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program proposals, but few of them are aware of GPRA. Their greater involvement in implementing GPRA would be beneficial to the country. Increased contact with and advice from the broader scientific and engineering community regarding both the quality and the leadership position of agency research programs and the relevance of the research to agency missions can benefit the GPRA process.
COSEPUP intends to address mechanisms and guidelines for implementing these recommendations in workshops and meetings with representatives from federal agencies, Congress, OMB, and oversight bodies. Given the diverse portfolio of research conducted by federal agencies and the urgency of addressing the question of how basic research can be evaluated in the context of GPRA, the level of detail and specificity needed in designing procedures and guidelines for implementation was beyond the scope of this report.
The Government Performance and Results Act provides an opportunity for the research community to ensure the effective use of the nation's research resources in meeting national needs and to articulate to policy-makers and the public the rationale for and results of research. We believe that our recommendations can assist federal agencies in complying with GPRA.
For purposes of this study, program refers to a set of activities focused on a particular area that can include multiple projects with different risks, time horizons, and outcomes.
There are at least two aspects of quality—one absolute and one relative. The absolute aspects are related to the quality of the research plan, the methods by which it is being pursued, its role in education when conducted at a university, and the importance of its results to its sponsor, either obtained or expected. The relative aspects pertain to its leadership at the edge of an advancing field. Although the leadership aspect is generally important, the results might in some cases be of great importance to an agency albeit not at the leading edge of a field.