Interagency Laboratory Use:
Current Practices and Recurring Problems
PSAD-79-97, Sep 4, 1979
A review of contracting between Federal agencies for laboratory research and development tasks examined the extent and types of interagency laboratory use, the advantages of such arrangements, and the constraints and management problems which accompany interagency work.
Interagency laboratory work is one means to efficiently and effectively use the Government's research and development resources. There is no Government-wide policy or coordinating mechanism which specifically addresses contracting by one Federal agency with the laboratories of another. Rather, the missions, policies, practices, and capabilities of each agency require, encourage, or limit the nature and extent of interagency laboratory use. While interagency laboratory work occurs for a number of reasons and offers many advantages, concerns about relevance of work to a laboratory's mission and limits on available personnel can restrict the type or extent of interagency laboratory use. Interagency work is also accompanied by its own management problems. However, this review did not disclose any Government-wide problem with the ability of agencies to have research performed at other agencies' laboratories, indicating that, overall, cross-agency research needs can be satisfactorily handled. Nevertheless, the problems and constraints require continuous and aggressive attention by agency managers.