The committee was set up by Newt Gingrich, speaker of the House of Representatives, to update the famous 1945 report by Vannevar Bush, The Endless Frontier, that has formed the basis of US science policy for the past 50 years. Ehlers is vice-chairman of the House of Representatives science committee.

Remarkably, Gingrich has given the committee carte blanche to write the report. "You give me a set of strategic investments large enough worth doing, and then make it my problem to go out and figure out how to find the money", he told the committee last year. Ehlers, in turn, is inviting comment from the scientific community and has set up a Web site to collect input. The report should be completed later this year. Ehlers' committee is not the only body evaluating science policy in the US. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is also conducting its own review.