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"We've arranged a global civilization in which the most crucial elements ... profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power will blow up in our faces .....“

Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World


In 2003, the federal government provided an estimated 61 percent of the funding for research and development performed at academic institutions.

SRS InfoBrief, NSF 04-307: U.S. R&D Projected to Have Grown Marginally in 2003


NSF Vital Statistics

  • Annual budget of about $5.8 billion
  • Funds about 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted at academic institutions

NSF Research Areas

  • Arctic and Antarctic
  • Astronomy and Space (ground telescopes)
  • Biology
  • Chemistry and Materials
  • Computing
  • Earth and Environment
  • Education (science and
  • engineering)
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Nanoscience
  • People and Society
  • Physics
in 2001 81 percent of nsf survey respondents agreed with the statement
In 2001, 81 percent of NSF survey respondents agreed with the statement:

“Even if it brings no immediate benefits, scientific research that advances the frontiers of knowledge is necessary and should be supported by the federal government.”

Science and Engineering Indicators 2002


About 9 out of 10 adults report they are either very or moderately interested in new scientific discoveries and the use of new inventions and technologies.

Science and Engineering Indicators 2002


Less than 15 percent feel very well informed about those subjects.

Science and Engineering Indicators 2002


Few Americans are able to name the two agencies that provide most of the funds for (basic) research.

  • 5 percent could identify NIH
  • 3 percent could identify NSF

Research! America


What is the name of the government agency that funds most of the basic research and educational programming in the sciences, mathematics and engineering in this country?

  • 84 percent said they didn’t know.
  • 14 percent said other.
  • 2 percent knew NSF.

Research!America, 2002

percent of respondents who said the following occupations had very great prestige
Percent of respondents who said the following occupations had very great prestige
  • Scientists (57 percent)
  • Teachers (49 percent)
  • Doctors (42 percent)
  • Member of Congress (30 percent)
  • Engineer (28 percent)
  • Journalist (15 percent)

Research!America, 2004


“Scan the headlines of 2005 and one question seems inevitable: Will we recall this as the year when journalism in print began to die?”

  • The New York Times cut nearly 60 people from its newsroom.
  • The Los Angeles Times cut 85 people.
  • The San Jose Mercury News cut 16 percent.
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer cut 15 percent (same amount five years earlier.
  • Investors forced sale of the Knight Ridder newspaper chain.

“…we do see a seismic transformation in what and how people learn about the world around them. Power is moving away from journalists as gatekeepers over what the public knows. Citizens are assuming a more active role as assemblers, editors and even creators of their own news. Audiences are moving from old media such as television or newsprint to new media online. “


Major Trends

“In 2006, we see six new trends emerging that deserve highlighting and that add to the underlying trends transforming journalism we have noted in earlier reports:”

  • More outlets are covering fewer stories.
  • The big-city metro paper may be most threatened.
  • The decades-long battle at the top between idealists and accountants is now over. (Accountants won: Idealists 0.)
  • Traditional media appear to be moving toward technological innovation — finally.
  • The new aggregators (Google, Yahoo) are also playing with limited time.
  • How long it will take online journalism to become a major economic engine, and will it ever be as big as print or television?

“Today, technology is transforming citizens from passive consumers of news produced by professionals into active participants who can assemble their own journalism from disparate elements….

“What was called journalism is only one part of the mix, and its role as intermediary and verifier, like the roles of other civic institutions, is weakening….”


MSNBC July, August 2001


INTERNET GROWING AS NEWS MEDIUM, AT TIMES EXCEEDING TRADITIONAL MEDIA USAGEBroadband Audience Maximizes Online News Usage with Rich Media, Streaming Video and Coverage of Live Events

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Use of the Internet as a news source is approaching, and in some cases surpassing the use of traditional media, according to a recent study conducted for by Market Facts Inc. Additionally, the survey concludes that broadband users (high speed Internet connections) are more likely to use streaming audio, video and rich media to optimize coverage of breaking news and live events.


It is generally conceded that scientists and engineers have “somewhat of an image problem.”

The scientist is a man who wears a white coat and works in a laboratory. He is elderly or middle aged and wears glasses…He may wear a beard, may be…unkempt.…He is surrounded by equipment…and spends his days doing experiments (Mead and Metraux, 1957).

Science and Engineering Indicators 2002


“We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.”

Albert Einstein


Characteristics of a Civic Scientist:

  • Wisdom
  • Science
  • Communication

Ben Franklin, Civic Scientist

Neal Lane

Physics Today, October 2003

“Franklin would suggest that scientists could benefit from a little Communications 101…lessons in how to communicate effectively with politicians and the general public about the essentials of science, without the esoteric details. “

Neal Lane in Benjamin Franklin, Civic Scientist, 2003


I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.

Howard Beale in the movie “Network,” 1976


A Brief History of Communication Technology

Cave Drawings

Clay Tablets



Smoke Signals

The Telegraph

Printing Press


Intro to “Criterion 2”

  • Proposals submitted to NSF are evaluated based on two criteria:
        • Intellectual Merit
        • Broader Impact

Broader Impacts

Doh! I’ll have to eat more cheeseburgers

… Cool.

what nsf really says about broader impact
What NSF Really Says About Broader Impact
  • Most proposers have little difficulty responding to the criterion relating to intellectual merit.
  • Many proposers have difficulty understanding how to frame the broader impacts of the activities they propose to undertake.
  • The examples provided below …
  • The list is not intended to be exhaustive, nor is any particular example relevant to all proposals.