anecdotal evidence from colleagues, the committee concludes that the problem underlying this paradox is real—that despite substantial funding increases in space physics over the past 15 years, the conduct of research has become less effective, leading to increased levels of dissatisfaction in the research community. However, by asking questions about where the money has gone, why inefficiencies have developed, and who is feeling the dissatisfaction most keenly, this seemingly paradoxical situation can be explained.

Chapter 3 showed that overall research funding, as well as funding for space physics research, have increased at a pace well beyond inflation and now represent a larger share of the gross national product than they did 15 years ago. Furthermore, Chapter 4 showed that the size of the space physics community has grown at a similar rate. On the other hand, Chapter 5 established that in the core program the percentage of proposals funded and the funding per grant have generally decreased over this time, concluding that the base program has not kept pace with either the increasing size of the field or the general funding increase. Thus, even though total funding has increased at a rate similar to the growth of the research community, individual "small science" researchers must now write significantly more proposals to support their work than they did a decade ago. Chapter 5 also showed how increasing university overhead rates are compounding these problems. Finally, Chapter 6 discussed the changes that have occurred over the past two decades in the selection, management, and implementation of space physics research projects. The data show that these projects have become larger, more complex, and more expensive, which suggests greater opportunities for the research community. However, other findings are more sobering: launch frequencies (and total experiments deployed) have decreased; project implementation times have risen across the board, dramatically in some cases; heavy documentation requirements have been imposed; and projects increasingly require individual, new-start approval from a strapped U.S. Congress. As overall funding levels increased, with more dollars targeted for large projects, many of these changes were unavoidable. Some even seemed reasonable and necessary to maintain an appropriate system of checks and balances. However, the net effect has been the establishment of a system that causes major implementation delays; disproportionate study, planning, selling, documentation, and administrative activities; inadequate funding profiles for planned programs; and a less effective core research program. All of these findings are consistent with the increased levels of frustration sensed through discussions with colleagues throughout the space physics community.


We examined the ongoing big science/little science controversy in Chapter 2, described the general characteristics of "big" and "little" science, and reviewed the debate concerning the balance between the two. As we saw, there is

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