OCTOBER 23, 1996

Good morning.

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the "student-scientist partnerships conference." I am delighted to be here today, but I'm even more pleased that all of you are here.

Science is perhaps the one endeavor in life where all of us are students. That's the fun of it. Research is really about learning. It is arguably the oldest process by which scientific knowledge has been both discovered and passed on since the dawn of civilization. And, at least for many of us, the "more senior" we get as scientists, the more "student-like" we become in our awareness of how much more we have to learn and in our desire to keep at it.

Your presence today illustrates your commitment to learning and the collaboration of science and education.

We at the National Science Foundation share that same commitment. Because our primary partnership is with universities and colleges, we are dedicated to the principle of integrating research and education at all academic levels. And, by "integrating research and education," we simply mean insuring that student learning benefits from being embedded in an environment where research is carried out, where free inquiry and discovery are the culture. And, we have developed several programs that encourage and reward individuals and institutions that have directed their careers and programs toward this goal.

We especially need to explore the possibilities of new partnerships between research and education at the primary and secondary school levels. It is not clear how to do this successfully. But this is the only way we can expect to produce the finest scientists and engineers for the 21st century, raise the scientific and technological literacy of all Americans, and continue to lead all nations in scientific, and technological progress. Professional scientists and engineers, researchers as well as technical practitioners, have to be a part of the process.

Today's students will spend their careers in a 21st century workplace that presents complex and open-ended challenges requiring considerable skills with technology and communications. The students who will eventually thrive in this environment are those who have been educated in an inquiry and discovery rich climate. It is all our hope that with such partnerships eventually all students will have the opportunity to fully participate in and benefit from such alliances.

This conference is a major step in that direction. We look forward to learning from all of you. I applaud you all for your efforts.

Thank you.