoping we can include these topics in today's discussion. I believe Dr. Pimentel was prepared to go into that yesterday, but we ran out of time.
We will then proceed to Astronomical, Atmospheric, Earth, and Ocean Sciences, and here again we will find a particularly engaging subject : ocean margin drilling.
On that Phil Smith, of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, will give is something of the administration's views of this proposed ocean drilling program. We will finish the session with a panel of experts who will, hopefully, treat us to different points of view on this proposed enterprise.
Now I will try and maintain a degree of time discipline so that we have at least an hour for the panel. If we have to run a little past 12 o'clock we will do that without too much difficulty, from my standpoint, but you people may have some problem with that.
We will start this morning with Dr. Harvey Averch, Assistant Director for Scientific, Technological, and International Affairs. You may proceed, sir.
Dr. AVERCH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I would like to enter my full statement for the record and just discuss the significant highlights of this year's budget.
Mr. Brown. Without objection you may do that.
DR. HARVEY AVERCH Dr. Harvey Averch became Assistant Director for Scientific, Technological, and International Affairs (STIA) in June 1977. In this position he is responsible for the development, coordination, direction, and evaluation of programs under the Divisions that comprise STIA: Policy Research and Analysis. Science Resources Studies, International Programs, and Science Information.
Dr. Averch joined the National Science Foundation in 1971. He was the first Director of the Division of Social Systems and Human Resources in the Re search Applied to National Needs (RANN) Directorate. In 1974 he advanced to the position of Deputy Assistant Director for Analysis and Planning at which time he designed RANN's planning and evaluation system. In 1976 he was nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate as Assistant Director for Science Education.
Prior to his NSF appointment, Dr. Averch was associated with the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, California, for ten years. He served as Senior Staff Economist, Director of Studies on Economic Development in the Philippines, and as Co-Director of the Rand program on Urban Structure and Policy Analysis. He also has taught at the University of California at Los Angeles, the California Institute of Technology, and the Rand Graduate Institute.
A native of Colorado, Dr. Averch graduated from the University of Colorado summa cum laude with an A.B. in economics in 1957. He was awarded a Ph.D. in 1962 at the University of North Carolina where his major fields of study were economic development, advanced economy theory, and mathematical economics.
Dr. Averch has authored and coauthored numerous publications in the areas of economic development, education, urban affairs, and international affairs. He is co-author of “How Effective is Schooling? A Critical Review of Research" and “The Matrix of Policy in the Philippines.” With Leland Johnson he established the first mathematical models of the effect of rate-of-return regulations on the firm. Dr. Averch has also published articles on R&D management and on research utilization.
Dr. Averch has received a number of honors and fellowships, including the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 1961; University of North Carolina Fellowship, 1958 ; Fellow, Institute of Strategic Studies; Phi Beta Kappa : and is listed in the American Men of Science. Dr. Averch received the Foundation's Meritorious Service Award in 1973 and the Distinguished Service Award in 1977. In 1979 Dr. Averch was elected Chairman of the United States/Israel Binational Science Foundation.
Dr. and Mrs. Averch and their two children reside in Reston, Va.
STATEMENT BY DR. HARVEY AVERCH, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR
SCIENTIFIC, TECHNOLOGICAL, AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
Dr. AVERCH. I would like to take up a metaphor we discussed yesterday, the transmission belt between basic research and marketable products and services. In my own view, I think we would be better served to think of a network between science, technology, marketable products, and services, and the general performance of our economy and science; and I think we should think of an adaptive network, because we can change it according to the decisions we make.
The job of our Directorate at STIA is to understand that network, and the two-way flows along it, and to assist in making those flows more efficient and more effective. All of the activities and the initiatives that I will speak about this morning have that network concept behind them.
As you know, we have four different subactivities: International cooperative science, policy research and analysis, science resources studies, and information science and technology. I would like to briefly
what the priorities are in each subactivity, and then be open for questions.
We are requesting $12,900,000 in international cooperative science, and $5,500,000 in special foreign currency, related to international activity.
There are two priorities this year; one is to increase our cooperation with the developed countries, particularly in Western Europe and Japan. The simple reason for this priority is that it pays us to move in this direction. The principal of comparative advantage holds in science as elsewhere, and we can reduce our costs by trading and acquiring information from developed countries concentrating on different fields of science.
The second priority stems from the previous work we have done in assisting developing countries to develop capability in science and technology. The Foundation has carefully considered its role and mission with respect to developing countries; the National Science Board has laid out a set of criteria for us to follow, and we have published a program announcement seeking proposals from the scientific community.
There are also two major priorities in policy research and analysis. The first one is risk analysis, that is, comparative risk analysis, and the relationship of risk to natural and technological hazards.
We have been working especially hard in risk analysis since last year. At that time, this committee thrust us even further into the area. Quite a bit of activity has occurred in the Academy of Sciences and the scientific community on risk assessment and risk management.
I would also note that we consider the cross-directorate program for decision and management sciences an important support for this more applied work in risk analysis and risk assessment.
The second initiative involves international economic policy research. As you know, for a long time, we have been involved in making estimates of the international impacts of science and technology, the impact of domestic innovation on the international economy, and the impact on U.S. competitive advantage.
We found that we really can't be as precise and relevant to science and technology policy as we would like without taking a look at the broader issues of the relationship between science and technology, innovation, comparative advantage, and our general economic policy.
The other reason for the initiative is clear in this time of economic discontinuity, a time of severe shock, both to our economy and society. There is demand by decisionmakers for research results, and for relevant information that can be used in policy today. This year there was a feeling that the administration should not operate alone, that it would be prudent to provide some incremental resources for the scientific community to become involved in these major issues. So we are requesting additional funds for this purpose.
Yesterday we discussed briefly the role of data and data bases in managing our economy and our society. Our directorate has a role in research on information science and technology, and we are requesting significant increases for the important work and notable opportunities in this area.
The kind of issue we would research was one discussed briefly yesterday; for example, is it better to have a large-scale, centralized Government data bank that includes all information gathered from all sources, or is it better to have distributed data bases with a strong networking capability?
Mr. BROWN. How many years do you think it will take to answer that question ?
Dr. AVERCH. Mr. Brown, a definitive answer may take a long time. I think a reasonable answer could be done in 1 year.
Anyway, the general thrust of our information science program is to look at trade-offs involved in using information as well as storing it. I would only note that our difficulties in storing information now are not so great. Severe difficulties, however, lie in using information and making inferences from our data bases.
The last STIA subactivity involves studies of scientific and technical resources. We discussed this briefly when Dr. Atkinson spoke in the posture hearing about NSF's role in providing statistical information and data about the science and technology enterprise. 1980 will be a crucial year, since this is the year we update our information on the science and engineering labor force for the first time in a decade. As you know, we take a special sample from the 1980 census and then track these scientists and enginers for a decade. Our entire knowledge of what is happening to the scientific and engineering labor force depends on getting these surveys done and done on time, and so we are requesting funds for this work. We are also requesting some funds for complementary surveys that happen to come due in fiscal year 1981.
In sum, we are asking you for about $29 million, and $5i2 million in special foreign currency. I would like to place that request in perspective. I said our job first is to understand the science and technology network—the information flow from science and technology to the larger society—and second, to help analyze policy options with respect to that network.
Let me note that science and technology policy and operations cannot, by themselves, cure social and economic problems of productivity, international trade, or foreign policy. However, when properly articulated with other policies, they can make a significant incremental contribution. That contribution will be greater in proportion to the amount of rigorous policy research, analysis, and timely data we have; the amounts of information we can effectively employ, and the number of effective international science and technology programs we can design and operate.
So I am asking for a significant incremental improvement in our ability to grasp these issues at what I think is a modest budget request.
Let me stop there, Mr. Brown, and answer any questions you might have.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Averch follows:]
STATEMENT OF DR. HARVEY AVERCI!
AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
FEBRUARY 6, 1980
MR. CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE:
THIS IS THE THIRD TIME I HAVE APPEARED BEFORE YOU TO DISCUSS THE BUDGET REQUEST FOR STIA. SINCE I FIRST APPEARED,
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE HAVE
BECOME MORE PROMINENT IN THE ORDERING OF NATIONAL CONCERNS.
THE STIA DIRECTORATE HAS BEEN ACTIVE IN ASSISTING
USING OUR DECISIONMAKERS ON THESE AND MANY OTHER MATTERS.
EXTRAMURAL POLICY RESEARCH AS A BASE, IMPORTANT ANALYSES WERE
PRODUCED FOR THE DOMESTIC POLICY REVIEWS ON INNOVATION AND NONFUEL MINERALS AND FOR THE UN CONFERENCE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FOR DEVELOPMENT. THE DIRECTORATE STAFF PARTICIPATED