11
Research and Development Funding for Coastal Science and Management in the United States

R. Eugene Turner

Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Jerry R. Schubel

The State University of New York

Stony Brook, New York

INTRODUCTION

It is an indisputable conclusion that coastal ecosystems are important to society, yet many are stressed and require remedial action, and conserving the remaining values is unpredictable. It is not surprising, therefore, that various strategies exist to achieve the desired goals for these systems. However, after decades of much work and financing, these goals are still elusive in the case of most coastal systems. While old pressures continue, new ones arise (e.g., aquaculture, eutrophication, and sea-level rise). Yet the natural attributes and controlling circuitry are still incompletely understood. Two activities are necessary: the development of new knowledge and the application of that knowledge.

Both scientists and engineers (S&E) are involved in these two activities. The purpose of preparing this material is to examine important funding patterns and cross-sectoral interactions among government, education, and industry. This is done to help evaluate and devise recommendations affecting how we (managers, administrators, scientists, and engineers) may more usefully contribute professionally. We used mostly national statistical parameters because coastal scientists and engineers are obviously not a distinctive tribe professionally isolated from either their inland peers or offshore colleagues.



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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research 11 Research and Development Funding for Coastal Science and Management in the United States R. Eugene Turner Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, Louisiana Jerry R. Schubel The State University of New York Stony Brook, New York INTRODUCTION It is an indisputable conclusion that coastal ecosystems are important to society, yet many are stressed and require remedial action, and conserving the remaining values is unpredictable. It is not surprising, therefore, that various strategies exist to achieve the desired goals for these systems. However, after decades of much work and financing, these goals are still elusive in the case of most coastal systems. While old pressures continue, new ones arise (e.g., aquaculture, eutrophication, and sea-level rise). Yet the natural attributes and controlling circuitry are still incompletely understood. Two activities are necessary: the development of new knowledge and the application of that knowledge. Both scientists and engineers (S&E) are involved in these two activities. The purpose of preparing this material is to examine important funding patterns and cross-sectoral interactions among government, education, and industry. This is done to help evaluate and devise recommendations affecting how we (managers, administrators, scientists, and engineers) may more usefully contribute professionally. We used mostly national statistical parameters because coastal scientists and engineers are obviously not a distinctive tribe professionally isolated from either their inland peers or offshore colleagues.

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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research WHERE ARE THE COASTAL SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS? Coastal S&E cannot be defined as easily as chemists or physicists, which are from more traditional disciplinary interests. Coastal fields tend to be interdisciplinary, may include management, and are limited to the coastal zone (which is itself undefined). Traditional societal surveys may therefore not recognize all significant participants. An American Geophysical Union (1986) survey of ocean scientists and engineers was used here as an indicator of the total number of coastal S&E and as a descriptor of their geographic distribution. In 1986 there were 6000 people included in the American Geophysical Union (AGU) survey, which compares to the national S&E manpower of 400,358 (NSB, 1991). This is 1.5 percent of the national S&E workforce. Eighty-five percent of those surveyed were in the coastal states, whose geographic distribution is described in Figure 11.1. There are significant numbers of coastal S&E in all coastal states. The density per population is highest in the northeast and northwest coastal sectors (upper panel), and density per shoreline length (from the World Almanac) is highest in Maine, Alaska, Gulf of Mexico, and the southeastern United States, (middle panel, Figure 11.1). There are 11 institutions with more than 50 S&E among the 25 coastal states (lower panel). There is a ten-fold range from minimum to maximum in all values. Obvious centers of concentration are spread broadly within all regions of the United States. All states appear to have a minimal core of S&E working in the coastal zone, however it is defined. NATIONAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING ISSUES Coastal scientists and engineers are less than 10 percent of the total U.S. S&E manpower, and their sectoral addresses (per above) are not obviously different from the rest of the national S&E workforce. National statistics may provide information, therefore, about the activities and resources of coastal S&E. National indicators of science and engineering funding and manpower have increased tremendously since World War II. In 1940 there were 330 Ph.D.s per one million people older than 22 years. By 1966 that ratio climbed to 778:1,000,000, in 1970 it was 1587:1,000,000, in 1990 it was 2000:1,000,000 (Stephan and Levin, 1991). In 1976, S&E employment was 2.4 percent of the workforce, but in 1986 it was 3.6 percent. The number of United States baccalaureates and first professional degrees has increased about 4.8 percent annually since 1900. The new workforce is being trained today but apparently not in sufficient quantity to meet modest projections for national needs. Various reviews (e.g., Pool, 1990; Atkinson, 1990; NSB, 1991) suggest an "annual supply-demand gap of several thousand scientists and engineers at the Ph.D. level, with the shortage persisting well into the twenty-first century" (Atkinson, 1990) as an aging faculty retires, as the student population bulges, and if historical S&E employment growth continues. Employment growth for S&E, however, is not projected to remain steady but to rise. What is the support for the present and future graduate students? Where will we find those young S&E for work in the coastal zone?

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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research FIGURE 11.1 Geographic distribution of ocean scientists and engineers in the U.S. coastal states. Top: coastal S&E per state population (1990 census data). Middle: Coastal S&E per km tidal coastline. Bottom: Number of coastal S&E per state. The height of the bar indicates more than 9 reside at one address. A "•" indicates more than 50 reside at one address (maximum of one in any one state). Data are from a 1986 survey of scientists and engineers (American Geophysical Union, 1986). Reprinted with permission from American Geophysical Union, 1986.

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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research In 1969 there were 80,000 S&E graduate students supported by federal funds (Table 11.1). In 1980 and 1990 the federal support changed from 44,590 to 52,875 students (an 18.5 percent rise), respectively, and 20 percent of the total were supported on federal funds. Meanwhile, the student population rose to more than 267,621 students and the S&E workforce increased 50 percent. The number of environmental students (1-1.5 percent of the total) has declined in the past 10 years. From 1980 to 1990, total S&E expenditures increased 130 percent in current dollars, and 51 percent in constant 1982 dollars. Those dollars not only paid for basic salaries of a more experienced workforce but for increasingly sophisticated equipment amidst the growth of larger projects. In other words, in the past decade: (1) the dollars for Research and Development (R&D) and the S&E workforce rose together, (2) student support rose slower than total support, and (3) the average project size per potential investigator went down. One consequence is that education of graduate students may be compromised. One cannot (or should not) turn students loose without supervision, and they need resources to be trained. The experience at the National Science Foundation (NSF) reflects these changes. The proposal success rate at NSF has gone from 38.5 percent in 1981 to around 30 percent in 1990 (Palca, 1990). The average grant size has dropped from $68 thousand in 1985 to $61.7 thousand in 1989 (1989 dollars). Individual investigators accounted for 57 percent of the research budget in 1991 compared to 68 percent in 1980. Although centers are often blamed for the lack of small science, only 4.5 percent of the NSF research budgets go to research centers. The change in average grant size has not gone unnoticed. Dalrymple (1991) quoted the V. Bush report (1945) setting up the NSF: "New products and processes are founded on new principles and conceptions which, in turn, are developed by research in the purest realms of science." The concern is twofold: (1) that directed science compromises undirected science and (2) that big, multi-investigator projects compromise the productivity of the smaller, often single-investigator projects. The resolution of these issues affects how coastal zone science and management will proceed. There are urgent pleas to have scientists actively involved in the process of setting priorities (e.g., Kaarsberg and Park, 1991) for a shrinking budget. However, even if funding increases in the near future, it is unlikely that we will return to the days immediately following World War II, when it was said that "under present conditions, the ceiling on R&D activities is fixed by the availability of trained personnel, rather than by the amounts of money available" (Steelman, 1947). Unfortunately, both funding and manpower appear limiting in the years ahead, and the S&E community should prepare for strenuous discussions about the relative merits of big and small science, and of directed vs. undirected research. In the midst of these changes appears the complicating (and compromising) growth of ear-marked funds for R&D, otherwise known as pork barrel projects. In 1983 there were three of these projects worth about $16 million (Figure 11.2). By 1990 the amount rose to nearly $500 million. An Office of Science and Technology Policy analysis for 1991 appropriations bills identified 492 projects totaling $810 million. For comparison, this is equal to 44 percent of the NSF budget, and 6 percent of the national educational R&D budget. Scientists and engineers should be wary of this development, as it is a substitute for merit review. Merit review must be effective and acceptable to be a plausible defense against pork barrel funding.

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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research TABLE 11.1 Changes in Support for S&E and Graduate Students in 1969, 1980, and 1990. Data are in 1992 dollars.   1969 1980 1990 Graduate S&E Students to Education Federal Sources (no.) 80,000 44,590 52,875 All Sources (no.) - 215,354 267,621 % Federal - 20.7 % 19.7 % Environmental Studies (no.) - 3,442 2,939 % Environmental Students - 1.69% 1.1% Research and Development to Education Federal (billion $) 1.6 4.1 9.3 All Sources (billion $) 2.2 6.1 16.0 % Federal 71.9% 67% 58% Adapted from data in Atkinson, 1990 and NSB, 1991. FIGURE 11.2 The rise in non-competitive, or earmarked funds disbursed outside agency initiated requests. Adapted from data reported in NSB, 1991. Note: the 1991 NSF budget was $1.954 billion, and the total research and development funds for educational institutions in 1988 -1989 was $13.5 billion.

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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research RESEARCH PRODUCT QUALITY There are three major performers of research: government, industry and educational institutions. Government laboratories have a reputation for focusing on project management, monitoring and immediate problems over publication; educational laboratories for a publish-or-perish reputation; and industry for garnering funds necessary for either profit or proprietary interests and for a rapid response and on-time performance, etc. These three sectors have legitimate viewpoints and functions that a national research and development policy should be matched with, goal for function. The educational community clearly excels at developing new information. Two demonstrations of this are discussed here. Analyses of frequently cited papers in ecology and oceanography are provided by McIntosh (1989) and Garfield (1987), respectively. The most frequently cited papers, indicators of highly useful scientific contributions, are dominated by authors residing or working with educational institutions (Table 11.2). More than 95 percent of all classic papers are from these institutions. Officer et al. (1981) provided a different type of analyses for selected estuarine publications. They concluded that ''the academic community has produced most (7 percent) of the refereed research literature on estuaries—evidence of the importance of academic sources of new knowledge'' on somewhere between 31—37 percent of the available funding. A more complete quantification of 1200 S&E publications for 1984 (NSB, 1987) indicates that 61 percent of all articles arose from educational institutions (Table 11.3; article number was proportioned according to all author's addresses). This educational contribution was done on 9 percent of the funding and was 14 percent of the average dollar spent per article generated. In other words, the quality and quantity of educational research publications compares very well with all other sectors. What do other sectors prefer in terms of working with each other on new information? The overwhelming preference is for collaboration with coauthors at educational institutions (Table 11.4). The strongest preference across sectors was for federal scientists to work with scientists in the educational sector. Nearly half of all articles from federal laboratories were co-authored with educational sector coauthors. TERMINUS Coastal science and management are not particularly overwhelmed with useful data and more data, are required to address the newly arising complications of increased population, limited resources, and complex management milieux. New scientific and engineering contributions are heavily weighted toward educational R&D contributions. The present R&D funding environment is stagnating. It is threatened by looming manpower shortages and is very competitive. These factors are beginning to place a strain on the S&E community, which is becoming increasingly vocal about the instability of funding for individuals, the size of individual project funding, and the distribution of funding toward fewer and larger projects. Some see fields that are becoming "overcrowded with risk avoiders more worried about their next grant" (Stephan and Levin, 1991). The federal government is becoming less involved in R&D in terms of the percent funding, publication, and student support.

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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research TABLE 11.2 Addresses of Authors of classic Journal Papers in Ecology and Oceanography. WH and SIO are scientists whose mailing address is Woods Hole, Massachusetts and Scripps Institute of Oceanography, California, respectively. Scientists living there may, or may not, have an academic affiliation at the time of the article publication.   United States   Foreign   WH/SIO Educ. Govt. Industry Educ. Govt. McIntosh, 1989 5 61 2 1 3 26 Garfield, 1987 non-core journals 22 4 0 0 2 1 Garfield, 1987 core journals 10 5 2 0 7 5 Totals 37 70 4 1 41 12 TABLE 11.3 Expenditures (Millions) and Cost Per Article Published by Sectors for 1984. Adapted from data in NSB, 1991, 1987.   R&D $ % # % $1000/ Sector (Millions) funding articles articles article University 8,617 9 30,988 61 278 Non-profit 3,000 3 5,803 11 517 FFRDC* 3,150 3 1,970 4 1,599 Federal 11,572 11 8,898 18 1,301 Industry 74,800 74 2,930 6 25,529 Total 101,139 100 50,599 100 1,999 * FFRDC-Federally Funded Research and Development Center.

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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research TABLE 11.4 Percent Cross Sectoral (education, industry, non-profit, federally financed research and development centers, and federal) Authorship of Journal Articles Published in 1984. The items in bold are the two most frequent cross-sectoral associations for the authors in that sector. Adapted from data in NSB, 1987. Primary Authors   Educational Industry Non-profit FFRDC Federal CoAuthors Educational 77 24 53 37 48 Industry 3 64 3 6 4 Non-profit 7 3 36 2 5 FFRDC 2 3 1 49 2 Federal 10 6 8 5 42 It has been suggested elsewhere that it is appropriate for student support from federal sources to be doubled (Vaughn, 1989). Doing that without depleting the other R&D resources would have the long-term effect of increasing the labor pool in future years and supporting higher education, which does significant amounts of the research. Partnerships with the educational R&D sectors should be encouraged. The R&D activity of the educational sector is of high-quality, high quantity, and is relatively inexpensive compared with other sectors. Federal-educational linkages are pretty good but not with all sectors. We must be careful when co-mingling the different institutions so as not to compromise the qualities of each by confusing their functions, which are not the same. University scientists are not natural resource managers but teachers, even scholars, and technically astute. The political demands of government service require skills that are not taught on class field trips or in the research laboratory. Time spent by government on management and administration is time not available to develop, assimilate, and synthesize new information. Industrial R&D activities are more sensitive to profit, etc. What we do not know is how much more overlap of activities is desirable. The partnerships of the next few years should be interesting in that regard, and attempted gradually. There are some conspicuous differences between research in the coastal zone and elsewhere that should be mentioned. First, research in the coastal zone is more parochial, in some ways, than in blue water oceanography, for example. In forest research, there is an open competition for funds that is sometimes lacking in coastal-zone research. Also, the role of the research community in proposal review by the former has a greater role in determining quality than the estuarine research. Socio-political aspects tend to be more influential in deciding what questions should be asked and how to manage an estuarine project. Although the pressure is somewhat understandable given the multiple

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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research and often conflicting views of estuarine management, the result is often quick and dirty R&D projects and an undue influence of opinion about sometimes very sophisticated scientific and technical issues. Good analyses can lay out the options and their implications without involving a policy choice; good policy decisions cannot be made without good analyses. A recent example of the effect of an absence of good analysis is the debacle over redefining wetlands in the absence of scientific judgement (Kusler, 1992, Sipple, 1992). In this example, scientific judgements were phased out in favor of policy outcomes suiting an exclusively political agenda. Second, it is worth repeating that good analyses do not usually come quickly, and that simple plans of actions are usually just that—simplistically inappropriate. The short attention spans of managers and politicians amidst S&E untrained in policy makes for a treacherous liaison between what is an artificial division of 'basic' and applied R&D. It is a particularly daunting challenge to derive the essentially interdisciplinary programmatic thrusts necessary to answer the management questions within the coastal zone. Third, unstable financial resources will not be as effective as long-term support. Excellence requires stability (but not entrenchment). Meeting the immediate needs of management compromises achievement of substantial gains over the long haul. REFERENCES American Geophysical Union. 1986. U.S. Ocean Scientists and Engineers. Washington, D.C.: American Geophysical Union. Atkinson, R. C. 1990. Supply and demand for scientists and engineers: A national crisis in the making. Science 248:425-432. Bush, V. 1945. Science, The Endless Frontier: A Report to the President on a Program for Postwar Scientific Research. Washington, D.C.: National Science Foundation. Dalrymple, G. B. 1991. The importance of 'small' science. Earth Observation System (EOS). Trans. American Geophysical Union 72:1, 4. Garfield, E. 1987. Which oceanography journals make the biggest waves? Current Contents 48:3-11. Kaarsberg, T. M., and R. L. Park. 1991. Scientists must face the unpleasant task of setting priorities. Chronicle of Higher Education. Feb. 20, 1991, A52. Kusler, J. 1992. Wetlands delineation: An issue of science or politics? Environment 34:7-11, 29-37. Mcintosh, R. P. 1989. Citation classics of ecology. Quarterly Review of Biology 64:31-49. National Science Board (NSB). 1987. Science and Engineering Indicators—1987. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. National Science Board (NSB). 1991. Science and Engineering Indicators—1991. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Officer, C. B., L. E. Cronin, R. B. Biggs, and J. H. Rhyther. 1981. A perspective on estuarine and coastal research funding. Environmental Science and Technology 15:1282-1285. Palca, J. 1990. NSF: Hard times amid plenty. Science 248:541-543.

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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research Pool, R. 1990. Who will do science in the 1990s? Science 248:433-435. Sipple, W. S. 1992. Time to move on. National Wetlands Newsletter 14:4-6. Steelman, J. R. 1947. Science and Public Policy. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Stephan, P., and S. G. Levin. 1991. Research productivity over the life cycle: Evidence for American scientists. American Economic Review 81:114-132. Vaughn, J. 1989. The federal role in doctoral education. A policy statement of the American Association of Universities, Washington, DC, September, 1989.