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Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment Request

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National Science Foundation.


Submission for OMB Review; comment request.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) has submitted the following information collection requirement to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. This is the second notice for public comment; the first was published in the Federal Register at 69 FR 61409, and one comment was received. NSF is Start Printed Page 9112forwarding the proposed renewal submission to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance simultaneously with the publication of this second notice. Comments regarding (a) whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology should be addressed to: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for National Science Foundation, 725—17th Street, NW., Room 10235, Washington, DC 20503, and to Suzanne H. Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 295, Arlington, Virginia 22230 or send e-mail to Comments regarding these information collections are best assured of having their full effect if received within 30 days of this notification. Copies of the submission may be obtained by calling (703) 292-7556.

NSF may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

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On October 18, 2004, we published in the Federal Register (69 FR 61409) a 60-day notice of our intent to request renewal of this information collection authority from OMB. In that notice, we solicited public comments for 60 days ending September 14, 2004. We received one comment regarding this notice.

Comment: One commenter wrote that taxpayers should not fund this program and that participants should pay for their own involvement.

Response: NSF believes that because the comment does not pertain to the collection of information on the required forms for which NSF is seeking OMB approval, NSF is preceding with the clearance request.

Title of Collection: Application for NATO Advanced Study Institutes Travel Award and NATO Advanced Study Institutes Travel Award Report Form.

OMB Approval Number: 3145-0001.

Abstract: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), initiated its Advanced Study Institutes Program in 1958 modeled after a small number of very successful summer science “courses” that were held in Europe and that sought to rebuild Europe's science strength following World War II. The goal was to bring together both students and researchers from the leading centers of research in highly targeted fields of science and engineering to promote the “American” approach to advanced learning, spirited give-and-take between students and teachers, that was clearly driving the rapid growth of U.S. research strength. Today the goal remains the same; but due to the expansion of NATO, each year an increasing number of ASIs are held in NATO Partner Countries along with those held in NATO Member Countries. In the spirit of cooperation with this important activity, the Foundation inaugurated in 1959 a small program of travel grants for advanced graduate students to assist with the major cost of such participation, that of transatlantic travel. It remains today a significant means for young scientists and engineers to develop contact with their peers throughout the world in their respective fields of specialization.

The Advanced Study Institutes (ASI) travel awards are offered to advanced graduate students, to attend one of the NATO's ASIs held in the NATO-member and partner countries of Europe. The NATO ASI program is targeted to those individuals nearing the completion of their doctoral studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) who can take advantage of opportunities to become familiar with progress in their respective fields of specialization in other countries.

The Division of Graduate Education (DGE) in the Education and Human Resources (EHR) Directorate administers the NATO ASI Travel Awards Program. The following describes the procedures for the administration of the Foundation's NATO Advanced Study Institute (ASI) Travel Awards, which provide travel support for a number of U.S. graduate students to attend the ASIs scheduled for Europe.

  • Advanced Study Institute Determination: Once NATO has notified DGE that the schedule of institutes is final, and DGE has received the descriptions of each institute, DGE determines which institutes NSF will support. The ASI travel award program supports those institutes that offer instruction in the STEM fields traditionally supported by NSF as published in Guide to Programs. The program will not support institutes that deal with clinical topics, biomedical topics, or topics that have disease-related goals. Examples of areas of research that will not be considered are epidemiology; toxicology; the development or testing of drugs or procedures for their use; diagnosis or treatment of physical or mental disease, abnormality, or malfunction in human beings or animals; and animal models of such conditions. However, the program does support institutes that involve research in bioengineering, with diagnosis or treatment-related goals that apply engineering principles to problems in biology and medicine while advancing engineering knowledge. The program also supports bioengineering topics that aid persons with disabilities. Program officers from other Divisions in NSF will be contacted should scientific expertise outside of DGE be required in the determination process.
  • Solicitation for Nominations: Following the final determination as to which Advanced Study Institutes NSF will support, DGE contacts each institute director to ask for a list of up to 5 nominations to be considered for NSF travel support.
  • DGE/EHR Contact With the Individuals Nominated: Each individual who is nominated by a director will be sent the rules of eligibility, information about the amount of funding available, and the forms (NSF Form 1379, giving our Division of Financial Management (DFM) electronic banking information; NSF Form 1310 (already cleared), and NSF Form 192 (Application for International Travel Grant)) necessary for our application process.
  • The Funding Process:

Once an applicant has been selected to receive NSF travel award support, his or her application is sent to DFM for funding. DFM electronically transfers the amount of $1000 into the bank or other financial institution account identified by the awardee.

Our plan is to have the $1000 directly deposited into the awardee's account prior to the purchase of their airline ticket. An electronic message to the awardee states that NSF is providing support in the amount of $1000 for transportation and miscellaneous expenses. The letter also states that the award is subject to the conditions in F.L. 27, Attachment to International Travel Grant, which states the U.S. flag-carrier policy.Start Printed Page 9113

As a follow-up, each ASI director may be asked to verify whether all NSF awardees attended the institute. If an awardee is identified as not utilizing the funds as prescribed, we contact the awardee to retrieve the funds. However, if our efforts are not successful, we will forward the awardee's name to the Division of Grants and Agreements (DGA), which has procedures to deal with that situation.

We also ask the awardee to submit a final report on an NSF Form 250, which we provide as an attachment to the electronic award message.

  • Selection of Awardees:

The criteria used to select NSF Advanced Study Institute travel awardees are as follows:

1. The applicant is an advanced graduate student.

2. We shall generally follow the order of the nominations, listed by the director of the institute, within priority level.

3. Those who have not attended an ASI in the past will have a higher priority than those who have.

4. Nominees from different institutions and research groups have higher priority than those from the same institution or research group. (Typically, no more than one person is invited from a school or from a research group.)

Use of the Information: For NSF Form 192, information will be used in order to verify eligibility and qualifications for the award. For NSF Form 250, information will be used to verify attendance at Advanced Study Institute and will be included in Division annual report.

Estimate of Burden: Form 192—1.5 hours; Form 250—2 hours.

Respondents: Individuals.

Estimated Number of Responses per Award: 150 responses, broken down as follows: For NSF Form 250, 75 respondents; for NSF Form 192, 75 respondents.

Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 262. 5 hours, broken down by 150 hours for NSF Form 250 (2 hours per 75 respondents); and 112.5 hours for NSF Form 192 (1.5 hours per 75 respondents).

Frequency of Responses: Annually.

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Dated: February 17, 2005.

Suzanne H. Plimpton,

Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation.

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[FR Doc. 05-3495 Filed 2-23-05; 8:45 am]