U.S. Science and Engineering Base:

A Synthesis of Concerns About Budget and Policy Development

RCED-87-65: Published: Mar 25, 1987. Publicly Released: Mar 25, 1987.

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GAO studied the elements of the federal budget process and organizational framework involved in setting policies and priorities for resource allocations that affect the U.S. science and engineering base.

GAO found that: (1) although the federal government is the major patron of fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering, its role is pluralistic and decentralized; (2) the federal government approves continuing grants for a specified period of time, but usually funds them only for 1 year; (3) multiyear funding would require substantive new legislation or provisions in appropriations acts; (4) the effectiveness of arrangements to foster interagency oversight and planning for science and technology depends on the degree of presidential interest and support; and (5) while the leadership for determining science policy is clearly placed with the Executive Office, Congress could consider alternatives to focus congressional attention on broad-based planning for and oversight of the science and engineering base.

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