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Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals Appendix H Enabling the Future: Linking Science and Technology to Societal Goals A Report of the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government CONTENTS Foreword 5 Preface 7 Executive Summary 9 Voyages of Discovery, 10 The Choice of America, 11 Recommendations, 13 I. Linking Science and Technology to Societal Goals 19 Looking toward the Future, 19 A Clear Choice, 20 Long-Term S&T Goals, 21 Science, Technology, and Societal Goals, 23
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Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals 2. Setting S&T Goals 27 Voyages of Discovery, 27 The Process of Setting S&T Goals, 29 The Players in the Process, 32 3. The Need for Long-Term Goals: Selected Illustrations 38 Environment and Natural Resources, 38 Health and Social Welfare, 42 Economic Performance, 43 The S&T Base, 45 The Role of a National Forum, 47 4. Recommendations 48 National Forum on Science and Technology Goals, 49 Role of Congress, 54 Role of the Congressional Support Agencies, 55 Role of OSTP and OMB, 56 Role of the Federal Departments and Agencies, 56 5. Goal-Setting, S&T, and Society: A Look at the Future 58 Making Better Choices, 58 Persistent Challenges, 59 A Shared Burden, 61 Notes and References 63 Members of the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology and Government 67 Members of the Advisory Council, Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government 69 Members of the Task Force on Establishing and Achieving Long-Term S&T Goals 71
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Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals EXECUTIVE SUMMARY As for the Future, your task is not to foresee, but to enable it. —Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Wisdom of the Sands The end of the Cold War, the rise of other economically and scientifically powerful nations, and competition in the international economy present great opportunities for the United States to address societal needs: policy-makers may now focus more attention on social and economic concerns and less on potential military conflicts. In the next decade and those that follow, the United States will confront critical public policy issues that are intimately connected with advances in science and technology. Policy decision-making will require the integration of numerous considerations, including accepted scientific knowledge, scientific uncertainty, and conflicting political, ethical, and economic values. Policy issues will not be resolved by citizens, scientists, business executives, or government officials working alone; addressing them effectively will require the concerted efforts of all sectors of society. As Vannevar Bush wrote in his 1945 report to the President, Science: The Endless Frontier: Science, by itself, provides no panacea for individual, social, and economic ills. It can be effective in the national welfare only as a member of a team,
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Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals whether the conditions be peace or war. But without scientific progress no amount of achievement in other directions can insure our health, prosperity, and security as a nation.1 The task force recognizes that many sectors of society contribute to the setting and achievement of long-term science and technology (S&T) goals, particularly the state governments and the industrial sector. Many policy areas with which state governments have had decades of experience, such as transportation, education, and agriculture, have come to the top of the national policy agenda. Nearly every state has a science and technology policy advisor or economic development program centered on science and technology, and it is through the states that many of our national S&T policies are implemented.2 Even though the private sector is largely influenced by shorter term economic forces, it still employs the majority of scientists and engineers in the country and performs most of the nation's R&D. As a consequence, industry plays an important role in establishing and achieving long-term S&T goals. Furthermore, we feel that it is important to recognize the role of international cooperation and development in government decision-making in S&T. As discussed in a recent report by the Carnegie Commission, the distinction between "domestic" and "foreign" goals for science and technology is obsolete in the face of the explosion of global technology, information, capital, and people. If they are to be forward-thinking, our policies must now integrate national and international views. 3 With this consideration in mind, our report focuses primarily on the role of the federal government in establishing and achieving long-term S&T goals. It also suggests some ways in which current problems can be managed and future issues can be identified and addressed. We discuss opportunities for opening the science policy process to a broader spectrum of society by creating and institutionalizing a forum for exchanging ideas. We also present mechanisms through which society and public officials can deal with the inevitable and continuing in goal-setting. VOYAGES OF DISCOVERY Basic scientific research is a voyage of discovery, sometimes reaching the expected objective, but often revealing unanticipated new information that leads, in turn, to new voyages. Some might say that setting long-range goals may harm basic researchers by overcentralizing and removing flexibility from the system. Long-range S&T goal-setting certainly should not hamper, but rather encourage, this freedom to discover. Furthermore, goal-setting should be a pluralistic, decentralized process.
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Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals The federal government is largely responsible for setting major goals and broad budget priorities between and among major disciplines (for example, biology and physics). It also plays a major role in setting priorities within disciplines (for example, particle and solid state physics), and must encourage the symbiotic combinations of differing fields (for example, biology and chemistry with respect to biotechnology products). The relationships between scientific and technological advancement and government support are complex, and the stakes in these decisions are high, not just for scientists and engineers, but for society as a whole. Consequently, a better understanding of the process of articulating goals, both within and outside science, is vital. THE CHOICE FOR AMERICA We believe that America faces a clear choice. For too long, our science and technology policies, apart from support of basic research, have emphasized short-term solutions while neglecting longer-term objectives. If this emphasis continues, the problems we have encountered in recent years, such as erosion of the nation's industrial competitiveness and the difficulties of meeting increasingly challenging standards of environmental quality, could overwhelm promising opportunities for progress. However, we believe there is an alternative. The United States could base its S&T policies more firmly on long-range considerations and link these policies to societal goals through more comprehensive assessment of opportunities, costs, and benefits. We emphasize the necessity for choice because there is nothing inevitable about the shape of the future: the policy decisions we make today will determine whether historic opportunities will be seized or squandered. American science could repeat its past successes: in the past three decades. American S&T has helped eradicate diseases, reverse the pollution of many of our rivers and lakes, reach the moon, launch the computer age, and spread the Green Revolution around the world. We may be able to achieve a new age of vitality and leadership in the world community. Or the problems of recent years—such as the loss of technological and commercial advantage to other nations, or our continuing dependence on foreign energy supplies—could prove irreversible. In short, the future is limited only by our ingenuity. As Frank Press, President of the National Academy of Sciences, said recently, "Without a vision of the future, there is no basis for choosing policies for science and technology that will be appropriate for the years ahead."4 This report seeks ways to improve the knowledge, understanding, and information available to the federal government on the long-term nature
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Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals of the S&T enterprise as it relates to societal goals. As the government goes about the complex annual process of setting budget priorities and developing program plans for the S&T enterprise, it could use this knowledge, understanding, and information to ensure that both long- and short-term objectives are taken into account. The report focuses on an interconnected set of ideas that, if implemented, would help accomplish aim. The underlying theme of the set of recommendations is an effort to improve the capacity of the federal government to establish and achieve long-term S&T goals. At the core of our report is the recognition that there are significant efforts already under way within the federal government, but departments and agencies must be encouraged to direct more attention to long-term thinking. We describe the activities of several units of both the executive and legislative branches of government, recommend ways to strengthen their capabilities, and suggest mechanisms through which long-range, strategic planning can help federal departments and agencies fulfill their missions. In addition to our recommendations directed to established governmental units, we have proposed the creation of a National Forum on Science and Technology Goals that would bring representatives of the science and technology community together with others from a broad set of fields who are interested in societal activities that have major S&T components. The Forum would work to identify ways in which science and technology can contribute to the definition and refinement of societal objectives and to their realization. Ultimately, it would try to articulate S&T goals, monitor efforts to achieve them, and maintain sustained support for particular objectives. The Forum would also define and develop criteria in support of dynamic goals such as the future needs of the several components of the science and technology base—basic research, generic technology, education and training, research facilities, and information dissemination, to name a few—in an effort to ensure their long-term health. Several key considerations underlie our recommendation for a National Forum. The first is that a private forum must have long-term continuity in order to become an important contributor to federal policies. There are inherently long lead times associated not only with goals but also with the dynamics of major technological change. It is the mismatch between these realities and more immediate economic and political concerns that must be wrestled with. The second key consideration is the recognition that many organizations exist, both within and outside government, that do some long-term strategic planning. The Forum should make maximal use of these worth-while efforts. Furthermore, if the products of the Forum are to be useful, it must have strong linkages to the executive and legislative branches of the federal
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Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals government as well as the state governments. Finally, a balanced and effective interaction is needed between the scientific and engineering communities and those representing a broad range of other societal interests. Our report does not address the issue of setting specific societal goals, because we believe this is primarily a political process. We do list a broad set of societal goals to indicate the general directions toward which S&T should be applied. Most of our report is devoted to the process of establishing S&T goals; however, we do present some examples of S&T goals for illustrative purposes. RECOMMENDATIONS Although this report touches on a number of goal-related themes, our recommendations focus on a few key issues: improving our national capacity to define and revise long-term S&T goals; linking S&T programs and goals more closely and clearly to broader societal goals; and building more effective linkages between governments (especially the federal government) and other sectors of society in debating, articulating, and pursuing these goals while assessing progress toward their achievement. To this end, we present a set of interconnected recommendations. We believe that each recommendation, in itself, is useful and should be implemented; however, the recommendations have been designed to support and strengthen each other and should be viewed as a whole. In developing recommendations in this report, we sought to identify mechanisms to bring the major sectors of society—government, industry, academia, nongovernmental organizations, and the public—together to examine ways in which science and technology can be focused on achieving the nation's long-term objectives. Centralization of planning is not the answer, as the failures of command economies have demonstrated. However, we badly need a focusing of national attention and resolve. We also need to ensure that we are taking full advantage of the knowledge resulting from our national research and development efforts as we work to achieve societal objectives. Bridging the gap between research and policy-making is essential, and the assessment process is an effective bridging mechanism that must be used more frequently in the future as policy-makers work to devise strategies for achieving long-range goals. Throughout our work, we have been mindful of the great diversity of processes that help define the direction of national policy. There is no simple way to promote systematic long-term thinking about policy directions. For this reason we devote our recommendations to a variety of mechanisms
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Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals within and outside government to foster discussion and debate about potential long-term S&T goals and the means of achieving them. • A nongovernmental National Forum on Science and Technology Goals should be established to facilitate the process of defining, debating, focusing, and articulating science and technology goals in the context of federal, national, and international goals, and to monitor the development and implementation of policies to achieve them. The National Forum, as we envision it, would be responsible for undertaking several key activities (see Box 6 on p. 50). The Forum would convene individuals from industry, academia, nongovernmental organizations, and the interested public to explore and seek consensus on long-term S&T goals and the potential contribution of scientific and engineering advances to the achievement of societal goals. The importance of the long-term goal-setting task is matched by the difficulty of carrying it out. For example, great diligence, fair-mindedness, an d imagination would be needed to ensure that the Forum did not become either a vehicle for self-promotion by scientists and engineers or a venue for lodging grievances arising from technological change. The goal-setting process must involve individuals who have exhibited the ability to take a broad statesman-like view of complex issues. We suggest two options for administering the Forum: the National Academies complex or a new, independent, nongovernmental organization. Regardless of the option chosen, we believe that the activities of the National Forum should be overseen by a Board of Directors responsible for selecting the members of the Forum's Council. The Council should be made up of representatives of a broad spectrum of our society who are appointed for fixed length, rotating terms. The Board should ensure that the Council is provided with the necessary institutional facilities, financial management, personnel, and other administrative backing to carry on the Forum's mission. We envision the Council as the leadership organization for the Forum. • Congress should devote more explicit attention to long-term S&T goals in its budget, authorization, appropriation, and oversight procedures. Congressional support is key to long-term productivity of science and technology. Budget, authorization, appropriation, and oversight procedures are complex and highly decentralized, and there are opportunities to improve the ways in which Congress addresses S&T issues. We have not, however, focused too closely on these opportunities. The Committee on Science, Technology, and Congress of the Carnegie Commission will address these issues in an upcoming report.5
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Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals We believe that one of the most effective ways for Congress to consider S&T issues in the longer term would be for the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, which has responsibility for cross-cutting science policy considerations, to hold a series of hearings, on an annual or biennial basis, on long-term goals for science and technology. The purpose of these hearings would be to step back from budget process and near-term political considerations and consider science and technology from the long-term perspective. However, we also believe that each legislative committee in the House and Senate that has jurisdiction over major segments of federal S&T activities should periodically, perhaps biennially, devote formal attention to more specific questions regarding long-term S&T goals in its area of responsibility. Congressional committees could ask the appropriate federal agencies and a full spectrum of responsible nongovernmental interests for their views on long-term S&T goals, hold hearings, and issue reports embodying the committees' conclusions. As the proposed Forum matures and gains public confidence, the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives may wish to develop mechanisms to use the Forum's output throughout congressional S&T policy-making activities. • In order to provide Congress with the information, analysis, and advice necessary to make policy decisions in this area, the Office of Technology Assessment and other congressional support agencies should evaluate national efforts to establish and achieve long-term science and technology goals in the context of societal goals. The support agencies should work with congressional committees to consider what kinds of analyses of long-term S&T goals would help inform their legislative agendas. OTA, in particular, should apply its well-tested assessment process to analyzing long-term S&T goals and the procedures by which federal agencies articulate and work toward their achievement. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), although it has limited responsibilities for S&T policy, has considerable expertise in economic analysis, which is an essential component of the goal-setting process. CBO should put its expertise to use in evaluating economic considerations with respect to long-range science and technology policy. More specifically, we believe that CBO and OTA should establish an ongoing coordinated activity designed to combine their strengths in analyzing economics and science and technology in order to evaluate goals and budget priorities for science and technology. Furthermore, because we believe that interactive linkages are the key to solving complicated problems, we suggest that OTA, with the cooperation of the other congressional support agencies, assist congressional committees and the congressional leadership in reviewing and evaluating the products of the Forum.
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Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals • The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) within the Executive Office of the President should actively contribute to the establishment of federal science and technology goals and should monitor the progress of departments and agencies in attaining these goals. Establishing long-term goals and communicating them to the federal agencies is a process that must be conducted separately from the annual budget process. With specific goals in mind, the agencies can create a budget that balances their vision of the future with the realities and constraints of the present. OSTP and OMB should communicate long-term S&T goals to departments and agencies before the beginning of the budget cycle each year. In addition, both OSTP and OMB should work with these departments and agencies throughout their budget-planning processes to assure that long-term S&T goals are considered and advanced in their internal policy-planning activities. OSTP should also monitor, critically evaluate, and report to the President and Congress on the progress of federal programs in achieving long-term S&T goals. In particular, OSTP should function as one liaison point between the National Forum and the Executive Branch. With OSTP leadership, the Federal Coordinating Council on Science, Engineering, and Technology (FCCSET) should extend its promising efforts in shaping long-term S&T goals involving more than one federal agency and emphasize the articulation of specific long-term goals through a more explicit planning process. Furthermore, the President's Council of Advisors for Science and Technology (PCAST) should play a more extensive role in guiding the goal-setting process within the Executive Office. • Federal departments and agencies should enhance their policy-making efforts, integrating considerations of long-term science and technology goals into annual budgeting and planning efforts. Federal agencies should enhance their strategic planning capabilities and develop explicit long-term S&T goals in the context of broader national goals established by Congress and the President. In order to do this, open communication and cooperation among the senior R&D administrators of departments and agencies should be encouraged. These individuals should meet periodically to discuss longer-term objectives and ways in which their work might contribute to or compete with broader goals and stated policies. If this approach proved effective, it could become a more formal step in the policy-making process. Furthermore, federal agencies should be required to present publicly each year an analysis of how their planned activities relate to their long-range S&T programs. Resource requirements to support the achievement of these goals should be incorporated into annual budget plans.
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Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals In addition, we recommend that federal agencies support extramural policy studies that can aid in developing and evaluating long-term S&T goals. The National Science Foundation (NSF) should develop and monitor indicators of the health and productivity of the science and technology enterprise and its contributions to societal goals. NSF should expand its competitive grants program in science and technology policy-making and work to involve scientists and engineers in the S&T goal-setting process. NSF, in conjunction with OSTP and other federal agencies, should establish continuing programs to develop the information base necessary to monitor progress in achieving long-term S&T goals. Furthermore, the National Science Board should assume greater responsibility for devising approaches to setting long-term goals with respect to the S&T base.
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