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Upcoming Events

Third International Conference -
Local Authorities Confronting Disasters and Emergencies

The Third International Conference - Local Authorities Confronting Disasters and Emergencies will be held June 26-July 1, 1998 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. For more information, visit the conference's web site at http://www.freenet.edmonton.ab.ca/disaster or email directly to: Herb Presley, Disaster Services Officer, Alberta Transportation and Utilities, email: preslh@censsw. gov.ab.ca.

Innovations in Structural Design:
Strength, Stability, Reliability

The Symposium on Innovations in Structural Design: Strength, Stability, Reliability will be held June 6-7, 1997 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The symposium is being held in honor of Professor Ted Galambos, who recently retired from the University of Minnesota. For more information, contact Susan Potratz-Johnson, Professional Development and Conference Services, 214 Nolte Center, 315 Pillsbury Dr., S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455; phone: (612) 625-5886; email: spotratz@mail.cee.umn.edu.

1997 American Control Conference

The 1997 American Control Conference will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico on June 4-6, 1997 with workshops on June 2, 3 and 7. For more information, visit the conference web site at: http://www.eece.unm.edu.us/controls/ACC97 or contact General Chair, Naim A. Kheir, phone: (810) 370-2177; fax: (810) 370-4633; email: kheir@vela.acs.oakland.edu.us; Registration Chair, M. Edwin Sawan, phone: (316) 978-3415; fax: (316) 978-3853; email: ed@shocker.ee.twsu.edu.us; Workshop Chair, Michael K. Masten, phone: (972) 995-7986; fax: (972) 927-4168; email: m.masten@ieee.org.us.

Seismic Design Practice into the Next Century - Research and Application

The Sixth Society for Earthquake and Civil Engineering Dynamics (SECED) Conference on Seismic Design Practice into the Next Century - Research and Application will take place March 26-27, 1998 at the University of Oxford, U.K. For more information, contact Rachel Coninx, Thomas Telford Conferences, Institution of Civil Engineers, One Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AA, UK, phone: (+44) (0) 171-665-2314; fax: (+44) (0) 171-233-1743; email: coninx_r@ice.org.uk or visit the web site at http://www.t-telford.co.uk/co/conflist.html.

Call For Papers

1997 Meeting, Eastern Section - SSA

The 69th Annual Meeting of the Eastern Section of the Seismological Society of America will be held October 5-8, 1997 in Ottawa, Canada. Papers dealing with seismicity, tectonics, seismic hazards, real-time seismology, earthquake source studies, ground motion, and earthquake engineering are invited. For more information, contact Gail Atkinson, phone: (613) 520-2600 ext. 1399; email: esssa@ccs.carleton.ca or visit the web site at http://www. seismo.nrcan.gc.ca/esssa97. Abstracts are due by August 29, 1997.

Northridge Earthquake Research Conference

The Northridge Earthquake Research Conference will be held August 20-22, 1997 in Los Angeles, California. The conference will highlight results obtained in research projects in many disciplines, including earth science, engineering, and social science and emergency management. Papers which summarize research findings are invited. For more information, contact Northridge Earthquake Research Conference, California Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering, 1301 South 46th St., Richmond, CA 94804; phone: (510) 231-9557; fax: (510) 231-5664; email: curee@nisee.ce.berkeley.edu. Abstracts are due May 2, 1997.

Long-Span and High-Rise Structures

The International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering is sponsoring the Long-Span and High-Rise Structures - Engineering Challenges for the 21st Century symposium, to be held September 2-4, 1998 in Kobe, Japan. Papers dealing with design issues, structures and their environments, caring for structures, and case studies are invited. For more information, contact: Symposium Secretariat, IABSE, ETH Hönggerberg, CH-8093, Zurich, Switzerland, phone: (+41) 1-633-2647; fax: (+41) 1-371-2131; email: secretariat@iabse.ethz.ch or visit the web site at http://www.iabse.ethz.ch. Abstracts are due June 15, 1997.

1997 SEAOC Annual Convention:
Practical Based Design

The Structural Engineers Association of California will hold its 1997 Annual Convention in San Diego, California on September 25-27, 1997. Papers on structural analysis, design, construction and rehabilitation of building structures, bridges, and other structures are invited. For more information, contact Craig Rush, 1997 SEAOC Convention, R2H Engineering, Inc., 11545 W. Bernardo Ct., Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92127; phone: (619) 673-8416; fax: (619) 673-8418. Abstracts are due May 15, 1997.

NSF Implements New Merit Review Criteria

Last year the National Science Foundation and the National Science Board formed a Task Force to suggest changes to NSF's merit review criteria, which had not been revised since 1981. The Task Force unveiled its proposed criteria in November 1996 (see FYIs #162 and #163, 1996) and made them available to the scientific and engineering communities for public comment. Based on the 325 responses received over a two-month period, the Task Force revised its draft criteria and presented them to the NSB at its March 27-28, 1997 meeting. The Board approved the new criteria and authorized NSF Director Neal Lane to "proceed expeditiously with all steps necessary" to implement them for all proposals reviewed beginning October 1, 1997.

The Task Force reduced the number of criteria reviewers must consider from four to two. Each of the criteria has a set of related questions to help reviewers evaluate the proposals. The instructions make clear that the two criteria "need not be weighted equally." Reviewers are asked to provide separate comments for each criterion, a single composite rating of the proposal, and a summary recommendation that addresses both criteria.

Based on the public comments, the Task Force altered its proposed criteria and associated questions to place more emphasis on researcher competence, and to clarify wording on issues of diversity, creativity, benefits to society, and management of the research plan. Some questions were rephrased to encourage reviewers to provide explanations rather than yes-no answers. The Task Force believes that "adoption of the new criteria will facilitate, clarify and simplify the proposal evaluation process." The revised criteria, as approved by the National Science Board, are quoted as follows:

1. What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?

The following are suggested questions to consider in assessing how well the proposal meets this criterion: How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field and across different fields? How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, please comment on the quality of prior work.) To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative and original concepts? How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? Is there sufficient access to resources?

2. What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?

The following are suggested questions to consider in assessing how well the proposal meets this criterion: How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning? How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships? Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding? What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?

Reprinted from the American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News, No. 52, April 8, 1997.

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Last modified May 16, 1997