From: Executive Summary of “Supporting Research and Data Analysis in NASA's Science Programs”, prepared by the Space Studies Board, 1998

The Recommendations are shown in 12-pt BOLD, like this.

NASA/OSS Response is showm indented, like this.


Principles for Strategic Planning

Finding: The task group finds that R&DA is not always thoroughly and explicitly integrated into the NASA enterprise strategic plans and that not all decisions aboutthe direction of R&DA are made with a view toward achieving the goals of the strategies. The taskgroup examined the trend and balance of R&DA budgets and found alarming results (Chapter 4, Sections 5.1 and5.3); it questions whether these results are what NASA intends.

Recommendation 1: The task group recommends that each science programoffice at NASA do the following:

1a) Regularly evaluate the impact of R&DA on progress toward the goals of the strategic plans.

1b) Link NASA research announcements (NRAs) to addressing key scientificquestions that can be related to the goals of these strategic plans.

For the “R” portion of R&DA: The Office of Space Science (OSS) has used strategic goals and objectives in making manyresearch program decisions. For example, the need for biomarkersfor Astrobiology research determined the selection of two of themembers of NASA's Astrobiology Institute. OSS has also initiateda process of triannual evaluations of the Research (SR&T) programsin relation to the OSS Strategic Plan. This process will includeindependent outside review of the SR&T programs, assessing the performanceof various SR&T programs towards the goals of the OSS strategic plan,beginning in mid-2001. Furthermore, beginning with the late CY2000SR&T NASA Research Announcements (NRAs), all future NRAs will containexplicit prioritization criteria with respect to the goals and objectivesin the OSS Strategic Plan.

When OSS shapes new space science initiatives to address strategicscience questions, the resulting requests include not only missiondevelopment, but also supporting research (“R”) and mission data analysis(“DA”) programs. An example is the “Living With a Star” initiative, which explicitly includes development, research, anddata analysis components.

For “DA”, data analysis for operating missions: For major missions in theirprime phase, the OSS Strategic Planning process provides the balanceand relevance test with respect to the OSS strategic goals and objectives. In Astrophysics and Space Physics,OSS already has an established process for regular assessment ofDA programs in relation to the goals and priorities of the OSS StrategicPlan. A similar review process of planetary missions began in July2000; again, relevance to the OSS Strategic Plan is the highest-prioritycriterion.

1c) Regularly evaluate the balance between the funding allocationsfor flight programs and the R&DA required to support those programs (e.g., assess whether the currentprogram can support R&DA for the International Space Station).

First of all, we assume that the “International Space Station” comment does not apply to OSS.

This recommendation calls for balance evaluation among three—traditionally separate—elements of the OSS program: development (“DEV”) of flight programs, “R” and “DA”.

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