Management of Agricultural Research:
Need and Opportunities for Improvement
CED-77-121: Published: Aug 23, 1977. Publicly Released: Aug 25, 1977.
- Full Report:
Although the extremely complex and highly diversified agricultural research system in the United States has made notable contributions to the Nation's well-being, there is an increasing realization that an up-to-date national plan needs to be developed and maintained if the system is to be responsive to future critical problems and needs and if limited public dollars are to be wisely used. The Agricultural Research Service, the largest organization in the Federal-State research system, could improve its research through better planning, project selection, and review of ongoing work.
Until recently, the Service placed most of its emphasis on short-range planning. In fiscal year 1977, the Service recognized the need for long-range planning by categorizing research under national and special research programs and developing a long-range planning document for each program area. Much of the technical and administrative data needed for developing strategies was unavailable, inaccurate, or fragmented.
Recommendation for Executive Action
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Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Agricultural Research Service to: identify and document the relative priorities of each national research program and of each problem and research need within the program areas; develop agencywide criteria and peer review procedures for assessing the scientific and technical merits of all research proposals; and require that the annual unit reports and plans better document the technical aspects of active research projects and be reviewed by technical advisors. The Secretary should also take the necessary steps to have a national agricultural research plan developed and maintained.