FIGURE 5.1 Proposal success rate for NSF as a whole, for NSF’s Directorate for Mathematics and Physical Sciences (MPS), and for NSF’s Astronomical Sciences (AST) Division, from 1988 to 2008.

FIGURE 5.1 Proposal success rate for NSF as a whole, for NSF’s Directorate for Mathematics and Physical Sciences (MPS), and for NSF’s Astronomical Sciences (AST) Division, from 1988 to 2008.

proposals deemed worthy of funding by review panels, program managers, and advisory groups can be supported. Furthermore, the current situation is not a healthy position from which to carry out the more ambitious recommendations of Astro2010, given the needs for technical resources and personnel training. The goal is to achieve an appropriate balance between the optimal scientific exploitation of data obtained from the missions and facilities funded by NASA and NSF, and the mission/facility support itself.

In the committee’s judgment, it is absolutely necessary for the health of the whole astronomy and astrophysics enterprise to increase the support of individual investigators: those who write the papers, who train the students and other junior researchers, and who in the end produce the results to drive the field forward and ignite the public’s imagination. Reallocation of resources may have to come at the expense of support of existing missions/facilities and new projects.

In Chapter 7 the committee recommends upward adjustments in the funding levels of certain individual researcher and group grants programs at NSF



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