Federal Comment: NSF Stategic Plan update

January 22, 2021

On Friday January 22nd the Association of Northeast Extension Directors (NEED) and the Northeastern Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (NERA) (https://www.nerasaes.org/) submitted a joint letter in response to the National Science Foundation’s request for information in support of updating their 2018-2022 Strategic Plan.

Read and download the full submitted response below

Response Summary

QUESTION 1: What are the interests, values and emergent science and policy issues that the Strategic Plan should recognize?

  • Role of complex systems and convergence research
  • Climate science
  • Stable and safe food supply
  • Preservation of natural resources
  • STEM Literacy
  • Interagency scientific efforts and support
  • Public understanding and trust of science
  • Science-based discoveries that directly improve quality of life

We believe that the following values should be elevated within the strategic plan as guideposts for NSF’s work and investment:

  • Recognition, valuation, and integration of local and indigenous ways of gathering information formulating methodologies and knowing.
  • Science must be reflective of community need.
  • Interdisciplinary science, research, and community engagement is necessary to address and understand the complex nature of our world and problems. We must be willing to ask questions in a way that does not prescribe to historic “science” ideals.
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism. 

QUESTION 2: How can NSF help maintain US leadership in an evolving global research and education landscape?

  • Modify RFA creation and proposal review to include Extension professionals on review and evaluation panels.
  • Invest in workforce education and development.
  • Increase accessibility and use of research data.
  • Broaden and enhance cross-agency, university, and public-private partnerships.
  • Invest in competitive research in 1994 Tribal Colleges,1890 Land Grant Institutions, and small institutions.
  • Support core science infrastructure.
  • Focus on increasing public trust, understanding, and valuation of science, scientists, and public servants.
  • Invest in in engagement and outreach networks.

QUESTION 3: How can the plan best underscore the importance to the Nation of fundamental research and its broader impacts?

In support of increasing application and impact of NSF internal and funded projects, the Strategic plan itself would benefit from including language referencing partnerships with organizations like Cooperative Extension that have a long history of community education and reach into every community in the nation.