Origins of the Review

         Neither universities nor the Federal government have remained immune from the historic shifts that have taken place in the last decade, including the globalization of the economy; the growing interdependence of the economy and scientific and technical advances; the increasing reliance of industry on universities for the performance of basic research; and the continuing importance of research universities to the economic prosperity of states and regions. The partnership between the Federal government and the nation’s research universities must evolve along with these changes so that it can continue to be effective and efficient and serve the nation into the next century.

         It was with these considerations in mind that in September 1996 the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology issued Presidential Review Directive - 4. In directing the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) to review the government-university partnership and recommend ways to strengthen it, the President’s Science Advisor was acting on the recommendations of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, state governors, industry leaders, elected officials, and leaders in education. The NSTC was charged to assess the policies, programs, and regulations that shape the partnership, associated educational activities, and the administration of research. The goal was to examine the fundamental principles that support the partnership; promote cost-effective university-based research, ensure fair allocation of research costs, and support the linkage between research and education, all while maintaining appropriate accountability for expenditure of public funds.

NSTC Task Force

       The review was carried out by a multiagency task force chaired by the Associate Director for Science of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The task force membership including representation from the following Federal agencies: The Departments of Agriculture, Energy, and Defense, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Office of Management and Budget. The task force was supported by a working group with representation from the same agencies. The task force solicited and reviewed the views of universities, university associations, and of other Federal agencies that support university research for input into its deliberations in preparing the report.

The National Conversation

       With the release of the report Renewing the Federal Government-University Research Partnership for the 21st Century, the NSTC is initiating a national conversation on the principles that should govern the partnership between government and universities. There are a variety of mechanisms for participating in this national conversation. For more information, please see Upcoming Events and Your Comments to the left.

       Assisting the Office of Science and Technology Policy in conducting the national conversation is the RAND Science and Technology Policy Institute, a center within RAND that helps improve public policy by providing research and analysis to OSTP and other government agencies concerned with public policy affecting science and technology. RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision making through research and analysis.

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