Chris Somerville has suggested that the NSF policy change will help to
better dfine a role for biological sciences at NSF and support plant biology
as a whole. I have two comments/concerns. First, it is my understanding
that the no dup policy is being put into effect without the other changes (3
month review time, 3 submissions a year) that Chris suggested. With the OLD
system of review and the NEW no dup policy, a tight squeeze is put on
getting grants. Perhaps the suggestions from Chris can be added BEFORE the
no dup policy is effective. Second, I was surprised that only 15% of NSF's
funds are for biology. Last summer a group of talented high school
students interested in engineering were brought in for a special summer
program here at Penn State. When asked what type of engineering they were
interested in, over 50% of these talented students said genetic engineering.
Perhaps the engineering folks at NSF should consider this. It seems that
with such a large number of the talented engineering students interested in
biological aspects, that BIOLOGY should receive greater attention at NSF.
If this last comment would be helpful for NSF biology division, I can dig up
documenting material for it. June Medford, Penn State.