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FYI Number 48: April 22, 2002

Task Force to Assess NASA Biological & Physical Research Objectives

FYI The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News Number 48: April 22, 2002

An independent task force has been named by NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe to review the research objectives of the agency's Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR), including research planned for the space station, and to provide advice on prioritizing and optimizing the research. O'Keefe testified at a recent hearing (see FYI #47) that the task force's findings would help determine what, if any, additional research capacity might be added to the space station, after assembly of the "US Core Complete" configuration has been successfully accomplished.

The 20-member group, entitled the Research Maximization and Prioritization (ReMaP) Task Force and chaired by Rae Silver of Columbia University, will present its final report to the NASA Advisory Council in June of this year. The Advisory Council will review the task force's findings and present a set of recommendations to the NASA Administrator. Information on the task force and its membership can be found at under the heading, "OBPR Ad Hoc Advisory Boards."

According to the panel's Terms of Reference, "The ReMaP Task Force is chartered to perform an independent external review and assessment of research productivity and priorities for the entire scientific, technological, and commercial portfolio of NASA's Biological and Physical Research Enterprise, and to provide recommendations on how to achieve the greatest progress in high- priority research within the President's budget request." The task force is asked to address the following items in its final report:

1. "Evaluate and validate high priority science and technology research to be funded by OBPR to maximize the research return within the available resources in the President's FY 2003 Budget for OBPR and International Space Station (ISS)."

2. "Evaluate the major thrust areas and key research objectives for OBPR with an emphasis on establishing the research content for the ISS US Core Complete configuration."

2a. "Assess how these key objectives can be addressed by the ISS relative to other means (e.g. ground-based research, free- flyers, Space Shuttle)."

2b. "Recommend how the ISS capabilities or other means could be used to best achieve high-priority research objectives."

2c. "Given these major thrust areas and the results of item 2b, assess research content options consistent with the ISS US Core Complete configuration. Assess the extent to which each option allows for a viable evolution of the research strategy, given the possibility of research-driven enhancement to the ISS beyond US Core Complete."

2d. "Recommend modifications and/or additions to the OBPR research goals and objectives."

3. "Recommend ways to increase scientific productivity (e.g. automation, a non-governmental organization for managing research, etc.) and the metrics to measure productivity."

4. "Recommend criteria that can be used by OBPR to implement specific research activities and programs based on documented priorities."

5. "Identify areas for priority consultation with the international partners."

Audrey T. Leath
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
(301) 209-3094

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