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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) process for implementing its cooperative research and development (R&D) agreements, focusing on how the DOE approval process: (1) compares with the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) and the Army's processes; and (2) affects laboratory resources and schedules.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Energy 1. Recognizing that DOE is already taking steps to expedite and add flexibility to its existing cooperative R&D agreement processes, the Secretary of Energy should review DOE cooperative R&D agreement strategy and policies. In conducting this review, DOE should consider establishing a visiting committee whose members include officials from industry, academia, and government agencies other than DOE. The Committee should study and report to the Secretary on ways to improve the selection and funding of cooperative R&D agreements.
Closed - Implemented
The Secretary of Energy has directed the Energy Advisory Board to examine and evaluate DOE's cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) implementation process and suggest improvements. As a result, DOE's CRADA process has been simplified and streamlined.
Department of Energy 2. The Secretary of Energy should develop a systematic process for evaluating the impact of completed and ongoing cooperative R&D agreements.
Closed - Implemented
DOE has initiated a pilot CRADA follow-up system that will monitor the outcomes of DOE CRADAs. The system will include a database with information on each DOE CRADA.

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