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Maintenance and operation of the facilities are the responsibility of the grantee, and when title is vested in the grantee, it is a provision of the facilities grant that no charge will be made to any agency of the United States respecting the use thereof in connection with any Government-sponsored research. This is to prevent an institution from being awarded the full amount of the facilities, and then recovering this amount again through amortization and use charges.
There are also considerations from NASA's viewpoint which militate against its retention of title to facilities acquired under this program. First, and foremost among these would be the nonownership of land or lack of rights to control its use or access. Title to a structure under such terms would be of little practical value.
Secondly, ownership carries with it certain broad responsibilities for staffing, along with various items of office and research equipment, expendable supplies, utilities, maintenance, and protection.
Thirdly, the added burden of prudent care involved in ownership and operation.
Finally, ownership entails a program of proper utilization of the facilities consistent with our research and training requirements, on the one hand, and the needs of the universities on the other. Fulfilling these requirements should be accomplished by complementary programs if we are to reap the greatest national benefit in years to come, and it seems to us that the university is best equipped to plan, propose, and implement such programs.
The research component of the sustaining university program is designed to expand and improve directly the capabilities of the Nation's universities to conduct research in the space sciences and technology.
Through the support of broad space and aeronautical research programs which have been specifically tailored to the individual characteristics of each university, the maximum opportunity is offered for the adoption of new research approaches, balancing and strengthening of existing work, and stimulation of the development and growth of new talent. As a consequence, the space program obtains the most vigorous, productive, and creative contributions the university can provide while the university profits through the overall enhancement of its research and training resources.
Each university has a different capability, and our relationship with it varies accordingly. In general, however, the universities fall into two groups: those which are not actively participating in space research activities but which have a basic potential for quality research, and those heavily involved in substantial amounts of sponsored research. We work with both, for each has a vital role in the support of NASA's mission.
Through the support of quality work at selected institutions not currently participating in space research, the number of universities involved in attacking some of the fundamental problems facing NASA is permitted to grow and thus broaden the base of the Nation's total university research capability. By providing new opportunities to these institutions to participate, many excellent research programs have already emerged and new talents and skills have been developed.
Vigorous programs at these institutions add an additional benefit to the scientific strength of the Nation.
Exciting research activity at a university provides an incentive for the researcher to remain there, where he creates a new nucleus of interest, which in turn attracts other young researchers who wish to join him instead of moving to a larger, better known institution. The net result again is an increase in a national resource.
To the university already heavily involved in space-related research this program provides an opportunity to make more efficient use of its assets. A carefully developed research program can provide valuable augmentation of existing work, fill gaps in research programs or consolidate related work. More importantly, however, it promotes the development of multidisciplinary approaches to broad problems which require a focusing of talents from several different research areas. As Dr. Newell has pointed out, this moultidisciplinary approach is of critical importance to NASA. Finally, even in the larger institutions there is a need for flexible support for the encouragement of young researchers and the germination of new ideas.
Through this specialized program involving a wide variety of institutions, NASA assures a continued flow of quality research and talent needed to fulfill its immediate objectives, while at the same time providing increased opportunities to younger, less-developed schools to develop their capabilities and prepare for stronger roles in the future.
The space sciences summer study, conducted under the auspices of the Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences, reviewed this program in 1962 and stated that “Broadly conceived research grants, not aimed at specific projects are regarded as the lifeblood of a vigorous university research program."
Fundamental research, to be conducted in the most efficient and productive manner requires the assurance on the part of the investigator and the institution of long-term financial support. Such support permits the participants to plan programs in depth and devote their full attention to their work. It is the policy of NASA to provide continuity of research support where possible. The majority of the research grants under this program provide for several years of support, through a technique known as step funding to be described later. Programs presented for support are judged against the following criteria :
(a) The nature and quality of the research proposed, the scientific merit of the program, the capabilities of the researchers, and the relationship to long-range NASA scientific goals.
(6) The relationship of this program to other research within the university and overall NASA objectives and research interests.
(c) The potential value and impact upon the university that the program will have in terms of the university's future research capabilities.
(d) The side benefits of the program which will result, such as enhanced research training opportunities.
(e) The extent of the commitment of the university to provide support to the program and to the research staff. During fiscal year 1962, approximately $3.5 million were invested in programs at 11 universities. At five institutions, broad multidisciplinary research programs were established which permitted integrated attacks on large complex problems by physicists, chemists, biologists, geologists, and engineers.
In fiscal year 1963, research programs that had been started at seven institutions were continued. In addition, 10 new projects were begun, 3 conferences were supported, and 5 institutions received small grants for special purposes.
A summary of the sustaining university program's research activities follows:
Fiscal year 1962 sustaining university program: Research program
Institution and project
California (Berkeley)/NsG-243: Multidisciplinary space
summer study program at State University of Iowa. National Science Foundation/R-62: 13th assembly of
the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics. Ohio State/NsG-295: Biological effects of gases low in
nitrogen. Pennsylvania/NsG-298: Unconventional techniques of
energy conversion. Texas A&M/NsG-239: Development of space sciences
research. Wisconsin/NsG-275: Theoretical quantum chemistry.-
58,000 3 years.
25,000 75,000 50,000
1, 825,000 RP.
Pittsburgh/NsG-416: Multidisciplinary space sciences -
Rice/NSG-6: Materials research:
10, 464 25,000
1 year. 3 years
Syracuse/NSG-159: Materials research.
Wisconsin/NsG-275: Theoretical quantum chemistry I.
do 1 week
1 Continuation of fiscal yearf1962 research grants.
All university research supported by NASA is on the basis of unsolicited proposals submitted by the scientific investigator. The ideas and research efforts presented by the Nation's scientific community through this medium form the fundamental structure and framework of NASA's activities. The importance of receiving new and imaginative ideas and approaches on a day-to-day basis cannot be overstated, for it is NASA's most effective device for utilizing the best talents and minds available, and keeping abreast of new developments. The opportunity for the scientist and engineer to present constructive programs to solve critical problems, point out gaps in existing efforts, and keep NASA appraised of new events is of vital importance to the continuing success of an extremely complex and rapidly evolving program.
These proposals, of which some 300 are received each month, are processed, cataloged, and distributed by the Office of Grants and Research Contracts to the various headquarters programing offices and the NASA research centers. At the program office level, the proposals are reviewed by competent scientific personnel with direct responsibilities and interests in the proposed research. Proposals may also be reviewed by consultants or scientific advisory groups depending upon the subject matter and the nature of the proposal, such as the Space Science Steering Committee and its subcommittees and the Research Advisory Committee of the Office of Advanced Research and Technology.
Proposals selected for funding are processed by the Office of Grants and Research Contracts, which has the responsibility for negotiating the final grant or contract instrument with the institution.
I referred earlier to a funding mechanism that is used to give stability to university programs that are expected to be of several years duration. This is called "step funding" or "forward funding" and involves an initial grant of funds that will be paid to the institution over a 3-year period. Under this arrangement, funds in the amount of 100 percent of the level of the effort agreed upon are made available during the first year, funds in the amount of two-thirds of the agreed level of effort are programed to be paid during the second year, and one-third of the agreed level of effort to be paid during the third year. When the initial grant is made, these funds are all set aside by NASA and paid to the university on some prescribed schedule. During the course of the investigation, if the progress of the research is satisfactory, NASA will supplement the grant annually with funds in the amount of the agreed level of effort, which are paid in thirds over a 3-year period. In this manner the university always has funds coming in for 2 additional years at a reduced rate should NASA decide to withdraw its support. This procedure permits the university to dissipate any obligations that it may have incurred in an orderly manner over a 2-year period. Although this type of funding is not appropriate for all research, it is, for the greater part of NASA's university research endeavors, because it creates stability and thereby increases research productivity.
Research projects are reviewed and monitored by technical staffs from the offices sponsoring the research. Technical specialists from other offices also are appointed as monitors, particularly for broad programs which involve several diverse and complex activities. Additionally, status reports comprising fiscal data and concise statements of research performed are required semiannually of NASA grantees.
In order to provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of the research results, the investigator is encouraged to publish his results in scientific or technical journals or as NASA publications. The NASA Office of Scientific and Technical Information is responsible for assembling, abstracting, announcing, and disseminating reports resulting from the research performed by all NASA activities including that conducted on grants.
All accounts records relating to expenditures are subjected to inspection and audit hy representatives of NASA and the General Accounting Office during the course of the investigation and for 3 years thereafter. The principles for determining allowability of costs set forth in Bureau of Budget Circular A-21 or Armed Services Procurement Regulation, section XV, part 2, whichever is applicable, together with related NASA management policies applying to this subject
, constitute the basic guidance in determining applicable costs of research sponsored by NASA.
Finally, I would like to apprise you of the existence of a report entitled "Active Grants and Research Contracts,” dated July 1, 1963. This report is issued semiannually. It contains a short title descriptive of the work being done in
each NASA grant or research contract, the name of the university undertaking the study, the name of the principal investigator, the funding history, and the titles of reports resulting from the investigation.
I hope the foregoing has given you some insight into the manner in which NASA conducts its relations with universities.
The CHAIRMAN. This looks like the best answer I have seen in a long time as to where this money goes and how it is done. It is a very fine piece of work and I compliment you on it.
Senator Smith ?
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Webb, if you are satisfied with that operation, we shall close these hearings down and submit these questions in writing.
I want to express my thanks to you for coming up here and giving your time for 2 days.
This is a program in which we have been questioned as closely as we have in any one of the other programs at NASA. I think it is fine that we have had clear statements from you.
As you know, when we began, I thought I favored a means test for the granting of scholarships. I'think the answers given this morning by Dr. Newell persuaded me that that is the wrong way to approach it. I appreciate the contribution which he made and which you and Dr. Smull have made in this hearing.
Do you have any concluding statements?
Mr. WEBB. Only to say, Mr. Chairman, that we deeply appreciate the willingness of the committee to go into this program.
In our view, this is one of the most important elements of future strength of this Nation, where the advanced technology must be applied by industry, where large sums of money go to industry, but the development of the technology and the science underlying the technology must be done before the big systems can be built. This is the fountainhead of the systems that will work and the area where we separate out, before going into production, those that will not work. So it is one of the most important elements of strength for this Nation for many, many years to come.
The CHAIRMAN. I agree with you fully and I appreciate the fact that you are willing to stand up and fight for it.
Thank you very much. The hearing is closed.
(Whereupon, at 12:10 p.m., the committee adjourned, subject to the call of the Chair.)
ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY THE COMMITTEE, ANSWERED BY NASA
Question 1. Because of the sheer volume of data being developed through university research contracts for NASA and other Government agencies, what plans does NASA have, as to how one can codify, store, and make available to all agencies of Government—and for that matter, private industry—the data developed ? Does NASA participate with other Government agencies in trying to solve the above problem?
Answer. The results of university research, which the NASA sponsors, are (a) reported in formal publication series, (b) announced in an abstracting and indexing journal, and (c) made available to Government agencies and industrial organizations in the aerospace program.
NASA publishes the research findings in its own formal publication series, the Contractor Report series. In addition, the grantees and/or contractors can publish the results of their supported research as separate reports or in the