The event began with a warm welcome from Dr. Panchanathan, the Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), who celebrated the one-year anniversary of the CHIPS and Science Act. This landmark legislation has laid the foundation for transformative advancements in various dimensions of scientific exploration. Dr. Panch underscored the Act’s multifaceted impact, including scaling the TIP directorate programs, fortifying research security, and invigorating the scientific workforce. Dr. Panchanathan also highlighted the agency’s fiscal year 2024 budget status, with the Senate and House allocating $9.5 billion and $9.63 billion, respectively.
Following the director’s remarks, the NSB Panel, STEM Workforce Shortages Across the Federal Government, that features representatives from Department of Defense, Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Health and Human Services, presented on this challenge and possible solutions.
Following a break, NSF’s Office of International Science and Engineering laid out its strategic vision, initiatives, promising collaborative opportunities, and challenges. NSB’s External Engagement Committee also reported on its activities and the Science and Engineering Policy Committee gave an update on NSB’s Science & Engineering Indicators 2024 reports and on topics for potential NSB policy briefs.
The second day began with committee reports, including an update from the NSF-NSB Commission on Merit Review, led by Stephen Willard. The Commission, charged with evaluating potential revisions to NSF’s grant evaluation criteria, presented initial recommendations that are set to pave the way for enhanced assessment methodologies. Notably, officials from five federal agencies convened prior to the NSB meeting to share their individual grant-review criteria, emphasizing the collaborative essence of this evaluative process.
Additionally, the Regional Innovation Engines program unveiled the 16 finalists, handpicked from an impressive pool of 34 semifinalists, out of a total 188 concepts, revealed earlier in June.