Notice & Comment

NSF Seeks Input on Collection of Information for “Large Facilities Manual,” by Shannon Allen

The National Science Foundation (“NSF”) seeks input on the proposed collection of information for a “Large Facilities Manual.”  The NSF intends to administer this information collection for a period of three years.  The NSF’s mission and purpose is “To promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense. . . .” (The National Science Foundation Act of 1950 (Pub. L. 81-507) (“The Act”)).  The Act directs and permits the NSF to start and maintain: basic scientific research and research fundamental to the engineering process; programs to strengthen scientific and engineering research potential; science and engineering education programs at all levels and in all the various fields of science and engineering; programs that provide a source of information for policy formulation; and other activities to promote these ends.

The NSF provides the academic community with “advanced instrumentation needed to conduct state-of-the-art research and to educate the next generation of scientists, engineers and technical workers.”  The NSF ensures that these communities have “access to these resources, and to provide the support needed to utilize them optimally, and implement timely upgrades.”  One of NSF’s major responsibilities is to support facilities which are an essential part of the science and engineering enterprise. Facilities are defined as shared-use infrastructure, instrumentation and equipment that are accessible to a broad community of researchers and/or educators. The NSF awards “universities, consortia of universities or non-profit organizations” to construct, manage, and operate facilities and NSF oversees this development management and performance.

The Large Facilities Manual is intended to: provide step-by-step guidance for NSF staff and awardees to carry out effective project planning, management and oversight of large facilities while considering the varying requirements of a diverse portfolio; clearly state the policies, processes and procedures pertinent at each stage of a facility’s life cycle from development through construction, operations, and termination; and document and disseminate “best practices” identified over time so that NSF and awardees can carry out their responsibilities more effectively.

The proposed collection of information will include the submission of proposals and subsequent project documentation . . . related to the development, construction and operations of Large Facilities.  The NSF will balance its oversight on facilities development and construction against monitoring its information collection in order to address reporting burdens.  The NSF invites the public to specifically comment on:

  • 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; 
  • the accuracy of the Agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; 
  • 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; and 
  • ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Interested parties should submit written comments by January 6, 2015, addressed to:

  • Suzanne Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Rm. 1265, Arlington, VA 22230, OR 
  • by email to:

This post was originally published on the legacy ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Notice and Comment blog, which merged with the Yale Journal on Regulation Notice and Comment blog in 2015.

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