of the science and engineering community. Rather than trying to find competitors for NSF, we should be careful in making sure that the welfare of science and research is not just for NSF. It is for the world. So, NSF has to think about its mission first in terms of those types of goals and the goals of science for both national and international objectives, rather than trying to find a competitor.
DR. McTAGUE: I could not disagree with you more, and let me explain why. First, from a crass point of view, NSF is a competitor and it is competing. If it does not want to compete, it is going to die. It is going to die, first of all, fiscally. If it does not convince the congressional appropriations committees that its support of research has importance alongside the support that those same committees give to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), it will not get the funding. A dollar that goes to NASA is a dollar that does not go to NSF. It is that simple. It goes through exactly the same committees. If it does not compete for the advanced research budget in the government, it will not get that budget. That is very, very clear. You can say that you do not like to compete or that we are above competition, but you are not above competition.
The second point has to do with other forms of competition. NSF surely, when it supports nuclear physics, wants to make sure it is supporting the very best possible nuclear physics. It does not want just to be a part of the world pool of nuclear physics. It wants to support the very best nuclear physics that it can support, or the very best in other fields of research that it can support. It is competing with others as a benchmark. Is our support of oceanography as good as Japan's support of oceanography, for example? It has to take a look at that.
DR. SANKEY: That is exactly the point I am trying to make. Sure, NSF is competing with NASA, the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Department of Defense (DOD) for support, but these agencies need to talk together and emphasize their differentiation of missions. I do not think NSF's mission is the same as DOD's, NASA's, or DOE's, and I do not think that they are competing for the same dollars. Politically speaking, perhaps, they are.
DR. VERMONT: Again, this is more a comment. My name is George Vermont and I am with the Office of Science and Technology Policy. But before you hold that against me, I was a research director in the chemical industry for about 35 years. I just want to follow up on a comment that was made about taking industrial metrics and rearranging them to measure fundamental research. A committee of the Industrial Research Institute, chaired by Bob Wood, has a list of some 50 or 55 metrics now that are used to measure industrial R&D. I have looked at those and I think most of them, if you have some creative people, could be adapted to fundamental science. I think that it is very important for people to start looking at some of these and to try to adjust them for nonindustrial R&D.
DR. McTAGUE: But it is important that they not be imposed. One thing that must be learned about metrics and goals is that everybody has to accept them; otherwise, all you will do with them is measure failure.
DR. VERMONT: Well, there is another philosophy, and that is that if you cannot measure it, you probably cannot approve it.
DR. McTAGUE: But the measurement, as Erich Bloch pointed out, is not necessarily a number. Almost everything that is measurable by numbers is fairly trivial.