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News Release


News contact: Jenni Huffenberger, UTD, (972) 883-4431, jennib@utdallas.edu

Former U. T. Dallas President Rutford To Serve
On Oversight Committee Requested by Senate

Panel Will Advise On Large Research Facility
Initiatives Of the National Science Foundation

Dr. Robert Rutford, a faculty member and former president of The University of Texas at DallasRICHARDSON, Texas (April 10, 2003) - Dr. Robert Rutford, a faculty member and former president of The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), will serve on a special 12-member National Academy of Sciences (NAS) committee requested by the United States Senate to examine how the National Science Foundation (NSF) sets priorities among its large research facility projects.

The blue-ribbon panel will study how the NSF sets precedence among multiple competing proposals for construction and operation of large-scale research facility projects for an array of disciplines and will make recommendations about how to make the process as efficient as possible, taking into account NSF's significant role in funding academic research in science and engineering in the U. S. The NSF spends about $1 billion per year on such projects, which include everything from digital databases to telescopes, supercomputers and earthquake simulators.

The committee, made up of academicians, researchers and scientists from across the United States, will be chaired by Dr. W. F. Brinkman, former president of the American Physical Society and a senior research physicist in the Physics Department at Princeton University. Brinkman retired 18 months ago as vice president of research at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies.

The study was requested by U.S. Sens. Barbara Milkulksi, D-Md.; Christopher Bond, R-Mo.; Earnest Hollings, D-S.C.; John McCain, R-Ariz.; Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.; and Judd Gregg, R-N.H., on behalf of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is charged with performing the following tasks and reporting back to the Senate:

  • Review the NSF's current prioritization process as well as processes and procedures used by other relevant organizations
  • Develop criteria that should be considered in establishing priorities among competing large research facility proposals
  • Provide recommendations for optimizing and strengthening the process used by the NSF to set priorities among large research facility project proposals and to manage their incorporation into the President's budget
  • Provide recommendations for improving the construction and operation of NSF-funded large research facility projects
  • Provide recommendations regarding the role of the current and future availability of international and interagency research facility projects in the decision-making process for NSF funding of large research facility projects

In calling for the study, the six senators told NAS President Dr. Bruce Alberts that the NSF inspector general recently had "found significant deficiencies in the foundation's management and oversight of its large facility projects resulting in significant cost overruns not contemplated in their original budgets."

The oversight committee will meet in Washington, D.C., four times over the next year and will participate in regular conference calls concerning the issues. The first of those calls was held last week.

Rutford served as UTD president from 1982 to 1994. He currently is an Excellence in Education Foundation Professor in the university's Geosciences Department. Rutford is a well-known expert on Antarctica, and an ice stream that he discovered on the continent bears his name.

About UTD
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 13,000 students. The school's freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university's Web site at http://www.utdallas.edu.


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August 03, 2013