FIGURE 1.1 Stokes begins Pasteur’s Quadrant with an analysis of the twin goals of developing new understanding and developing results that have an end use in scientific research, and he recasts the widely accepted view of the tension between understanding and use, building a convincing case that, by recognizing the importance of use-inspired basic research, we can frame a new compact between science and government. In Rising Above the Gathering Storm, the authoring committee pointed out that some research can simultaneously be inspired by use and also seek fundamental knowledge.

FIGURE 1.1 Stokes begins Pasteur’s Quadrant with an analysis of the twin goals of developing new understanding and developing results that have an end use in scientific research, and he recasts the widely accepted view of the tension between understanding and use, building a convincing case that, by recognizing the importance of use-inspired basic research, we can frame a new compact between science and government. In Rising Above the Gathering Storm, the authoring committee pointed out that some research can simultaneously be inspired by use and also seek fundamental knowledge.

the most important, shared visions and goals for NASA; and (3) has the appropriate processes and mechanisms in place to expedite the translation of basic research findings into practical applications and products, as appropriate. Ultimately, in the committee’s view, successful research programs are directed by a leader of significant gravitas who is in a position of authority within the agency and has the communication skills to ensure that the entire agency understands and concurs with the key objective to support and conduct high-fidelity, high-quality, high-value research.

To improve the NASA research enterprise for life and physical sciences, and to facilitate a framework of multidisciplinary and multi-partner collaborations guided by a process of translation from discovery to missions, a sea-change in philosophy and approach will be needed in the exploration program at NASA. This sea-change (described below) can be introduced using the concepts illuminated in the book Pasteur’s Quadrant1 by Donald Stokes (and discussed in the 2007 National Academies report Rising Above the Gathering Storm2) (see Figure 1.1). By segregating basic research from mission-driven research in a linear funding model, and by ignoring Pasteur’s Quadrant, the exploration program at NASA was able to justify a reduction in funding of the basic research program with the assumption that the agency could “get back to it” when pressing mission problems were solved and funding levels improved. Overt recognition is needed of Pasteur’s Quadrant, and of the intimate, ongoing circular link between basic research and research to meet mission requirements. Critical to the success of such a program is

1

D.E. Stokes, Pasteur’s Quadrant, Brookings Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 1997.

2

National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2007.



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