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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s “Committee on Foundation for Assessing the Health and Vitality of Science Mission Directorate Research Communities” will meet virtually on June 18, 2021.

This is the second meeting of the committee.  The first meeting, on May 11, was closed in its entirety.  Wanda Sigur and Charlie Bolden are the committee’s co-chairs.

For this meeting, some sessions are open and some are closed. According to the agenda that is posted on June 5, open sessions are 11:00 am-2:30 pm ET.

More information is on the committee’s website.

The committee’s statement of task is:

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will appoint an ad hoc committee to address the topic of “Building a Foundation for Assessing the Health and Vitality of the Science Mission Directorate’s Research Communities.” This study will define the data that NASA needs to collect to enable each decadal survey to conduct its own analysis of its research community’s health and vitality. This committee will recommend actions to improve the health and vitality of the communities of researchers to aid in the accomplishment of the NASA research objectives.

To accomplish this task, the committee will:

1. Identify the characteristics of a healthy and vital research community.

2. Define implementable measures for assessing the health and vitality of a research community based on the above-identified characteristics, considering demographics, career-stage structure, distribution of “hard money” and “soft money” positions, relative dominance of NASA Centers in performing research in the discipline, fraction of funding for the discipline provided by NASA relative to other funding agencies, and other relevant variables.

3. Based on the above-identified measures, enumerate the types of data that NASA should be collecting to enable future assessments of the health and vitality of the scientific work force and any statutory, regulatory or policy impediments to collecting those data. Recommend practical and actionable approaches that, if implemented, would reduce the identified impediments.

4. Recommend and prioritize best practices for NASA to use to improve the health and vitality of its research communities.

As part of its work, the committee will review and consider the findings of past social science studies of SMD-supported science communities as well as any limitations in available data found by recent Decadal Surveys and any additional information they may have developed for data that NASA was unable to provide. This part of the review will be integrated into the committee’s methods of collecting information specific to NASA science communities. These methods may include commissioned papers, representative community panels, and structured interviews.



June 18, 2021
11:00 am - 11:00 pm