Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Reply [to “Comment on ‘Federal funding at a time of budget austerity’”]



National laboratories are indeed engaged in many educational activities, particularly those with close connections to universities. These activities are especially strong where they are linked to unique facilities or programs, which many are. The NRC report urges greater discipline in assessing their quality and role in education and training, but those institutions that have maintained high quality and that do indeed help educate the next generation about science and technology would fare well under the kind of review proposed. The report urges that federal laboratories focus on mission requirements. It also recommends that federal funding “generally favor” academic institutions. To the extent that some national laboratories function as “academic institutions” in the senses noted in the report, they should not only survive, but prosper. A few clarifications may be useful.