broad funding support and congressional interest that many of these programs have experienced reflects, in part, their perceived value for national or international policy-making. The importance of these questions to policymakers is evident in the increased funds provided by Congress either directly to basic ocean research through grants provided by the NSF or through financial support or cooperative efforts involving a number of agencies. Boxes 2-1 through 2-4 provide specific examples of how major programs support the diverse missions of the federal agencies who sponsor them. Although there were instances where the significance of the studies for policy-making rather than their intrinsic scientific value may have led to the increased availability of funds and facilities, it is impossible to determine exactly how much of major program funding has originated as a unique response to interest from policymakers. However, it is reasonable to assume that the clearly articulated goals and themes of large initiatives provide credible arguments for NSF/OCE and other agency administrators when requesting additional funds to support relevant research in the ocean sciences.
NSF/OCE plays a dominant role in funding basic ocean research and in the majority of ongoing major ocean programs. Consequently, the sponsors of the study and the committee agreed to focus on NSF/OCE involvement in the programs. The NSF/OCE consists of two sections: the Oceanographic Centers and Facilities Section (OCFS) and the Ocean Sciences Research Section (OSRS)4 OCFS supports operation, acquisition, construction, and conversion of major shared-use oceanographic facilities needed to carry out oceanographic research programs. Within OCFS is the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP), which provides for the operation and maintenance of the ocean drilling ship JOIDES Resolution, and provides funds to conduct research related to drilling programs. The Ship Operations Program funds operation and maintenance of research vessels and submersibles used by NSF-funded scientists.
OSRS programs fund projects dealing with disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies of biological, geological, physical, and chemical processes in the ocean and ocean technology. Thus, individual research proposals, whether submitted by scientists participating in a major oceanographic program or not, are reviewed and (if warranted) funded through OSRS programs.
The OSRS core programs include the four basic ocean science disciplines. Marine Geology and Geophysics supports research on all aspects of geology and geophysics of the ocean basins and margins. Chemical Oceanography supports research on the composition and chemical properties of seawater and the chemical processes related to the biology and geology of the marine environment.
http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/1997/nsf97134/nsf97134.htm, June 2, 1998