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GAO work in the area of science and technology is directed toward evaluations that address the organization and process of science and technology policymaking, the science and technology resource base, relationships within the science and technology system, and application and diffusion of science and technology. The primary purpose is to support congressional oversight and decisionmaking on science and technology issues that cut across program areas. Pressures for more and better science and technology and pressures for more accountability for the use of public funds and more attention to preventing the negative consequences of science and technology will increasingly influence the outlook for U.S. science and technology. Twelve lines of effort have been identified that will merit the attention of GAO over the next 18 months. These include: (1) improvements that can be made in the information provided to Congress to support decisionmaking on research and development priorities; (2) the methods by which long-range planning for science and technology should be carried out; (3) how the Federal Government should be organized for science and technology policymaking; (4) how National Science Foundation basic research policies and programs ensure appropriate balance among scientific accountability, financial accountability, and administrative effectivess; (5) what can be done to address issues concerning the administration of basic research that are common to more than one Federal agency; (6) what the appropriate Federal role in the development and use of human resources in science and technology is; (7) what relationships the Federal Government should foster with and among different research performers in the United States; (8) how Federal, State, and local governments interact to promote the effective use of science and technology to address problems of national scope; (9) the role the United States should play in the world science and technology community; (10) how Federal policies can improve the climate for innovations that will foster economic growth and improve the quality of life; (11) defining the Federal Government's role in the application of social and behavioral science to innovation in the private sector; and (12) improving the accessibility of science and technology information.

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