National science policy determines the research directions and priorities of various funding agencies. Below we provide links to items in three important categories of information.
Explore the nuts and bolts of science policy.
Recent Reports Related to Data Science Policy
Generative AI Resources
This website from the University of Michigan is the AI Resources Hub of the Michigan Institute for Data Science. The page is curated to serve researchers looking to integrate Generative AI into their work.
FAQs on Foundation Models and Generative AI
This paper is a Non-Decisional Statement by the National AI Advisory Committee (NAIAC)Working Group on Generative & NextGen AI: Safety and Assurance drafted for the purposes of explaining concepts and does not offer formal recommendations. It reflects understanding as of 8/28/2023.
On scientific understanding with artificial intelligence
This paper by by Mario Krenn et al. discusses the question "With the increase in the available computational power and advances in artificial intelligence...how can advanced computational systems, and specifically artificial intelligence, contribute to new scientific understanding or gain it autonomously?" They identify three fundamental dimensions for AI contributing to new scientific understanding.
AI for Scientific Discovery - A Workshop
The National Academies held a workshop on AI for Scientific Discovery on October 12-13, 2023. The goal for this meeting was to explore the future of AI in terms of its role as an autonomous researcher performing scientific discovery. This includes where AI stands, where it needs to go, and which disciplines should have increased investment for the utilization of AI scientists. Use the link above to access the agenda for the meeting as well as video of each of the sessions. A written report will be published in the future.
Women’s Health Innovation Opportunity Map 2023: 50 High-Return Opportunities to Advance Global Women’s Health R&D
This report from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the US National Institutes of Health outlines bold and actionable steps to address critical priorities for advancing women’s health innovation, including 50 opportunities that are critical for catalyzing innovation to improve the health of women identified by the Innovation Equity Forum (IEF). The Opportunity Map is designed for researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, government bodies, biopharmaceutical companies, civil society, and others around the world who are championing health equity for their communities and beyond. Many of the solution strategies include data collection, modeling, machine learning, deep learning, and artificial intelligence.
FACT SHEET: President Biden Issues Executive Order on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence
On October 30, 2023, President Biden issued a landmark Executive Order to ensure that America leads the way in seizing the promise and managing the risks of artificial intelligence (AI). The Executive Order establishes new standards for AI safety and security, protects Americans’ privacy, advances equity and civil rights, stands up for consumers and workers, promotes innovation and competition, advances American leadership around the world, and more.
Securing America's Future: A Framework for Technology Assessment
A new report identifies pathways to strengthen U.S. competitiveness in key technology areas. A national network pursued data and advanced analytics methods and tools to advance capabilities to identify potentially optimal directions for federal research and development funding.
A network of universities funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation completed a yearlong, nearly $4 million pilot effort with the release of this report on how to enable timely situational awareness of global technology and production capabilities, rigorous methods to quantify the potential value of innovations, and tools for quantifying opportunities across national objectives.
Report of NSF Workshop on AI-Enabled Scientific Revolution (2023)
A two-day workshop on the AI-enabled scientific revolution was held during March 8-9, 2023, at NSF headquarters in Alexandra, Virginia. It brought together leading experts from AI and various scientific and engineering fields (including computational biology, health sciences, neuroscience, chemical and materials science, ecology, climate science, hydrology, limnology, and physics) to identify key challenges and steps that can be taken to enable the next AI revolution in the Sciences. The workshop led the discussion on a new frontier in AI, where novel AI frameworks will drive scientific inquiry, suggest novel experiments, elucidate new theories, and thus revolutionize the traditional discovery process across multiple scientific disciplines. It identified limitations of the current state-of-the-art in AI for existing grand scientific challenge problems and discussed AI advances that are needed to catalyze synergistic research across scientific communities and how these advances can be incorporated into the practice of scientific discovery. The workshop provided an opportunity to have an open conversation with a reflection on the past, present, and future of AI-enabled scientific discoveries. Through the interactions among the participants, the workshop provided an opportunity to align future objectives and new strategies for AI research.
The Novo Nordisk Foundation Water Summit: Making a Big Splash for a Sustainable Future
In January 2020 the Novo Nordisk Foundation held a water summit in collaboration with DHI, ‘Making a Big Splash for a Sustainable Future.’ The purpose of the summit was to
bring university researchers together with public and private water sector experts to identify and prioritise the challenges facing the world in terms of water sustainability, while beginning to shape potential avenues for life science and interdisciplinary research that should help to address these challenges. This report identifies six major challenges and makes six strategic recommendations with short- to more long-term impact.
National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan, 2023 Update
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most powerful technologies of our time. In order to seize the opportunities that AI presents, the Nation must first work to manage its risks. The federal government plays a critical role in this effort, including through smart investments in research and development (R&D) that promote responsible innovation and advance solutions to the challenges that other sectors will not address on their own. This includes R&D to leverage AI to tackle large societal challenges and develop new approaches to mitigate AI risks. The federal government must place people and communities at the center by investing in responsible R&D that serves the public good, protects people’s rights and safety, and advances democratic values. This update to the National AI R&D Strategic Plan is a roadmap for driving progress toward that goal.
Arctic Research Plan 2022-2026
Read the report.
This report by the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee of the National Science and Technology Council (December 2021) provides a five-year research plan that addresses the most pressing Arctic research needs that require a collaborative approach and can advance understanding of the Arctic and climate change, inform policy and planning decisions, and promote the well-being of Arctic and global communities. The plan’s priority areas respond to challenges identified by Arctic communities, Federal agencies with a presence in Alaska or a responsibility to understand the Arctic region, Federal agencies with Arctic investments, the state of Alaska, Tribal and Indigenous organizations, and other non-Federal entities.
University of Minnesota’s Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences
The University of Minnesota’s Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences conducts original research, serves students and faculty, and advances public dialogue and understanding on emerging issues at the intersection of science and society. There are several member centers at the University. The Consortium sponsors multiple events each year to foster dialogue about important issues at the intersection of science and society. They bring top experts in bioethics, public policy, health care, and the life sciences to campus to engage with our faculty, students, staff, and community colleagues.
Fellow Programs in Science Policy
Leadership in Science Policy Institute
The Computing Community Consortium (CCC), part of the Computing Research Association (CRA), will be holding the CCC Leadership in Science Policy Institute (LiSPI) in Washington, D.C., on November 16-17, 2023. It is intended to educate computing researchers on how science policy in the U.S. is formulated and how our government works. The Institute includes a two-day workshop in Washington, D.C., and features presentations and discussions with science policy experts, current and former Hill staff, and relevant agency and Administration personnel about mechanics of the legislative process, interacting with agencies, advisory committees, and the federal case for computing.
LiSPI participants are expected to have the experience and flexibility in current positions to engage with government. Participants should be adept at communicating. They must be nominated by their chair or department head and must have demonstrated an interest in science policy, particularly as it relates to computer science (and closely allied fields).
Specifically, the nomination process is as follows:
- A chair or department head proposes a LiSPI candidate by providing the name and institution of the nominee, along with a letter of recommendation.
- The candidate will then be contacted by the CCC and asked to submit a CV, a short essay detailing their interests in science policy, and an indication of whether they would require financial aid to attend.
AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships
Every year AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships (STPF) provide opportunities to outstanding scientists and engineers to learn first-hand about policymaking while contributing their knowledge and analytical skills to the federal policymaking process. Fellows serve yearlong assignments in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the federal government in Washington. Each year, the program adds to a growing corps approximately 4,000 strong of policy-savvy leaders working across academia, government, nonprofits and industry to serve the nation and the world.
Applications open: June 1
Application deadline: November 30
Notification of status/interview: first week of February
Semi-finalist interviews: late February/early March
Finalist interview week: April 15-19, 2024
Fellowship placement offers extended: May
Fellowship start day: September 1
Fellowship end date: August 31
Jefferson Science Fellowship Program
The JSFs are administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and supported by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). They are open to tenured, or similarly ranked, faculty from U.S. institutions of higher learning who are U.S. citizens. After successfully obtaining a security clearance, selected Fellows spend one year on assignment at the U.S. Department of State or USAID serving as advisers on issues of foreign policy and international development. Assignments are tailored to the needs of the hosting office, while taking into account the Fellows’ interests and areas of expertise. Following the fellowship year, Fellows return to their academic career bringing their expertise with them back to their institution and remain available to the U.S. government as experienced consultants for short-term projects.
- Online applications open: August 1
- Application and MOU deadline: October 17, 5 PM ET
National Research Advisory Boards
National Science Board
The National Science Foundation Act of 1950, which created the NSF, states that "The Foundation shall consist of a National Science Board ... and a Director." Jointly the Board and the Director pursue the goals and function of the NSF, including the duty to "recommend and encourage the pursuit of national policies for the promotion of research and education in science and engineering."
National AI Advisory Committee
The National AI Advisory Committee (NAIAC) consists of experts with a broad and interdisciplinary range of AI-relevant experience from across the private sector, academia, non-profits, and civil society.
NASEM Computer Science and Telecommunications Board
The Computer Science and Telecommunications Board convenes the nation’s foremost computing, telecommunications, and information technology experts. They provide authoritative advice to the nation on technical and public policy aspects of computing and communications technologies and their social and economic implications, on sustaining leadership in computing and communications innovation, and on using computing and communications technologies in desirable and beneficial ways. CSTB’s products include workshops, other public meetings, and influential and widely read consensus study reports.
Army Science Board
The Army Science Board (ASB), organized under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) of 1977, provides the Army with independent advice and recommendations on matters relating to the Army’s scientific, technological, manufacturing, logistics and business management functions, as well as other matters the Secretary of the Army deems important to the Department of the Army.
The ASB provides the Army with a resource of world-class scientists, engineers, technologists and operational experts as well as business, policy and managerial specialists from the private sector, academia, non-DoD government agencies and former senior military officers. Our members and consultants volunteer their expertise and time to address those critical national security challenges for which the Army's leadership seeks independent and unbiased technical advice. The ASB focuses on issues of importance to large segments of the Army, and its products are delivered in a candid and timely manner.
Air Force Science Advisory Board
The Department of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board (DAF SAB), a Federal Advisory Committee (FACA of 1977), provides the Department of the Air Force (DAF) with independent advice on matters of Science and Technology (S&T) relating to the DAF mission, reporting directly to the Secretary of the Air Force. Since its formation in 1944, studies and technical reviews by the DAF SAB have had strong impacts on the S&T programs conducted by the DAF, and on the resulting capabilities that have emerged from these programs to support the DAF mission.
The Board consists of members appointed by the Secretary of Defense who are eminent authorities in the fields of science, technology, manufacturing, acquisition process, and other matters of special interest to the DAF. Membership will consist of talented private and public sector leaders with a diversity of background, experience, and thought in support of the DAF SAB mission).. They offer their time to benefit the DAF and the nation by identifying applications of technology that can improve DAF’s capabilities or that could enable entirely new capabilities, and advising on the DAF’s S&T portfolio to maximize its value in supporting the Air Force mission.
NASEM Air Force Studies Board
Since 1962, the Air Force Studies Board (AFSB) has served as the principal interface between the Department of the Air Force (DAF) and the National Academies on issues related to science, technology, engineering, defense acquisition, logistics and sustainment, and human capital in support of Air and Space Force missions. The AFSB's formal mission is to provide independent, objective, and authoritative external advice to the Department of the Air Force. To accomplish this, AFSB activities bring together leading experts to participate in consensus studies, workshops, roundtables, meetings of experts, colloquia, and other forums.
NASEM Naval Studies Board
The Naval Studies Board (NSB) was established in 1974 at the request of the then-Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) as an entity “to which the U.S. Navy could turn for independent and outside counsel of any area of its responsibilities involving the interplay of science and technical matters with other national issues.” Since its establishment, the NSB has continuously demonstrated an ability to work across the entire Department of the Navy (DoN) to examine naval capabilities and needs, identify cutting-edge technologies (within and outside the DoN), and provide CNO and the DoN with independent, authoritative science-based advice. Recent areas of focus include data science, data analytics, networking, communications, and architecture approaches for enhanced decision-making; multi-domain autonomy; innovation and rapid development; missile defense; unmanned undersea vehicles; and cyber defense.
Understanding Terms and Concepts
The Heilmeier Catechism
Articles and Books
The Heilmeier Catechism
A brief article from DARPA listing the set of questions known as the Heilmeier Catechism and developed by George Heilmeier, a former DARPA director, to help Agency officials think through and evaluate proposed research programs.
Grant Writing Workshop: Introduction to the Heilmeier Catechism
19-minute video from The Ohio State Libraries providing an introduction to the Heilmeier Catechism and how to use it to write more compelling proposals.
Framing and Evaluating Technical Innovation
46-minute video of a presentation on the Heilmeier Catechism by Duncan Macfarlane, The Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering, Southern Methodist University.
Pasteur's Quadrant: Basic, Applied, and Use-Inspired Research
Articles and Books
This short Wikipedia article explains the different perspectives of scientific research. Pasteur's quadrant refers to scientific research that seek "fundamental understanding of scientific problems, while also having immediate use for society."
Pasteur's Quadrant: Basic Science and Technological Innovation by Donald E. Stokes,1997.
"Stokes builds a convincing case that by recognizing the importance of use-inspired basic research we can frame a new compact between science and government. His conclusions have major implications for both the scientific and policy communities and will be of great interest to those in the broader public who are troubled by the current role of basic science in American democracy."
RIP: The Basic/Applied Research Dichotomy by Venkatesh Narayanamurti, Tolu Odumosu, Lee Vinsel, Issues in Science and Technology 29, no. 2 (Winter 2013).
"U.S. science policy since World War II has in large measure been driven by Vannevar Bush’s famous paper Science—The Endless Frontier. Bush’s separation of research into “basic” and “applied” domains has been enshrined in much of U.S. science and technology policy over the past seven decades, and this false dichotomy has become a barrier to the development of a coherent national innovation policy. Much of the debate centers on the appropriate federal role in innovation. Bush argued successfully that funding basic research was a necessary role for government, with the implication that applied research should be left to the auspices of markets. However, the original distinction does not reflect what actually happens in research, and its narrow focus on the stated goals of an individual research project prevents us from taking a more productive holistic view of the research enterprise."
At the nexus of science, engineering, and medicine: Pasteur's quadrant reconsidered by Roderic I Pettigrew and John P Cooke, PNAS Nexus, Volume 1, Issue 3, July 2022.
3-minute video from MIN-Corps (Minnesota Innovation Corps) on Pasteur's quadrant.
How to make sure your research is useful and scientific
6-minute video by Johannes Cronje. A brief description of Pasteur's quadrant, based on the work of Donald Stokes and Tom Reeves.
Applying Pasteur's Quadrant to Innovation and Technology (IMCIC 2015)
40-minute video by Dr. Randy K. Avent, Florida Polytechnic University. Presentation at the General Joint Session at IMCIC 2025.
Living in Pasteur's Quadrant:Navigating the Uncharted Waters Between Basic Applied Research
45-minute video by Roberta M. Golinkoff and Kathryn Ann Hirsh-Pasek. At the 2015 APS (Association for Psychological Science) Annual Convention, APS James McKeen Cattell Fellows, Roberta M. Golinkoff and Kathryn Ann Hirsh-Pasek discussed navigating the uncharted waters between basic and applied research.
Technology Readiness Levels
Articles and Books
Technology readiness level
This short Wikipedia article explains the concept of technology readiness levels (TRLs): "Technology readiness levels (TRLs) are a method for estimating the maturity of technologies during the acquisition phase of a program. TRLs enable consistent and uniform discussions of technical maturity across different types of technology."
Technology Readiness Level
7-minute video from the Texas Department of Transportation: "A standardized scale for defining how ready a research project is for real world use. The TRL is used as a shorthand way to define how far along development of the project is now, what the end goal is and defines the threshold of when a project is ready for implementation."
Technology Readiness Level from a Practitioner's Point of View
Lecture by Shawn K Martin, University of Florida MERGE Lab, on TRLs.
Convergence, Transdisciplinary Research, and Interdisciplinary Research: What are they?
Fostering the Culture of Convergence in Research: Proceedings of a Workshop. The National Academies Press, 2019.
A convergence-based approach involves hybrid systems of people, buildings, and instruments, which pose complex structural and managerial challenges. In October 23–24, 2018, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a workshop to explore efforts to promote cultures that support convergence-based approaches to research. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop. Available to read free online.
Enhancing the Effectiveness of Team Science. The National Academies Press, 2015.
Enhancing the Effectiveness of Team Science synthesizes and integrates the available research to provide guidance on assembling the science team; leadership, education and professional development for science teams and groups. It also examines institutional and organizational structures and policies to support science teams and identifies areas where further research is needed to help science teams and groups achieve their scientific and translational goals. Available to read free online.
Convergence: Facilitating Transdisciplinary Integration of Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering, and Beyond. The National Academies Press, 2014.
Convergence of the life sciences with fields including physical, chemical, mathematical, computational, engineering, and social sciences is a key strategy to tackle complex challenges and achieve new and innovative solutions. However, institutions face a lack of guidance on how to establish effective programs, what challenges they are likely to encounter, and what strategies other organizations have used to address the issues that arise. This advice is needed to harness the excitement generated by the concept of convergence and channel it into the policies, structures, and networks that will enable it to realize its goals. Available to read free online.
Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research. The National Academies Press, 2005.
This report identifies steps that researchers, teachers, students, institutions, funding organizations, and disciplinary societies can take to more effectively conduct, facilitate, and evaluate interdisciplinary research programs and projects. Throughout the report key concepts are illustrated with case studies and results of the committee’s surveys of individual researchers and university provosts. Available to read free online.