Conclusion

Large research facility projects will continue to constitute avital component of NSF’s science and technology portfolio by enabling researchers to examine previously inaccessible phenomena and answer previously intractable questions. NSF has strengthened the priority-setting process for large research facilities in recent years, partly in response to reports from Congress and other organizations.

NSF now has an opportunity to strengthen the program further by incorporating the preparation of a roadmap into its planning process and by involving the research community more fully in the generation and ranking of ideas for large research facilities.

Making choices among competing proposals from different scientific fields will never be easy, but the recommendations and detailed steps described here can help NSF to excel in this critical part of its mission.



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OCR for page 45
Setting Priorities for Large Research Facility Projects Supported by the National Science Foundation Conclusion Large research facility projects will continue to constitute avital component of NSF’s science and technology portfolio by enabling researchers to examine previously inaccessible phenomena and answer previously intractable questions. NSF has strengthened the priority-setting process for large research facilities in recent years, partly in response to reports from Congress and other organizations. NSF now has an opportunity to strengthen the program further by incorporating the preparation of a roadmap into its planning process and by involving the research community more fully in the generation and ranking of ideas for large research facilities. Making choices among competing proposals from different scientific fields will never be easy, but the recommendations and detailed steps described here can help NSF to excel in this critical part of its mission.

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