American Geological Institute

Government Affairs Program SPECIAL UPDATE


NSF Seeks Public Comment on GPRA Strategic Plan

Posted July 12, 1997; Action completed August 1, 1997

AGI's Government Affairs Program (GAP) seeks to keep the AGI member societies informed of its activities and related events in Washington through monthly updates and occasional special updates. Monthly updates go out to members of the AGI Government Affairs Program (GAP) Advisory Committee as well as the leadership of AGI's member societies and other interested geoscientists. Prior updates can be found under "Government Affairs" on AGI's homepage.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is required under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) to submit a five-year strategic plan to Congress by September 30, 1997. On Wednesday, July 9, NSF held the first of two public meetings to receive comments and suggestions from stakeholders on their draft GPRA Strategic Plan. The second meeting will take place on Thursday, July 24 from 10:00 to 12:00 at the National Science Foundation headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia (Room 1235). Since NSF is a key funding agency for the membership of many AGI member societies, this alert is intended to facilitate feedback from individual societies by providing background information and NSF contact points for comments and suggestions on the strategic plan. If you have any questions, please contact AGI's Government Affairs Program at or contact NSF directly at All comments and suggestions are due to NSF by August 1, 1997. More information on GPRA and the NSF plan is available on the AGI website

The Government Performance and Results Act was enacted in 1993 to "improve efficiency and effectiveness of Federal programs by establishing a system to set goals for program performance and to measure results." Toward that goal, the Act requires that federal entities engage in a 3-step process:

  1. Develop a strategic plan that must be updated every three years
  2. Submit an annual performance plan. The first plan is due in the fall of 1997 and will be included with the FY 1999 budget report to Congress.
  3. Submit an annual performance report. The first report is to be completed in FY 1999 and will be available in March 2000.

NSF is now undertaking the first step by developing the draft GPRA strategic plan. At this week's public meeting, NSF Deputy Director Joseph Bordogna emphasized the need for NSF to balance its investment portfolio, which consists of research projects, research facilities, and education and training. According to Bordogna, it is important that NSF continue to diversify its investment portfolio while still seeking excellence. Therefore, NSF must achieve a balance between risk and results. The NSF Strategic Plan seeks to accomplish this goal by including these five elements:

  1. A Catalyst for Progress: Includes the NSF vision, mission, overarching goals, and integrative investment in research and education
  2. Outcome Goals and Investment Strategies: The results desired from NSF investments and methods for structuring the NSF investment portfolio
  3. Critical Factors for Success: Managing for excellence using critical factors and opportunities for action in portfolio and agency management
  4. Performance Planning and Assessment: Includes performance goals, methods for linking performance planning and budget, and the assessment process
  5. Setting the Scene: Describes the current political, administrative, and scientific climate in which NSF operates.

Contributed by Stephanie Barrett, AGI Government Affairs Intern

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program.

Last updated July 12, 1997

American Geological Institute Home Page