Statement of Task

The Space Studies Board will conduct an independent assessment ofOSS's response to the 1998 R&DA report. Items to be addressed include the following:

  1. To what extent are R&DA being integrated into the OSS strategic plan and to what extentare decisions about the direction of R&DA being made with a viewtoward achieving the goals and objectives of the strategic plan?Issues to be considered may include efforts by OSS to

    • evaluate the impact of R&DA on progress toward the goals and objectives of the strategic plan,

    • link NASA research announcements to key scientific questions thatare related to the goals and objectives of the strategic plan,

    • evaluate the balance between the funding allocations for flight programsand the R&DA required to support those programs,

    • evaluate the balance among various sub-elements of R&DA,

    • use broadly based, independent scientific peer review panels to definesuitable metrics and review the office's internal evaluations ofbalance, and

    • maximize NASA's familiarity with contemporary advances and directions in scienceand technology in the process of managing R&DA, for example, viathe appropriate use of “rotators.”

  2. To what extent does OSS assess the state of the research infrastructureand use R&DA programs to address weaknesses in the infrastructurebase? Issues that may be considered include efforts by OSS to

    • assess the need and potential for acquiring and sustaining infrastructurein universities and field centers,

    • determine options for minimizing duplication of expensive researchfacilities,

    • evaluate the level of support for infrastructure in the context ofthe overall direction and plans for R&DA activities,

    • support partnering between universities and field centers,

    • provide for peer review and oversight of infrastructure investments,and

    • periodically assess the research infrastructure in universities andNASA field centers.

  3. To what extent does OSS examine the size and number of grants awardedto individual investigators to ensure that grant sizes are adequateto achieve the proposed research and that their number is consistentwith the time commitments of each investigator?

  4. To what extent does OSS asses and preserve a mix of university PIawards and non-university funding for the development of technologies,instruments, and facilities? Are these decisions made within theoffice's overall plan for R&DA activities?

  5. To what extent does OSS use training grants to ensure breadth ingraduate education and expand students' opportunities for employmentwithin or beyond NASA-funded sciences?

  6. To what extent does OSS use the extended records of its budgets andexpenditures as management tools to monitor the health of its R&A and DA programs?

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