House Panel continues to investigate science priorities



The House science committee held the second of three hearings to address priority setting in federal research funding. At the April 28 hearing, four witnesses from both the public and private sectors agreed that scientists must become more involved in setting priorities, even if the mechanisms to do so are still being developed.

The lead witness, former Ohio governor Richard F. Celeste, now chairman of the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable, contended that “priority setting is essential” but cited “deep concern about excessive planning, too much specificity in setting research priorities for fundamental research.” He said that broad participation is critically important, calling for a national forum where “institutions could discuss and compare their plans and priorities.” Over the next two years the roundtable plans a series of focus groups and national colloquia to examine priority setting and strategic planning.