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Notice

Notice of Intent To Seek Approval To Extend a Current Information Collection

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AGENCY:

National Science Foundation.

ACTION:

Notice and Request for Comments.

SUMMARY:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is announcing plans to request clearance of this collection. In accordance with the requirement of Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13), we are providing an opportunity for public comment on this action. After obtaining and considering public comment, NSF will prepare the submission requesting that OMB approve clearance of this collection for no longer than 3 years.

DATES:

Written comments on this notice must be received by May 5, 2008 to be assured of consideration. Comments received after that date will be considered to the extent practicable.

ADDRESSES:

Written comments regarding the information collection and requests for copies of the proposed information collection request should be addressed to Suzanne Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Rm. 295, Arlington, VA 22230, or by e-mail to splimpto@nsf.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Contact Suzanne H. Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 295, Arlington, Virginia 22230; telephone (703) 292-7556; or send e-mail to splimpto@nsf.gov. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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.

Expiration Date of Approval: May 31, 2008.

Type of Request: Intent to seek approval to extend a current information collection for three years.

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 Start Printed Page 12223NATO'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 $1,000 into the bank or other financial institution account identified by the awardee.

Our plan is to have the $1,000 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 $1,000 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.

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 reports.

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.

Comments: Comments are invited on (a) whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; or (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.

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Dated: March 3, 2008.

Suzanne H. Plimpton,

Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation.

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[FR Doc. E8-4343 Filed 3-5-08; 8:45 am]

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