PRESIDENT CLINTON: STRENGTHENING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT-UNIVERSITY RESEARCH
December 29, 2000
"More than any other nation in the world, we rely on a partnership
between our government and our public and private research
universities to conduct research that improves our economy, health,
and national security, while also training our future science and
technology workforce. It is vitally important that this partnership
be equitable and effective to sustain U.S. leadership across the
frontiers of scientific knowledge."
December 29, 2000
Research and education lie at the heart of this Administration's investment
in America's future. That is why President Clinton has issued an Executive
Order that strengthens the research partnership between American
universities and the Federal government. The Executive Order establishes
the principles that will provide the framework for the development and
analysis of future Federal policies and regulations for the
government-university research partnership. It also directs the Office of
Science and Technology Policy to conduct regular reviews of the research
partnership in full consultation with all stakeholders.
One of the hallmarks of the U.S. research enterprise is the reliance on
public and private universities to perform basic research in the national
interest. Government supported basic research at our nation's universities
represents a dual investment in the future of the nation: helping to assure
the health, security, and quality of life of our citizens, while also
training our future scientific and technical workforce. Recognizing the
importance of the synergy in this relationship and of its continued
effectiveness, the President has established a set of principles to serve
as a sound foundation for this partnership.
For the first time the common goals, rationale and objectives of the
partnership are set forth. They are incorporated in four guiding
? Research Is an Investment in the Future. Government sponsorship of
university research ? not only to conduct research, but also to train the
next generation of scientists and engineers ? is an investment in the
future of the nation, helping to assure the health, security, and quality
of life of our citizens.
? The Linkage Between Research and Education Is Vital. The integration
of research and education is the hallmark and strength of our nation?s
universities. The intellectual development and scientific contributions of
students who participate in Federally-sponsored research are among the most
important benefits of publicly-supported research.
? Excellence Is Promoted When Investments are Guided by Merit Review. A
well-designed merit review system rewards quality and productivity in
research, and can accommodate endeavors that are high-risk that have the
potential for high pay-off.
? Research Must Be Conducted with Integrity. The ethical obligations
entailed in accepting public funds in the conduct of research are of the
highest order. The credibility of the collective enterprise relies on the
integrity of each of its participants.
The following operating principles are intended to assist agencies,
universities, individual investigators, and auditing and regulatory bodies
in implementing the guiding principles:
? Agency Cost Sharing Policies and Practices Must be Transparent.
Agencies should be clear about their cost sharing policies and announce
when and how cost sharing will figure in selection processes, including
explicit information regarding the amount of cost sharing expected.
? Partners Should Respect the Merit Review Process. Excellence in
science is promoted when all parties adhere to merit review as the basis
for distributing Federal funds for research projects and refrain from
seeking Federal funds through non-merit-based means.
? Agencies and Universities Should Manage Research in a Cost-Efficient
Manner. The goal of all those involved in sponsoring, performing,
administering, regulating, and auditing university-based research and
associated educational activities of the research enterprise should be to
make maximum resources available for the performance of research and
? Accountability and Accounting Are Not the Same. The principal measure
of accountability must be the research results and whether the work was
consistent with the original scope of the proposed research. Equally
important, but different, are sound financial accounting methods, which are
important to assure research sponsors that public funds have been used
properly to achieve the goals in a cost-effective manner.
? The Benefits of Simplicity in Policies and Practices Should Be Weighed
Against the Costs. When it comes to simplicity in regulatory, accounting,
and administrative practices the goal is to maximize the impact of each
research dollar spent. Therefore, one size doesn't necessarily fit all.
? Change Should be Justified by Need and the Process Made Transparent.
The process of change in the government-university partnership should be
made as transparent as possible. Modifications in administrative,
regulatory, auditing requirements, or in cost sharing expectations, should
be kept as infrequent as possible but consistent with the need to respond
to changing circumstances.
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