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Briefing Date:01/30/2008
Topic:Evaluating Research Efficiency in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

National Research Council
Policy and Global Affairs Division and
Division on Earth and Life Studies
Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy and
Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology


Congressional Briefings
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
406 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg. – 1:00 p.m.
B-308 Rayburn House Office Bldg. – 2:00 p.m.
2318 Rayburn House Office Bldg. – 3:00 p.m.


Evaluating Research Efficiency in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Gilbert S. Omenn, Professor of Internal Medicine, Human Genetics, Public Health, and Computational Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI and Chairman, Committee on Evaluating the Efficiency of Research and Development Programs at the Environmental Protection Agency, National Research Council, The National Academies

In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked the National Academies for assistance in developing better assessment tools to comply with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART), with emphasis on efficiency. Evaluation of R&D programs has proved challenging for federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a mission-oriented agency with a substantial research component. All agencies have experienced difficulties in complying with the PART requirements to measure the efficiency of their research, to use outcome-based metrics in doing so, and to achieve and quantify annual efficiency improvements.

In response to EPA’s request, the National Academies’ Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) and the National Research Council Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology (BEST) convened a committee which prepared the report, Evaluating Research Efficiency in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This report addresses the efficiency measures now used for federally funded R&D programs and evaluates whether they are sufficient and are based on outcomes, not only inputs and outputs. The committee provides principles that it hopes will guide the development of efficiency measures for federally funded R&D programs and makes recommendations about efficiency measures for EPA’s basic and applied R&D programs and about OMB’s review process.

These briefings were for members of Congress and congressional staff only. The report was publicly released on January 31, 2008 and can be found, in its entirety, on the Web site of the National Academies Press.

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