The premise upon which this suggested structure is based is the belief that there are senior managers in most of the relevant agencies who acknowledge the value of collaborative research activity. However, within the context of the existing distributed appropriations mechanisms, it is highly unlikely that direct single-line funding for collaborative activities will be provided. Accordingly, the committee proposes a research support structure (see Figure 8.2) that consists of a policy-oriented direction and coordination council and an implementation-oriented steering committee, with the following roles:
Coordination Council. This should consist of senior managers from each of the primary agencies identified above (CDC, EPA, NASA, NCI, NIEHS, NSF, and USGS). This council would focus on the policy aspects of collaborative activity and would include identifying broad research areas, securing commitments from each agency, and identifying the research gaps that need to be filled. The Committee on Environment and Natural Resources of the National Science and Technology Council, administered within the Office of Science and Technology Policy, might provide an appropriate forum or mechanism for the cross-agency collaboration that is required.