Results from a demonstration project aimed at cutting red tape in federal grants for basic research at universities are "very encouraging" so far, according to Don I. Phillips, executive director of the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable. The roundtable is coordinating the experimental effort, with the participation of five major federal agencies as well as the Florida state university system and the University of Miami (a private institution in Coral Gables, Fla.).
Under the project, special conditions apply to grants from the participating agencies to individual researchers at the participating universities: Investigators do not have to ask the agency's permission for changes in budget allocations, purchases of permanent equipment, or foreign travel. Grant money can be spent up to a year after the grant ends without a special request. Under this plan, researchers, with agency approval, can also ask to have their entire research program covered as a single administrative entity, rather than as several individual projects.