The National Science Board (NSB) met for the 484th meeting on May 9th and 10th. NSB Chairman, Dr. Dan Reed, University of Utah welcomed attendees, reviewed the two-day agenda, and provided several updates since the previous meeting.
In his report, National Science Foundation Director, Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan (Panch) shared his appreciation for the President’s budget request for FY 2024, $11.8 Billion and being included in a White House budget release event (FABBS also got an invite!) as well as important opportunities to testify in front of Congressional committees. FABBS members might be interested to know that whenever Dr. Panch discusses increases to the NSF budget, he is sure to anchor his comments in three key areas: Strengthening Established NSF; Inspiring Missing Millions; Accelerating Technology and Innovation.
NSF staff from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) shared highlights from their Diversity and STEM: Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities 2023 Report including: The size of the STEM workforce grew between 2011 and 2021 for all sex, racial, ethnic, and disability groups and has been gradually diversifying, with increasing representation of women and underrepresented minorities. See the FABBS newsletter here.
Day two of the meeting featured a series of updates and reports including from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Inside NSF, the OIG is an independent office whose role is to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness. The office works to prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse in agency programs and operations.
- Committee on External Engagement – The primary charge is to build domestic talent. NSB member and education research Dr. Deborah Ball encouraged the committee to consider students who might be ‘pushed out’ of STEM pathways in addition to those lacking access. STEM Talent Engagement Plan and Science and Engineering 2024 Engagement Plan.
- Committee on Oversight, approval of Overview to the Merit Review Digest.
- NSB-NSF Merit Review Commission Report. Dr. Wanda Ward serves as Vice Chair. The committee was established in February to ensure a fair, in depth, transparent process for reviewing grant proposals aligned with agency goals. They are looking at policies, implementation, and accountability including for review criteria for intellectual merit and broader impacts. Recommendations are due to the full Board in May 2024.
Working Group Reports
- Socioeconomic Status – Among her recommendations, working group chair Dr. Julia Phillips, raised the importance of looking at intersectionality of multiple demographic categories, a point that FABBS has made in numerous comments to NSF.
- Exploring STEM K-12 Education (ESKE) – The working group focused on two areas: Supporting STEM teachers through pre-service, fellowships, professional development and the need to translate research and knowledge to improvements in teaching and learning. (See ”Supporting Knowledge Mobilization for preK-12 and Informal Learning”) .
Nominations for the National Science Board are currently being accepted, learn more about eligibility requirements and the process here.