[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 119 (Wednesday, June 20, 2018)]
[Pages 28668-28669]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-13213]



Request for Information--Environmental Research and Education, 
National Security, and Economic Competitiveness

AGENCY: National Science Foundation.

ACTION: Notice of Request for Information.


SUMMARY: The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to seek 
input from the public on possible future directions for fundamental 
environmental science and education. The RFI intends to gather views 
from external stakeholders on what environmental research and education 
is needed to further advance national security and economic 
competitiveness. NSF's Advisory Committee for Environmental Research 
and Education (AC ERE) will use the input to develop a report on these 
topics to inform NSF and the community.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted by August 20, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Responses will be submitted via online survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ACERE-RFI-2018). See the instructions in the 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact Leah Nichols, Executive 
Secretary for the AC ERE, at [email protected] for further information.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The National Science Foundation's Advisory 
Committee for Environmental Research and Education (AC ERE) invites 
your input on possible environmental research and education directions 
to further advance national security and economic competitiveness. The 
purpose of the AC ERE is to:
     Provide advice, recommendations and oversight concerning 
support for the NSF's environmental research and education portfolio;
     Be a base of contact with the scientific community to 
inform NSF of the impact of its research support and NSF-wide policies 
on the scientific community;
     Serve as a forum for consideration of interdisciplinary 
environmental topics as well as environmental activities in a wide 
range of disciplines;
     Provide broad input into long-range plans and partnership 
opportunities; and
     Provide advice about program management, overall program 
balance, and other aspects of program performance for environmental 
research and education activities.
    The Committee has been interested broadly in fundamental 
environmental research and education that also has societal utility. It 
has recently focused its attention on two major topics where there is 
broad consensus on the importance of the research to date, but where 
significant research questions remain. These topics are at the nexus of 
environmental science and engineering with economic growth and 
competitiveness, and the relationship of environmental factors to 
national and human security. The Committee is particularly interested 
in approaches that promote convergent research across disciplines and 
sectors to address economic competitiveness and economic security.
    To identify emerging research questions in these areas, the 
committee is reaching out to interested and knowledgeable members of 
the scientific community in all disciplines and interdisciplinary areas 
for their views. The AC ERE is also interested in the views of 
professionals who are directly involved in decision-making or 
operational activities in these areas, and who therefore can provide a 
very practical perspective on high-priority research and education 
    The AC ERE invites individuals and groups of individuals to provide 
input on one or both of the topics described above via this link: 
    The online submission form requires the following information:
    1. Author name(s) and affiliation(s);
    2. Valid contact email address;
    3. Title of the response;
    4. An abstract (200 words or less) summarizing the response; and
    5. Checkbox to consent to allow the AC ERE to display the submitted 
information, consistent with the Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode).
    You will also be asked to identify whether your response focuses on 
questions in environmental research and education that are pertinent to 
(a) economic growth and competitiveness, (b) national and human 
security, or (c) both topics. The submission form includes the 
following question prompts. Respondents may respond to all or any 
subset of these questions.
     What are the major environmental research priorities with 
the greatest potential to contribute to economic growth and 
competitiveness and/or national or human security/wellbeing? Priorities 
could, for example, include empirical, theoretical, or qualitative 
analyses, establishing baselines, and/or experimental studies. (500 
words or less)
     What methodologies should be used for conducting such 
studies? Methodological recommendations could include the prospects for 
interdisciplinary and/or convergent research approaches, including 
modeling, theory, empirical, qualitative, and/or experimental studies. 
Methodological recommendations could also discuss the scope of studies, 
e.g. the balance between single-investigator studies and large teams. 
(500 words or less)
     What education (including formal and informal), research, 
and training opportunities--for students, postdoctoral researchers, and 
mid-career scientists--are needed? Opportunities might include 
interdisciplinary, team-based, or other innovative, value-added 
strategies for realizing higher levels of depth and breadth at the 
individual level, and/or expansion of the current environmental 
research community through inclusion of currently under-represented 
groups. (500 words or less)
     Beyond economic competitiveness and national security, 
what other high priority drivers of environmental science and education 
need attention? (200 words or less)
    Submissions must be received by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on August 
20, 2018. Respondents may edit their responses while completing the 
survey, but will not be able to save work in progress to complete 
later. Respondents will see a confirmation screen upon successful 
submission responses.
    The committee and associated staff will read and analyze all 
responses received, and use them, in addition to its own background 
work, to develop a report on these topics to inform NSF and the 
community. It intends to publish this report by the end of 2018.
    The AC ERE also anticipates making submissions publicly accessible 
through its website (https://www.nsf.gov/ere/ereweb/advisory.jsp). 
Authors who do not wish to have their full responses posted online may 
restrict access to the AC ERE and associated staff. However,

[[Page 28669]]

the author(s) name and affiliation, submission title, and abstract will 
be included in the publicly accessible list of responses regardless.
    The AC ERE invites you to step outside of the immediate demands of 
your current research and to think boldly about the opportunities for 
advancing environmental research and education into its next stage 
through a lens focused on economic competitiveness and/or national 
security. The Committee looks forward to your contributions.
    For questions concerning this effort and submission of input, 
please contact Leah Nichols, Executive Secretary for the AC ERE, at 
[email protected].

    Dated: June 15, 2018.
Suzanne H. Plimpton,
Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation.
[FR Doc. 2018-13213 Filed 6-19-18; 8:45 am]