UCAR trustees go to Washington
by Laura Curtis, UCAR Office of Government Affairs
Several members of the UCAR Board of Trustees served as advocates on behalf of the atmospheric sciences as the board gathered for its May meeting, held at NSF headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. A number of trustees stopped by Capitol Hill to meet members and staff of their own congressional delegations, as well as Appropriations Committee staff for the House and Senate.
Most conversations focused on FY05 funding issues for climate and weather research and education. The board members encouraged Congress to augment the President's FY05 budget request for NOAA, DOE, and NSF, and they expressed concern about NASA's Moon/Mars initiative and how it might affect other priorities in Earth system science. Hill staff and members have commented that the science community as a whole has not been as vocal as other interest groups, so it was encouraging to see UCAR trustees take the extra time to get the word out about the value of the community's research and education endeavors.
The entire Board of Trustees had the opportunity to discuss science policy issues with members of the House Science Committee and key staff at a breakfast meeting on the Hill on 20 May. The discussion was hosted by Mark Udall (D-CO) and attended by ranking committee member Bart Gordon (D-TN) and Brad Miller (D-NC). Several Republican committee members were scheduled to participate but were called away that morning by a presidential visit to the Capitol. Issues discussed included NOAA's Research Review Team report (PDF), new authorization language for NOAA, the status of U. S. climate research, and FY05 funding for science. Board members also noted their concern over continuing difficulty in getting international scientists and students into the United States for research and study (see "On the Web"). Overall, participants said they felt the discussion was extremely worthwhile, and there is now talk of making this an annual event.
A luncheon briefing for congressional staff, held during the same week, brought about 50 Hill staffers to the Hart Senate Office Building to learn about the National Science Digital Library (NSDL). This briefing-sponsored by UCAR, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Cornell and Columbia universities-illustrated the ways in which NSDL is changing teaching and learning from kindergarten to college, as well as the manner in which it is spawning collaborative work across the country. Speakers included users at the undergraduate and K-12 levels, who already use this new education tool to provide access to the best teaching resources in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
NOAA Research Review
(includes latest reports)
UCAR Comments on NOAA
Research Review report (June 2004)
National Science Digital Library
UCAR Office of Government Affairs