TWELVTH PLENARY SESSION
MARCH 5-6, 1998
WHITE HOUSE CONFERENCE CENTER
726 JACKSON PLACE, NW
OPEN SESSION -- 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM March 5; 9:00 AM - 11:10 AM March 6
PCAST Members: John A. Young (Co-Chair); John H. Gibbons (Co-Chair); Norman R. Augustine; Francisco J. Ayala; John P. Holdren; Diana MacArthur; Shirley M. Malcom; Mario J. Molina; Peter H. Raven; Sally K. Ride; Charles A. Sanders; Virginia V. Weldon; Lilian Shiao-Yen Wu.
Staff: Arthur Bienenstock; Rosina Bierbaum; Kerri-Ann Jones; Duncan Moore; Yolanda Comedy.
Public Attendance: Approximately 30 members of the public, including the press, were present.
Dr. Gibbons opened the meeting at 9 AM March 5. Mr. Young welcomed the participants and noted that this was Dr. Gibbons's last meeting as co-chair (since he would be retiring April 3).
Briefings on the Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS)
Mary Frase, Senior Technical Advisor, Data Development and Longitudinal Studies Group, National Center for Education Statistics, and Larry Suter, Deputy Division Director, National Science Foundation (NSF), briefed the Committee on the results of the TIMSS high school tests. Details of the briefings and the following discussion are available in the meeting transcript; handouts describing the study and the results are also available.
Briefing on the NSF-DoED Action Strategy for Improving Mathematics and Science
Judy Sunley, Assistant to the Director, NSF, briefed the Committee on the final report of the NSF-DoED working group. Details of the briefings and the following discussion are available in the meeting transcript.
Briefings on the Administration's FY 1999 Research and Development Budget
Franklin Raines, Director, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), accompanied by T.J. Glauthier, Associate Director for Natural Resources, Energy, and Science, OMB, briefed the Committee on the Administration's FY 1999 R&D budget. Al Teich, Director, Science Policy Programs, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), accompanied by Steve Nelson and Kei Koizumi of his staff, then analyzed the budget request for the Committee. Details of the briefings and the following discussion are available in the meeting transcript.
Report from the PCAST Education Panel
Dr. Malcom reported on the Education Panel's activities in 6 areas: 1) preparation of a background paper on implementation of the Shaw report that will identify target areas for spending experimental research funds on and options for managing the research programs; 2) review of NSF/ED action plan (reviewed, above, by Sunley); 3) review of new initiatives and comment about relative importance (e.g., action on the TIMSS results); 4) review of the National Science and Technology Council's (NSTC) ongoing universities study; 5) women and minorities in science and technology; and 6) review of NSTC's human resources policy document. Details of the report and the following discussion are available in the meeting transcript.
Briefing on the Administration's Clean Water Initiative
Kathleen McGinty, Chair, Council on Environmental Quality, briefed the Committee on the Administration's Clean Water Initiative and also discussed policies on climate change and forest management. Details of the briefings and the following discussion are available in the meeting transcript; a handout describing the clean water initiative is also available.
PCAST Discussion of Potential Projects for 1998-1999
Members of PCAST and OSTP staff discussed feedback on recent PCAST reports and opportunities for new work in the coming months.
Dr. Raven and Dr. Bierbaum reported on the release of the PCAST report, Teaming with Life, at the AAAS meeting in February and subsequent briefings for members of Congress and their staff. Dr. Raven suggested PCAST might do additional work to specify the meaning of National Biological Information Infrastructure Phase II and also to popularize and explain the concept of biodiversity.
Dr. Jones suggested that PCAST establish a panel on security to address continuing and emerging issues, with an initial emphasis on R&D on protection of critical infrastructure and on follow-up to the Holdren-Velikov report of June 1997.
Dr. Holdren discussed the response to PCAST's report on energy R&D, including the Administration's Climate Change Technology Initiative, which incorporated about 70 percent of the PCAST recommended spending. He identified two possible areas for additional work by PCAST: 1) work focused on a longer timeframe; and 2) work on the international dimensions of energy R&D.
Dr. Weldon and Dr. Bierbaum discussed their preliminary efforts to establish a scope of work for PCAST in the area of public understanding of science and technology. Dr. Sanders endorsed an effort to identify and publicize human interest stories. Mr. Young suggested enlisting the support of corporations and their advertising agencies. Dr. Malcom suggested the possibility of a joint effort with AAAS.
PCAST took no action on these recommendations at this meeting.
Briefing on the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection (CCIP)
Tom Marsh, who chaired the Commission, briefed the Committee on the CCIP's findings and recommendations. Details of the briefings and the following discussion are available in the meeting transcript.
Bob Stern, consultant in technology management, spoke to the Committee. Details of his comments and the following discussion are available in the meeting transcript.
Briefing on the Administration's Year of the Ocean Activities
Jim Baker, Undersecretary of Commerce, and Director, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, briefed the Committee U.S. participation in Year of the Ocean activities and also spoke about the Administration's work on harmful algal blooms. Details of the briefing and the following discussion are available in the meeting transcript.
The meeting recessed at 5:00 PM March 5 and reconvened at 9:00 AM March 6.
Briefing on the National Assessment of the Impacts of Climate Change
Jerry Melillo, Co-Director of the Ecosystems Center of the Marine Biological Laboratory, and Chair of the National Assessment Synthesis Team, and Tony Janetoes, Co-Chair of the Synthesis Team briefed the Committee on the plans for the National Assessment. Details of the briefing and the following discussion are available in the meeting transcript; handouts provided by Dr. Melillo are also available.
Briefing on the Environmental Report Card
Bill Merrell, Senior Fellow and President of the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics, and Environment, accompanied by Bob Friedman, Senior Fellow and Vice President for Research at the Heinz Center, briefed the Committee on efforts to produce a report card on the health of our Nation's ecosystems by the year 2001. Details of the briefing and the following discussion are available in the meeting transcript.
Briefing on DOE's Implementation of PCAST Recommendations on Energy R&D
Ernie Moniz, Undersecretary, Department of Energy, briefed the Committee on DOE's response to PCAST's recent report on energy R&D. Details of the briefing and the following discussion are available in the meeting transcript.
The public session of meeting adjourned at 11:10 AM March 6, 1998.
Minutes submitted by:
Holly L. Gwin
Chief of Staff
Office of Science and Technology Policy
John H. Gibbons
Assistant to the President for Science and Technology
Co-Chair, President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology
John A. Young
Co-Chair, President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology