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Setting Priorities for Large Research Facility Projects Supported by the National Science Foundation
and collaboration can reduce the financial costs of a project to participating agencies and countries and can enhance its prospects of success.
5. Given the congressional emphasis in the most recent National Science Foundation reauthorization bill and the importance of the MREFC account to the research community and to the health of the US research enterprise, the NSF leadership and the NSB must give careful attention to the implementation of reforms in the MREFC account.
The NSF Authorization Act (HR 4664), which authorizes appropriations for NSF for fiscal years 2003-2007, states the following in Section 14(e):
(1) STUDY—Not later than 3 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director shall enter into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences to perform a study on setting priorities for a diverse array of disciplinary and interdisciplinary Foundation-sponsored large research facility projects.
(2) TRANSMITTAL TO CONGRESS—Not later than 15 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director shall transmit to the Committee on Science and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate, the study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences together with the Foundation’s reaction to the study authorized under paragraph (1).
The committee suggests a six-step process (described in the next section) to implement the recommendations that we hope NSF and NSB will adopt. The committee believes that NSF and NSB reactions to the present report would best be illustrated by a memorandum that would describe the degree to which the report’s recommendations and proposed implementation plan are adopted and discuss the extent to which there is agreement or disagreement with the report’s recommendations. In addition, NSF and the NSB should describe what actions they plan to undertake to set priorities among NSF’s large research facility projects. This report should be provided not only to Congress but to the entire research community for public comment.