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338 Using the mechanisms for interagency cooperation already in palce, the agencies should identify the mutual impact of new programs before those programs are initiated and take appropriate action. 1. Private and State Support for Astronomy. The Panel commends the successful efforts of institutions that have done well in this area. A number of state universities have been notably successful in obtaining funds specifically designated for astronomy from their state legislatures. Private institutions have also provided substantial support for astronomy; a number have been particularly successful in maintaining strong research programs in spite of the inroads of inflation. m. Reduced Administrative Burdens and Multiyear Funding. The Panel urges funding agencies to switch, as rapidly as possible, to longer-term (e.g., 3-year) funding of research projects, with reporting requirements reduced to submission of copies of published papers, annual reports, or both. The Panel further urges that simple mechanisms be instituted for consolidation of small projects from a single agency. II. MAINTENANCE OF SCIENTIFIC TALENT While astronomy is a physical science, in which hardware is used to determine objective facts concerning the Universe, astronomical research is carried out by people; and the quality, character, and social environment of these people, the astronomers, is an essential factor in the health of the astronomical enterprise. The OEP Panel therefore examined questions that pertain to the overall health and future of the profession of astronomy and made recommendations that have been endorsed by the Astronomy Survey Committee (ASC). m e issues that were examined were obtained from a wide variety of sources. On August 31, 1979, letters soliciting views on these issues, as well as additional concerns, were sent out to almost 200 institutions involved in astronomy. Forty responses, at varying levels of detail, were received. Also, 18 persons spontaneously wrote to the Panel or the ASC on specific issues; of these, 8 were invited to OEP Panel meetings, and 7 were able to attend. The members of the OEP Panel wrestled with a wide range of issues over a period of months. In most cases, the policy was adopted that unless a resolution could

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339 clearly be implemented in some foreseen way there was no point in making it. An exception was made with regard to the position of minorities, women, and dual-career couples in astronomy. Despite token efforts on these social questions over the last decade, the results fall far short of what is desirable. We see no easy way to ensure implementation of the desired changes, but we insist again on pointing out the problems. A major result of the work of the OEP Panel was the identification of one issue of crucial importance for the health of astronomy over the next decade: the maintenance of scientific talent. We discuss that issue in this sec- tion, reserving discussion of the other important issues for section III. m e anticipated sharp decline in the number of univer- sity undergraduates in the 1980's, coupled with an usually small number of faculty retirements over the same period, will cause a temporary but serious reduction in the number of assistant professors of astronomy that can be afforded by the universities. These fresh minds are crucial to healthy progress in astronomical research. The OEP Panel therefore recommends that urgent steps be taken toward maintaining the flow of excellent younger researchers into the university environment during the critical decade ahead. In particular, the Panel recommends that the Astronomy Division of the National Science Foundation initiate a program of "Astronomy Excellence Awards" to be funded at a level of 10 to 20 five-year positions annually, to be awarded to individuals on the basis of an open national competition. Each award should be for one half of an assistant-professor-level position and contingent on commitment of matching funds in the form of one half of a full-time employee (FTE), for the same period by a recog- nized university. It is anticipated that status and qualifications will be similar to those of regular faculty members at the host institutions and will include the improvements described below. The anticipated cost of this program, which we recommend as a new initiative, will be $500,000 to $1 million per year. It would gen- erate an equal amount of matching funds from universities on a short-term basis and also, the Panel believes, lead to the establishment of new, long-term positions in astronomy. The Panel furthermore encourages universities to respond to the anticipated interim problem of declining enrollments and fewer retirements by implementing mech-

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340 anisms that encourage early retirement of faculty, estab- lishing "parallel track" positions of high prestige, implementing "rolling tenure" where feasible, and per- mitting non-tenure-track scientists with appropriate qualifications to be Principal Investigators on contracts and grants. Unless this recommendation is implemented, there will develop a bimodal age distribution of astronomers: after one or more postdoctoral positions, young astronomers will be forced out of astronomy because of the lack of faculty openings. The median age of tenured faculty will increase, widening the age gap between them and the "postdocs" and students. The reason for the appearance of this gap is rooted in the simple demographic fact that in the United States there will be fewer and fewer 18 year aids in the years ahead (Figure 6.1). Unless the ratio of students to faculty is permitted to decrease, there will be essen- tially _ new tenure-track university positions. m e small number of expected retirements over the next decade exacerbates the problem. This number is small because of the large number of faculty appointments that were made in the mid-1960's (Figure 6.2): these people will not retire until after the year 2000. The problem is further exacerbated by the expected increase in faculty compulsory retirement age. The problem is illustrated vividly in Figure 6.3, which shows that faculty growth has stopped, that Assistant Professors are rare, and that the position of Lecturer has virtually ceased to exist. Figures 6.2 and 6.3 were taken from "Report to the Physics Advisory Committee by the Subcommittee on Job- Related Issues" (Peter Carruthers, Chairman), dated May 11, 1978. m is report was received by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advisory Committee for Physics, which stated: It is the opinion of the Advisory Committee for Physics that an emergency situation exists which threatens the viability of physics research in the U.S. The vitality of physics research--which has played such a major role in the industrial and technological development of this country--is seriously threatened. Unless dramatic measures are taken at this time to improve the opportunities for young people, U.S. physics which has been in the world leadership position for the past thirty

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341 5 - c o - E - ~n cat J 4 to a: LU co LL to al m 3 _ L I I I I I I \ \ \ \ \ / 1976 1980 1984 1988 YEAR 1992 1996 2000 FIGURE 6.1 Census projection of the number of 18 year olds, 1976-2000 (taken from the Report with Recommenda- tions of the Committee on Continuity in Academic Research Performance, National Research Council, 1979). The number of 18 year olds will drop dramatically in the immediate future. years is destined to become second-rate on the world scene. To deal with this "emergency situation," we propose two remedies: Astronomy Excellence Awards, being matching funds for faculty positions, and creation of parallel track positions of high prestige, with rolling tenure where feasible.

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~ 40 In o - c . _ c 20 o In 9~ a) Q . o z 1950 I I ~ \ 342 I ~'~Eorned ': doctorates / I ~ Projected \ I Junior faculty I V openings \/ 1 1990 960 1970 1980 Year FIGURE 6.2 Comparison of junior faculty openings with earned doctorates awarded, actual 1948-1973, projected 1974-1990. (Source: A. Cartter.) There will be few if any junior faculty openings over the next decade. Matching Funds for Faculty Positions. Since mech- anisms for hiring new faculty, for evaluating their progress in their careers, and for promoting them are well established at universities, no new institutional arrangements are required for this program. The impor tent contributions of young faculty to the health of research will be maintained under this program. What is true, however, is that the commitment of universities to hire people into genuine tenure-track positions under this program will need to be carefully monitored. - Senior Research Associate Positions. _ Some institu-_ Lions have established senior research associate posi- tions--positions that have some degree of employment security beyond that of a postdoctoral position--that fall short of the great security that is provided by This method for channeling support through universities depends critically on the ability of universities to develop guidelines that will make the positions sufficently attractive that they are competi- tive with industry and with National Astronomy Center positions. Research "nonfaculty" are in the long run more cost- effective than a sequence of short-term postdoctoral researchers. Research associates gain the expertise to academic tenure.

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343 be able to contribute consistently to a particular program and do not spend a substantial portion of their term of appointment in seeking the next job. Such positions can attract outstanding scientists. The existence of a pool of experienced astronomers may also be useful in the 1990's when the projected demand for astronomy faculty will exceed the supply. The number of astronomers employed in non-tenure-track positions has increased substantially in recent years, while the number of faculty positions has stabilized (see below). Of the approximately 300 persons in this category in 1979-1980 (exclusive of the traditional postdoctoral recipients), only roughly 60 have some degree of security. We have specified our proposed program for matching funds for faculty positions as a new initiative, one ID cat .= 2.0 - . _ o - a) ret - 1.5 o - - o a, .~ 1.0 0.5 / ~ OCR for page 338
344 which would involve fresh federal funding. The parallel- track positions, we believe, should be funded through redirection of present funding. Clearly, a price must be paid if such positions are to become more widespread, as we believe they should. The price includes a decrease in the number of traditional postdoctoral positions. But the advantages, we believe, greatly outweigh the disadvantages. First, universities will then have available, on a stable basis, the equiva- lent of the assistant professors, beyond those provided by the matching funds program, that cannot now be hired for economic, and essentially demographic, reasons. Rolling tenure can ensure that these persons have some opportunity to gain the benefits of teaching. This in turn assures that when there is a demographic shift-- and, in the 1990's, when there is again a need for replacement of, or perhaps even an increase in, teaching faculty--the mistakes of the past are not repeated and a new surplus of assistant professors is not introduced into the system. Such a sudden demand for new faculty could lead to a too rapid promotion of faculty who may not be as qualified as they should be. Instead, parallel-track persons, of a wide range of ages, can be transferred to tenured positions. The instability will be damped out. Creation of parallel-track positions improves the competitive position of universities for obtaining first- rate researchers and students. True, the few (even with the matching funds program) available tenure-track positions may bring the very best to the universities, but increasingly, excellent young astronomers will be attracted by the research opportunities, job security, and salary of government laboratories, federally funded research and development centers, and industry, both within and outside astronomy. Under our plan, the reduced number of standard postdoctoral positions will tend to sift out the less qualified at a relatively early stage. Responses to our survey of departments indicate that smaller proportions of the best students are entering graduate astronomy programs than in the previous decade. This decrease in the quality of students is attributed in part to the uncertainty of the job situation. Our recom- mendations may help to change this perspective and once again attract a reasonable fraction of the top minds into astronomy. Finally, the reduction in the appointment of new faculty threatens to postpone the increased participation of women and minorities in astronomy at universities.

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345 There are real dangers for the future of research at universities unless steps such as these recommended are taken. Universities and government funding agencies must respond to these dangers with innovative policies. The matching-funds program that is needed to help deal with this situation is fairly costly--fully comparable with a hardware new start. We therefore look at matters more closely. Our survey of the flow of people through the astronomi- cal pipeline (see below) indicates that the following annual rates of inflow into permanent positions occurred in the 1970's: (a) 13 into positions in government laboratories (e.g., Goddard Space Flight Center) IS into positions in federally funded research and development centers (FFRDC's, e.g., Kitt Peak National Observatory) 3 into industry 10 overseas 30 into permanent, tenured academic positions 71 into permanent jobs (sum of above numbers) (b) 30 into increasing the pool of temporarily employed astronomers, some of whom could find long-term satisfaction in suitably formalized situations (c) 50 leaving astronomy. What will happen in the 1980's? Details to be provided in later sections are summarized here. The annual flow of astronomers into academic positions (30 in the 1970's) will dwindle away to a mere trickle as the "baby bust" of the 1960's works its way through the educational pipeline. It is hard to imagine that the annual flow of 28 into government and FFRDC positions can continue indefinitely, though projections are uncertain. However, the focus of our recommendation here is on academia, and in Particular on the shortage of vouna faculty . ~ _ _ _ , _ , - In the 1980's there will be fewer 18-21 year olds than in the 1970's. With the drop in the number of students, the number of college faculty members will shrink, rather than grow as it did during the 1960's and 1970's. The difficulties of the 1970's stemmed from a slowing of the growth rate rather than an actual shrinkage such as that which will occur between now and the end of the century. Projecting the impact of such a global phenomenon on the

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346 tiny discipline of astronomy is difficult, but surely it would be folly to expect astronomy to be exempt from the hardships that academe as a whole will face. Astronomy may in fact be particularly hard hit, because the popu- lation of astronomers is dominated by those who received their Ph.D. degree since 1970. The only Member Society of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) besides the American Astronomical Society (AAS) for which this occurs is the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (Porter, 1980). Fewer astronomers are within a decade of retirement than persons in any discipline studied by the National Research Council's Commission on Human Resources (1979), which developed a parallel recommendation for physics and mathematics. Simple models argue that the shrinkage in needed faculty positions will exceed replace- ment positions in academia, leading to a possible net negative demand if departments and colleges close (as some have done). The few positions that may open in demographically favored state universities and highly competitive universities will represent a very small fraction of the Ph.D.'s being produced. m is situation will eventually reverse itself, as the children of those born in the post-World War II baby boom grow up and go to college. Further, the post-Sputnik generation of astronomers, a numerous group, will begin to retire in greater numbers in the 1990's. Faculty positions will open up: simple projections indicate a rate as high as 50 per year in the mid to late 1990's. Who will fill them? Who will go to graduate school in astronomy in the 1980's, with Ph.D. astronomers unable to find jobs in their field? We need a reservoir of experi- enced talent to draw on. We believe that a program that places a significant number of people--say, 20 per year--into long-term matching-funds and grant-supported positions in academia is essential to damp out the fluctuations that demography threatens to impose on us. Such a program, continued through the 1980's, would produce a pool of 200 young faculty in academia by 1990. Without such a program, the pool of young faculty would be far smaller, 40-50 at most. A pool of 200 would constitute roughly 10% of the population of academic astronomers--a fraction less than desirable, but significantly better than zero. This pool would begin to be depleted in the mid-l990's and, using our projections of 50 faculty positions per year in the late 1990's, would be depleted in a decade by filling 60% of the faculty positions, if faculty positions were the -

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347 only outlet for the grant-supported members of the pool. Further, without the existence of such positions, profes- sional employment in astronomy would cease to be a real- istic goal, and the high-quality talent will migrate elsewhere. In order to estimate the cost of the proposed program, let us take the number of 20 positions per year and assume that this program must extend until 1995, when there is a demographic shift (assuming people retire at 70); that is, the program ideally should last for 15 years. Let us fur- ther make the highly pessimistic assumption that no one from this pool is hired into permanent positions until 1995, at which time the pool is depleted at the rate of 30 per year, to vanish by 2005. Such a model presumes an abrupt turnaround in the enrollment situation in 1995 and is clearly an oversimplification. We calculate the cost of this new program below, keeping in mind possible sav- ings arising from a depletion of the pool of people em- ployed in temporary positions. Let us assume that the annual cost of supporting a person in a senior research position is $m X 104: we estimate that, for salary alone, m = 2; for salary plus overhead, m = 3. For salary, overhead, and equipment, m could be substantially larger. Annual Cumulative Cumulative Cost Cost Cumulative Number (millions (millions Cost for of People of 1980 of 1980 m = 3 Year in Pool dollars) dollars) ($millions) 1980 0 0 0 0 1985 100 _ 2.5m 7.5 1990 200 2_ lO.Om 30 1995 300 am 22.5m 67.5 2000 150 1.5_ 33.75m 100 2005 0 0 37.5m 112 The average annual cost of this program is thus of the order of $6 million, assuming that only salary plus over- head is provided (m = 2 case).

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348 What should a real, rather than an ideal, program be? We propose that the matching-funds program for the 1980's should be one with m = 2 (and hence cost $20 million for the decade) but should be based on equal cost-sharing by the universities, resulting in a proposed cost to the federal government of $10 million for the decade. The parallel-track program to supplement this must emerge from experience in re-directing funding. Other countries facing similar demographic problems have developed remedies similar to the ones we propose. In Canada, a scheme has already been implemented in which a university identifies a potential new staff member and can then apply for a grant to cover that person's salary for a 5-year period. It is anticipated that a substantial fraction of those hired for a 5-year period will be re- hired under this program for an additional 5-year period. In Germany, a program for the 12 major research centers outside the universities is in the process of being imple- mented at the level of 175 positions per year (Walgate, 1980). Another similar program, under discussion at the German Ministry of Universities, would create more junior university positions. Our proposal is, then, in line with the thinking of other groups concerned with this vitally important problem. The OEP Panel considered, and rejected (for reasons described below) two additional employment mechanisms: expanded postdoctoral fellowships and substantial expan- sion of the National Astronomy Centers and National Laboratories. Expanded Postdoctoral Fellowships: This mechanism was actually introduced in the 1970's and has produced a situ- ation in which astronomers often go from one postdoctoral position to another, in an often fruitless search for a stable position. Expanded support of postdocs was a nat- ural short-range response to the manpower problem; it was necessary to keep recent Ph.D.'s in the field and util- ized an existing mechanism to do so. However, a succes- sion of postdoctoral positions is not an attractive career path for the best scientists. mere are two principal reasons: 1. Postdoctoral recipients are in their early and mid 30's. In her follow-up study of postdoctoral recipients, Porter notes that at this age, "personal factors, concerns about spouses, children, and overall life style begin to loom in importance. . . . Only 5% of this group of 808 physicists [who were postdocs in 1973 and responded in

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349 1977 to a follow-up study] stated that they would be now willing to take another postdoctoral position" (Porter, 1980). The comments of people responding to the survey support this attitude (Porter, 1980, pp. 180-192). If a pattern of 5-10 years of postdoctoral work in a sequence of temporary positions becomes the norm, we doubt that astronomy will be attractive to high-caliber students. Only 23% of those who were postdoctoral recipients in 1977-1979 had found permanent employment 2 years later; a sequence of temporary positions may well be the norm in the 1980's if no institutional changes take place. 2. The Commission on Human Resources report (1979, pp. 55-70) listed ways in which young faculty contribute to the health and vitality of a department: they initiate new research programs, open up new fields, introduce the department to new techniques and methodologies, and serve as role models for graduate students. Can postdoctoral recipients accomplish the same things? To some extent, yes; but postdoctoral recipients cannot usually initiate new research programs, since they are generally hired as part of the research program of an existing department member. The Commission on Human Resources (1979) further noted (pp. 63, 65) the important role of mentors in the research-training process; we doubt that postdoctoral recipients, especially those on their second, third, or fourth postdoctoral appointment, are good mentors or role models. Expansion of National Astronomy Centers or National Laboratories: The primary disadvantage of this approach is that it makes no direct contribution to the vitality of university astronomy programs. At present, 58% of astronomers are employed in academia, and it is clearly beneficial to the field to have those astronomers working in renewed, intellectually stimulating departments. An additional problem with using the National Centers as the vehicle for stable positions is the question of balance. m e field as a whole needs a reasonable balance between the different subfields of astronomy and between various research orientations (observer, modeler/data analyst, theorist, and instrument builder). Channeling all the growth to a very few institutions could upset this bal- ance if care were not taken. Of course, if universities prove to be incapable of generating ways to develop professionally rewarding, stable positions supported by federal funds, an expansion of the National Centers or National Laboratories would be a reasonable way to cope with the manpower problem of the