Would an interagency program to fund midsized advanced research instruments that are used by researchers funded by many agencies help respond to these challenges? If so, what should be the components of such a program?
Are sufficient federal programs available to provide the intellectual and financial resources necessary to develop new midsized instruments that respond to research community needs?
What federal policies could be put into place to enhance the design, building, funding, sharing, operations and maintenance of midsized advanced research instruments?
Congress requested this study in the following language in Section 13(b) of the NSF Authorization Act of 2002:
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES ASSESSMENT ON INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AND ADVANCED INSTRUMENTATION CENTERS.
Assessment—Not later than 3 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director shall enter into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences to assess the need for an interagency program to establish and support fully equipped, state-of-the-art university-based centers for interdisciplinary research and advanced instrumentation development.
Transmittal to Congress.—Not later than 15 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director shall transmit to the Committee on Science of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate, and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate the assessment conducted by the National Academy of Sciences together with the Foundation’s reaction to the assessment authorized under paragraph (1).