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Budget and Portfolio To provide guidance about future directions for the Arctic Natural Sciences program (ANS), the committee examined the budget and portfolio of the current program and considered its history to gain perspective on scope, strengths, and weaknesses. According to the most current data available when this report was being written, the ANS program has an overall budget of just over $10 million (Table 2- 1~. According to Office of Polar Programs estimates, the Arctic Sciences Section and Antarctic Sciences Section receive about the same base funding: just over $30.5 million. A key difference is that the Arctic Section's $30.5 million in- cludes all logistics costs, whereas antarctic science is supported by a separate logistics section, the Polar Research Support Section, which has a total budget of about $162.4 million. (It is difficult to determine how much of this directly supports research compared to the other goals related to the U.S. presence in the Antarctic.) The difference in logistics support and the many debates surrounding equity of support at the two poles is beyond the scope of this study, but the committee heard repeated concerns about this issue during our outreach activities an indication that some serious attention is merited. The ANS budget of approximately $10 million seems adequate in light of the number of proposals being received (the "proposal pressure"), and the funds appear to have been allocated effectively during these first start-up years. The ANS base budget is enhanced by contributions from other National Science Foundation programs, where there is overlap of interests and a decision is made to seek joint funding. Contributions from other programs to ANS amounted to about $3.1 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 1997 (Figure 2-1~. Of this, 62 percent was 13

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14 FUTURE DIRECTIONS FOR NSF'S ARCTIC NATURAL SCIENCES PROGRAM TABLE 2-1 OPP Operating Accounts, FY 1997 Plan OPP Front Office $851,000 Arctic Sciences Section Arctic Research & Policy Support General Arctic Research Support Arctic Logistics Arctic System Science Arctic Social Sciences Arctic Information & Advisory Arctic Research Commission Arctic Natural Sciences Academic Research Infrastructure Polar Research Support Section Science Support Operations & Science Support Logistical Support Environmental Coordination Activities Antarctic Sciences Section Antarctic Environmental Research Antarctic Biology & Medicine Antarctic Geology & Geophysics Antarctic Oceans & Climate Systems Antarctic Aeronomy & Astrophysics Antarctic Glaciology Antarctic Coordination & Information Science & Technology Center Academic Research Infrastructure Total 263,764 414,965 2,831,272 13,564,292 1,406,953 100,000 500,000 10,316,154 1~200~000 30,597,400 4,607,497 94,622,387 62,600,000 565~000 162,394,884 459,820 7,174,523 5,269,689 4,420,000 3,064,073 4,247,233 590,998 3,929,093 1~200~000 30,355,429 $224,226,790 SOURCE: NSF, 1997a. contributed from "initiatives," cross-directorate programs such as Life in Ex- treme Environments, Major Research Instrumentation (MRI), and the Plasma Physics joint initiative with the Department of Energy. Some of these are special one-year initiatives, such as the Plasma Physics initiative; others, such as MRI, last for many years. Other areas of NSF also contribute funds to support ANS projects when their interests overlap, including 18 percent from other programs within OPP, 11 percent from the Atmospheric Sciences Division, 6 percent from the Engineering Directorate, and 3 percent from the Ocean Sciences Division. In reverse, the dollars given by ANS to other NSF programs was $248,000; this was

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16 FUTURE DIRECTIONS FOR NSF'S ARCTIC NATURAL SCIENCES PROGRAM about evenly divided among OPP, Ocean Sciences, and Atmospheric Sciences, with smaller contributions to the Earth Sciences and the Environmental Biology Divisions. Since its first year of awards in FY 1996, the ANS program has received 227 proposals: 87 in FY 1996 and 140 in FY 1997.i Thirty-four proposals were funded in FY 1996, a success rate of 39 percent. In FY 1997, 45 proposals were funded, a success rate of 32 percent. As best as can be estimated, before the Arctic Section was created the arctic portion of the combined antarctic/arctic budget devoted to areas now covered by the ANS program was about $8.6 mil- lion. In 1997, the second year of the ANS program, its budget grew to $10.3 million. A few words of caution are needed regarding the data presented in this chapter and elsewhere in the report. First, the ANS program does not actually allocate funds by discipline, and all the breakdowns shown are approximate. The committee requested information from ANS staff to help us understand the nature and scope of the program, and we asked that this be provided by discipline so we could compare it to data before 1996 when arctic proposals were handled by the Antarctic's disciplinary programs. The data used, however, are not perfectly parallel. In fact, they show two different characterizations one matching the old disciplinary programs pre-1996 and a variation provided by ANS staff that includes biological oceanography as a separate category because that is a signifi- cant component of ANS activities. The committee had no way to reconcile these different categorizations nor to confirm that proposals were counted in the appro- priate disciplinary category. Second, because the program has existed for only two years, the available data sets are quite small, and the specific numbers cited should not be given too much credence. Also, it proved to be fairly difficult for staff to develop summary data, indicating that recordkeeping and analysis have been limited during the program start-up period. Similarly, changes indicated by program data over the two years cannot be interpreted as significant; where we point out changes, we do so in hopes of identifying potential issues to be watched in the future. Given these caveats, Table 2-2 summarizes the program in FY 1994 and FY {All program data were provided by OPP staff and are current as of March 1998; to limit our analysis to materials we had an opportunity to discuss face-to-face, the committee did not consider new materials after this date. Because 1996 was a transition year, our analysis focuses on 1995 as representative of "pre-ANS" data and generally treats 1997 as the first full year of ANS data. We have not attempted to update data if new information became available after the committee's final meeting. For informational purposes, note that 130 proposals were received for FY 1998 consider- ation, with 23 expected to be funded; this is a success rate of 18 percent, a sizable drop from earlier years. Because this occurred after the committee's final meeting, we are not able to offer insights about the reasons for the change.

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18 FUTURE DIRECTIONS FOR NSF'S ARCTIC NATURAL SCIENCES PROGRAM 1995 (when arctic research was covered by the antarctic disciplinary programs) and in FY 1997, showing the amount spent and percentage of total funds allo- cated by discipline. The table indicates that, in general, the proportion of funds allocated by discipline has remained fairly constant despite the changeover in program organization. The greatest relative change in funding was in glaciology, which declined from 26 percent of the budget in FY 1995 to 15 percent in FY 1997. Biology increased its share of the budget, rising from 28 to 31 percent over the penod. Funding shares for proposals in geology and geophysics and in aeronomy and astrophysics also rose (from 16 to 19 percent and from 12 to 15 percent, respectively). Table 2-3 shows the average award size, number of awards in 1997, and percentage of total awards made per discipline. Note that a single large award to an important multidimensional ecology initiative (more than $1 millions skews the data in favor of biology. If this award is taken out of the calculation, the average grant size becomes about $130,000. There is considerable variability in the average awards by discipline, ranging from about $64,000 per grant (miscel- laneous) to as high as $194,000 (biology/medicine). Two disciplines receive about $123,000 and two receive just over $80,000 per grant. Although these variations are interesting, the shortness of the program's history makes it impos- sible to know if they are significant. Table 2-4 shows the number of proposals received by discipline, the percent this is of the total received (140), the number and percent actually awarded, the percent of successful proposals per discipline, the percent of total funds allocated by discipline, and a ratio calculated to indicate the percentage of proposals re- ceived in each discipline to the percent awarded in that discipline. A ratio of close to 1 indicates general agreement between percentage submitted and percentage accepted. For example, glaciology proposals made up 11 percent of the total proposals received by ANS in FY1997 and was the subject of 12 percent of the awards made, for a ratio of 1.09; this example shows a close relationship between TABLE 2-3 Details of Awards Made, FY 1997 Average Award Number ofPercent of Total Awards Discipline Size ($) Awardsby Discipline (%) Biology/medicine 194,277 1227 Oceans/meteorology 82,222 1227 Glaciology 123,491 613 Geology/geophysics 85,109 510 Aeronomy/astrophysics 123,962 818 Miscellaneous 63,881 25 Overall program 124,532 45100 SOURCE: NSF, 1997a.

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20 FUTURE DIRECTIONS FOR NSF'S ARCTIC NATURAL SCIENCES PROGRAM proposals received in a discipline and awards made by the program. Biological oceanography proposals, on the other hand, made up 16 percent of the total proposals received but were the subject of 25 percent of the awards made, for a somewhat high ratio of 1.56. Another way to look at this is by success rate: biological oceanography proposals had a success rate of 48 percent, which is higher than the average ANS success rate of 31 percent. The relatively high rate of success may be associated with the high quality of proposals submitted under the auspices of the North Open Water (NOW) project, which has a rigorous procedure for developing proposals aimed at the biological importance of polyn- yas in the Arctic, or other such coordinated efforts which the committee cannot determine from the information available. Table 2-4 also shows Biology and Geology/Geophysics are slightly skewed (both have ratios of percent awards made to percent proposed of 0.71~. The individual numbers in this analysis may not be meaningful, because of our lim ited data, but they would be if this were a trend that continued. The percent of funding for the new projects is in the final column of Table 2-4. Almost 50 percent of the total new dollars is going to biology. Again, this is skewed by one large project, which is acceptable within the ANS program and in fact is likely to occur periodically given the ANS program's mission. But even accounting for the decision to fund one large project in any field, care must be taken that over time such decisions do not diminish opportunities in other disciplines. The goal is not absolute equality in numbers of proposals or money awarded, but equity or fairness in a broader sense, perhaps as typified in the allocations originally "given" to ANS by the old disciplinary entities (Table 2-2) and as influenced by proposal pressures, priorities determined through specific strategic thinking, leveraging funds important to international activities, and careful decisions to fund occa- sional large, complex proposals that clearly fit the ANS mission. Regarding the percent of successful proposals, as shown in Table 2-4, the committee notes that proposal pressure alone is no indication of quality, and low acceptance rates should not be misinterpreted as a sign of quality. Rather, ex- tremely low acceptance rates indicate that something is amiss in the program and leads to the wasting of researchers' time as they prepare proposals that ultimately have little likelihood of success. An acceptance rate in the 30 percent range, as was typical of the ANS program in its first two years, seems adequate. Signifi- cant drops might be indicators of potential problems or imbalances between new and carry-over projects and should spark oversight from the Arctic Section Head. Regarding quality, it is too soon in the program' s history to determine number of peer-reviewed publications that have resulted from the grants or otherwise try to evaluate the impact of the grants, but this issue should be considered with care as the program matures and builds a record of completed projects.