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Memorandum - Heads Of Executive Departments And Agencies

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FY 2000 Interagency Research and DevelopmentPriorities

SUBJECT: FY 2000 Interagency Research and DevelopmentPriorities

Through the National Science and Technology Council(NSTC), Federal agencies and departments have identified a set of researchand development (R&D) areas that are important national efforts requiringcoordinated investments across several agencies. As with all R&D investments,these interagency priority areas should reflect our objectives of maintainingexcellence, maximizing effectiveness, and minimizing costs. This memorandum,rather than providing an exhaustive list of all Administration R&Dpriorities, focuses on those activities that require a significant levelof interagency coordination.

Investment Principles

The Administration's approach to science andtechnology investments is guided by several fundamental principles. Ingeneral, Federal R&D investments should: a) Sustain and nurtureAmerica's world-leading science and technology enterprise, through pursuitof specific agency missions and through stewardship of critical researchfields and scientific facilities; b) Strengthen science, math, and engineeringeducation, ensure their broad availability, and contribute to preparingthe next generation of scientists and engineers; c) Focus on activitiesthat require a Federal presence to attain national goals, including nationalsecurity, environmental quality, economic growth and prosperity, and humanhealth and well being; and/or d) Promote international cooperation in scienceand technology.

More specifically, in making investment decisions on Federal R&D,the Administration will:

Favor investments that focus on long-term, potentially high-payoffactivities and outcomes that would not occur in the absence of a Federalpresence, such as activities in the 21st Century Research Fund.
Favor activities that employ competitive,peer-reviewed processes.
Encourage collaborative arrangements withother agencies, industry, academia, the States, and appropriate overseas/foreigncounterparts.
Encourage agencies to fund program proposalswithin FY 2000 budget guidance, rather than requesting additional funding,in keeping with our continuing effort to maintain a balanced Federal budget.The Administration encourages agencies to fund new, high-priority activitiesby substituting them for lower-priority or recently-completed activities.
R&D Performance Measures

We encourage agencies to include the following R&D goals and measuresin their agency performance plans. The Government Wide Performance Planthat accompanied the President's FY 1999 budget included similar measuresfor Function 250 activities.

      Federally funded research will beof high quality
We encourage each agency to establish a goalfor the percent (by amount of funds) of its research project portfoliothat will be allocated on the basis of a merit-based competitive process.(In the President's FY 1999 budget, the goal is 80 percent or greater forFunction 250 activities.)
We encourage agencies to ensure that independent assessments of theirresearch programs evaluate both the quality and the progress of the agencies'research toward stated goals. The goal will be to achieve a "satisfactory"rating from such assessments, consistent with the format provided in theGovernment Performance and Results Act. Existingadvisory committees, groups within the National Academy of Sciences, orother outside groups could conduct the assessment.
Major scientific facilities will be built andoperated efficiently As established by law in the Federal AcquisitionStreamlining Act, agencies will keep the development and upgrade of facilitieson schedule and within budget, not to exceed 110 percent of estimates.In operating R&D user facilities, agencies will establish a goal forunscheduled down time as a percent of total scheduled possible operatingtime. (In the President's FY 1999 budget, the goal is less than 10 percentunscheduled down time.) 
Research and Development Budgets for Interagency Priorities

NSTC coordinates selected interagency science and technology investmentpriorities. Interagency priorities that require high-level attention inthe President's budget submission to Congress are managed as interagencycrosscuts. The NSTC has also identified a number of special emphasis areasthat require budget oversight within the Executive branch but that do notrequire formal budget crosscuts. These special emphasisareas do not constitute a comprehensive list of all NSTC priorities. TheNSTC is actively involved in a number of interagency R&D issues that,unlike the issues outlined below, do not require near-term Administrationpolicy or budget decisions, but are nevertheless important, ongoing activities.

NSTC Crosscuts

The FY 2000 budget will include four interagencyR&D crosscuts. Agencies and departments should be prepared to demonstratetheir commitment to these priorities, if relevant to their missions, aspart of their budget discussions with, and FY 2000 budget requests to,the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), as well as in their responsesto the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). OMB's Circular A-11,a revised version of which will be available in the early summer, outlinesthe definitions of these crosscuts and how agencies must submit data toOMB. The four cross-cutting R&D areas are:

    1. Climate Change Technology Initiative
    2. U.S. Global Change Research Program
    3. Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles
    4. High Performance Computing and Communications (including Next GenerationInternet)
The President has called for a significant funding increase in long-terminformation and communications R&D within agency budget allocations.Agency budget submissions should reflect the President's directive by includingproposals for new and expanded activities within the High Performance Computingand Communications crosscut.  To promote more uniform management and accounting, each interagencyprogram must include the following:
     1. Concise program performance goals and measures, finalizedin time to be sent to OMB as part of the FY 2000 Budget submission. Goalsand measures should be quantitative if possible, but may be qualitativewhere appropriate.
    2. A program implementation plan for the FY 2000 budget outlining specificagency activities and budgets, and the linkages between them. Agency activitiescontributing to the crosscut should be tied clearly to overall crosscutgoals and performance measures. Agency budget information should includeestimates for FY 1999-2004. Funding for the crosscut activities shouldbe within OMB budget guidance. Activities whose funding cannot be accommodatedwith the budget guidance should be clearly delineated. Agencies shouldprovide such information in a timely fashion if they plan to participatein the interagency program; late submittals may not be accepted. Implementationplans should be finalized no later than September, 1998.
    3. Written assurance, incorporated in the crosscut implementation plan,by each participating agency that all agencies involved in the crosscuthave reviewed each other's projects, and that these projects directly contributeto the goals and objectives of the crosscut and are well coordinated.
    4. Budget hearing with OSTP and OMB staff in September, 1998.
    5. Supplement to the President's budget, to be released to the publicno later than end of March, 1999.
This schedule emphasizes the requirement for agencies to coordinate andshare information on development of the FY 2000 budget as part of eachinteragency program.

We will work with you in the coming months through the NSTC to ensurethat each interagency program achieves these results.

Areas of Special Emphasis

In addition to the crosscutting programs listed above, the NSTC is alsocoordinating activities in a variety of other fields. In the followingareas of special emphasis, the NSTC will be working to understand and compareongoing programs across agencies and to identify gaps and overlap in theseprograms. Departments and agencies participating in NSTC activities inthese special emphasis areas will be asked to report on their participationin the NSTC working group during their budget hearings this fall. OMB andOSTP staff who have also participated in the working groups will attendthese hearings and engage the presenters in a dialogue on how the departmentor agency is supporting the President's policies in these areas. In thecoming months, the Administration may make significant policy and budgetdecisions in the following areas of special emphasis:

1. Learning and Teaching: Support researchto better understand the learning process and to apply that understandingto the development and evaluation -- particularly through large scale,long-term, and experimental studies -- of educational systems, technologies,and other approaches aimed at improving educational and training outcomes.Upcoming FY 2000 budget decisions will be based on a coordinated interagencyplan that addresses priorities identified by an NSTC Interagency WorkingGroup on the Education Research Initiative. The plan should reflect recommendationscontained in the report from the President's Committee of Advisors on Scienceand Technology on the Use of Technology to Strengthen K-12 Educationin the United States. 2. Critical Infrastructure Protection: Promote andcoordinate research to reduce vulnerabilities in our Nation's criticalinfrastructures; promote the research and development of technologies thatwill detect, contain, and mitigate attacks against or other failures inthese infrastructures. Upcoming decisions will focus on assessment of progressand responsiveness to a forthcoming Presidential Decision Directive, andon whether to transition this effort into a formal crosscut. 3. Aviation Safety and Security: Support research and development aimedat: (a) Reducing the aviation fatal accident rate by a factor of five withinten years; (b) Modernizing our aging air traffic control system using advancedinformation, communication, and navigation technologies; and (c) Enhancingthe security of air travel. These activities are in response to the recommendationsof the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security. Upcomingdecisions include whether to adjust investments and responsibilities basedon issues raised in the interagency coordination plan, and whether to transitionthis effort into a formal crosscut. 4. Emerging Infectious Diseases: Continue to implementthe activities called for in the President's policy - Presidential DecisionDirective NSTC-7. Upcoming decisions will focus on assessment of agencyinvestments in priority activities and whether to develop this effort intoa formal crosscut that captures the breadth of the policy for EmergingInfectious Diseases - technologies and methodologies for surveillance andresponse, research, and training. 5. Science for Sustainable Ecosystems: Develop theknowledge base, information infrastructure, and modeling framework to helpresource managers predict/assess environmental and economic impacts ofstress on vulnerable ecosystems, with particular focus on invasive species,water and air pollution, changes in weather and climate, and land and resourceuse. Upcoming FY 2000 budget decisions will be based on analysis of theexisting research portfolio and coordinated interagency plans reflectingpriorities recommended by the President's Committee of Advisors on Scienceand Technology and the National Research Council. 6. Plant Genome: Promote the coordinated developmentof plant genomic information, new technologies, and resources that willimprove our understanding of plant biology and be applied to the enhancementof economically important plants. Upcoming FY 2000 budget decisions willbe based on coordinated interagency plans that address the program prioritiescontained in the 1998 NSTC report National Plant Genome Initiative.In addition, agencies will be expected to provide plans on engaging theprivate sector and international partners.  7. Food Safety: Promote food safety researchthat provides a scientific foundation for sound food safety policy, innovationsin food production to increase safety, consumer education to improve foodsafety practices, and global monitoring (surveillance) and response tooutbreaks of food-borne illnesses. Upcoming FY 2000 budget decisions willbe based on coordinated interagency plans that address the program prioritiesestablished by NSTC Interagency Working Group on Food Safety Research.Specifically, priorities must reflect the President's Food Safety Initiativeand be based on an assessment of the existing research portfolio.


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