UCAR > Communications > Staff Notes > March 1997 Search

NSF director Neal Lane pays a visit to Boulder

Lane dodges the Mesa Lab's tornado. (Photo by Curt Zukosky.)

According to Neal Lane, the future of science research and development (R&D) is collaborative. Lane, the director of NSF since 1993, brought home that point during a Denver/Boulder visit 6-7 March. His agenda included a dinner in the Mesa Lab's Damon Room with about 50 guests, many of them chief executive officers and university presidents. After a day visiting university research centers, Lane remarked, "I was struck by the energy of the business community in supporting [Colorado] universities."

In his after-dinner talk on the mesa, Lane expressed concern about the chance of major federal cuts in R&D, which he called "a very risky experiment. It's an experiment we've never done before." Another threat comes from the possibility of globalized R&D, in which U.S.-based companies would ship their research operations to other countries. "To have our research--that precious investment--shipped offshore is an even more serious concern for our future than shipping [other] jobs offshore. . . . If we give that up, I'm afraid it's going to take a long time to get it back."

Chancellors galore: Neal Lane and Dwayne Nuzum (Colorado Commission on Higher Education) are both former chancellors of UC-Colorado Springs. Linda Bunnell Shade (right) currently holds the post. (Photo by Curt Zukosky.)

To keep U.S. R&D vital, Lane called for "increased balance and diversity among the supporters of R&D" and more flexibility in public/private/academic partnerships. "I believe we're just in the infancy of conceiving their form and function. . . . It's the aspect of combining sectors that produces a whole greater than the sum of its parts."

Hands-on science was the order of the day for these Colorado students, joined by Neal Lane (far right), Tom Windham (third from left), and Janel Cobb (third from right). (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)

Before returning to Washington, Lane visited with teachers and students from Denver and Lamar and took in science demonstrations coordinated by Carol McLaren of NCAR's LEARN: Atmospheric Science Explorers. Tom Windham, director of the Significant Opportunities for Atmospheric Research and Science program, gave Lane a briefing on the project. He was joined by SOARS student Janel Cobb. •BH

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Edited by Bob Henson, bhenson@ucar.edu