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The FY 1991 budget request of $3.7 million will provide funding for peer reviews and technical assessments of programs in the Office of Energy Research, as well as programs under the Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy and the Assistant Secretary for Conservation and Renewable Energy. In addition, funds will be provided to assess responses to the final NAPAP report and to continue to monitor interagency research results related to clean air
UNIVERSITY AND SCIENCE EDUCATION
There is a growing consensus that one of the most serious problems facing the Nation over the next ten years is the declining number of young Americans, including women and minorities, interested in pursuing careers in science and engineering. Those who are interested often receive inadequate preparation for such careers. This crisis in science education has serious implications
for the Nation's continued international economic and technological
competitiveness. It also has implications for the Department's ability to
carry out its science, energy, and defense R&D missions.
The Department is both a user and a patron of a large fraction of the Nation's
scientists and engineers. To meet the challenges facing the Department today and in the future, we have to depend on the scientific creativity and technical skills of our workforce. DOE is uniquely positioned to provide major assistance to the national effort to strengthen science and engineering
education. The Department's long tradition of support for science education
continues today. Several of our laboratories have been designated as Science
Education Centers and are carrying out comprehensive science education
programs. Our efforts complement those of the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, and other Federal agencies, state and local governments, and the education community by providing students and their teachers with "hands on" experiences in ongoing, cutting-edge scientific and technical research.
Secretary Watkins has made support for science education a personal and Departmental goal. He was an active participant in the President's Charlottesville Summit Conference. Last October, shortly after the Conference, the Secretary and Nobel Laureate Glenn Seaborg cohosted a Math/Science Education Action Conference in Berkeley, California. Over 200 senior representatives from Federal agencies, Congress, education associations, States, industry, and the National Laboratories met in working groups to formulate the outline of an action plan to improve science education dramatically by the year 2007.
The FY 1991 budget request of $29.7 million for University and Science Education reflects, in part, the Secretary's and the Department's commitment. (Table 12) This request will continue the existing base programs, including undergraduate student summer and semester research programs as well as faculty and graduate student research activities. The FY 1991 request will also include new activities responsive to the Secretary's Math/Science Education Action Conference and to recent reports including the Energy Research Advisory Board's report on the Department's potential role in science education; the Interagency Task Force on Women, Minorities, and the Handicapped in Science
and Technology report, "Changing America: The New Face of Science and Engineering;" and the National Research Council report, "Everybody Counts."
Among the new initiatives in FY 1991 are inner city/rural partnerships designed to revitalize math and science education in targeted school districts. Another initiative will be the establishment of a precollege mathematics science education program at the DOE laboratories. There will also be: a traveling museum-based science education program consisting of exhibits on major energy-related scientific programs; increased precollege science teacher research appointments and minority high school student appointments to encourage more students to stay in the math/science pipeline; and emphasis on reaching students at a younger age, especially women and minorities, through the Prefreshman Engineering Program.
Two collaborative initiatives have already been announced that respond to this new emphasis on science education. The Chicago "Science Explorers Program" is a collaboration among ANL, FermiLab, the Chicago Public Schools, and a group of Chicago institutions involved in science education. The program is aimed at stimulating a high level of interest in science and math in 10,000 Chicago students. Another initiative is a cooperative program in math and science education between DOE facilities in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and the University of Tennessee. It will provide opportunities to college students who want to teach math or science, as well as to scientists and engineers or retirees who want to teach. A third initiative will begin this Spring and will involve the Pacific Northwest Laboratory in a collaborative science education program
impacting the Hispanic and Native American populations, with another initiative expected in New Mexico using DOE facilities there.
The FY 1991 University and Science Education program will continue to provide support for refueling and related activities for university nuclear research
and training reactors.
The R&D Laboratory Technology Transfer program, which supports DOE laboratory efforts to spin off new technology to U.S. industry and universities, will also continue in FY 1991. Under this program, scientists from large and small industries work on assignment at DOE laboratories with laboratory scientists. This is a valuable interaction because new skills and technology are transferred on a timely basis through cost-shared arrangements. The value of these interactions in terms of technology transfer is illustrated by the fact that, in the last five years, DOE laboratories have won over 25% of the R&D100 awards given annually by R&D Magazine for the best new products,
processes, and materials.
UNIVERSITY RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION
The University Research Instrumentation (URI) program provides another way to strengthen the Nation's science and education infrastructure. This program helps universities acquire the state-of-the-art instrumentation that is needed to conduct long-range research on energy problems. In the process, the program provides graduate students with hands-on experience in the use of this