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
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 http://spaceresearch.nasa.gov/general_info/adv.html#ah
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
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
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
5. "Identify areas for priority consultation
with the international partners."