The third and final meeting of the Commission on the Future of the National Science Foundation was held on November 7. Although this was the shortest of the three meetings, it provided the clearest indication of their report, which is due November 20.
The commission was originally charged with examining the future role of NSF. The final report is likely to go considerably beyond this mandate, reviewing federal science and technology policy and the conduct of research and development in the United States. This report is the first step in what National Science Board Chair James Duderstadt promised would be a lengthy process of internal board discussions and meetings across the country. Duderstadt, while noting that NSF commissions are uncommon, said that the issues of the day demanded the present commission and predicted that the report would be a mechanism for launching a dialogue on science policy. He also said that the report would serve as a foundation for board meetings on future NSF budget requests. Perhaps most importantly, Duderstadt said that with the incoming Clinton administration, the forthcoming report could have great impact.