Throughout the workshop it became apparent that many perceptions by the attendees about programs, funding procedures, review processes and interagency interactions may not be accurate. Therefore, it seems clear that NSF needs to turn its attention to better educating the scientific community about programs and review processes. This educational endeavor needs to be more than citing a web site. It requires that NSF personnel and staff become more visible and interactive at scientific meetings, visits be made to chemistry departments at various institutions and that program announcements be more clearly delineated and written. In particular, clarification as to choice of submission to CRIF vs. the MRI program was especially vague among the participants.
It also seemed apparent that the Chemistry Division should build more communication and closer liaisons with the Biological Division. In this regard funding for instrument proposals which have a significant biological component, but which are still predominately chemistry research in nature, could be shared between the divisions. Much of chemistry research today is [embedded] in the biological sciences and this natural evolution needs to be encouraged and acknowledged.
Recommendations for future workshops of this nature include the following:
Educate your participants beforehand; i.e., provide copies of program guidelines that are to be evaluated.
Let participants know at least one month prior to the meeting what the issues are that need addressing. Those who are informed a priori will be better prepared to address crucial questions about the issues at hand.
Provide a template for the final written report.