OSTP and NSF….

Eric Lander is having his confirmation hearing today, coverage from Politico here. I applaud the President’s raising the profile of the OSTP director to cabinet-level.

More interesting are the two competing versions of a huge NSF plus-up that are making their ways through Congress. Here’s a nice analysis from National Journal’s Brendon Bordelon. My view is that the NSF’s proper wheel house is basic science. Full stop. The caveat is that my world view is already contradicted by the existence of the Engineering Directorate. So I suppose both of these bills aim to recreate an extramural version of Bell Labs inside the NSF as well.

If that’s the case, then I will say, that model has been sorely missed by the US. But I’m not sure a federal agency is the right place to start over. Instead, I’d take a look at the National Labs–both Sandia and Argonne same obvious candidates.