each been engaged in research that either led to a significant leap in understanding, as in the case of CAPS and C4, or else are helping us to bring to fruition a major achievement, as in the case of CISM. Another advantage of these small centers is the explicit role for technology transfer. Indeed, atmospheric science is special in that one of the key transfer targets is the federal government.
The value of partnerships with other disciplines, agencies, and nations is also apparent in reviewing these case studies. Every major achievement analyzed required coordination with other agencies, including NOAA, NASA, DOE, EPA, and the Department of Defense. In some cases, broad interagency programs like the U.S. Global Change Research Program or the NSWP have played an important role in focusing research objectives and applying the collective resources of several agencies. Given the range of partnerships employed in these case studies, it is fair to conclude that NSF has been effective in fostering collaboration.
An important lesson to be gleaned from the research activities leading to these major accomplishments is that ATM has adjusted the balance from time to time as opportunities, needs, and scientific progress made necessary and possible. For example, when it became apparent that a concerted, coordinated effort could lead to significant advances in space weather predictions, ATM supported members of the scientific community in their bid for an STC, resulting in the recently formed CISM. The creation of the interagency U.S. Global Change Research Program in the late 1980s is another example of NSF ATM, in coordination with other agencies, identifying the need for greater organization and coordination, and then taking the steps to address this need. In general, ATM has been responsive to evolving needs and has effectively interacted with the community in choosing new directions. It does not in any way detract from this conclusion to note that NSF as a whole has been moving, over the past several decades, to emphasize collaborative and interdisciplinary research.
In summary, it is clear from the analysis of the set of major scientific and applied breakthroughs in atmospheric science considered in this chapter that NSF ATM has made effective use of its varied modes of support and that the balance between the modes has evolved over time in response to the needs and opportunities of the field. The committee expects that ATM will continue to evolve the balance between its modes of support as atmospheric science and its applications evolve.