|Best Practices in Assessment of Research and Development Organizations
Research and development (R&D) organizations are operated by government, business, academe, and independent institutes. The success of their parent organizations is closely tied to the success of these R&D organizations. In this report, organizations refers to an organization that performs research and/or development activities (often a laboratory), and parent refers to the superordinate organization of which the R&D organization is a part. When the organization under discussion is formally labeled a laboratory, it is referred to as such. The question arises: How does one know whether an organization and its programs are achieving excellence in the best interests of its parent? Does the organization have an appropriate research staff, facilities, and equipment? Is it doing the right things at high levels of quality, relevance, and timeliness? Does it lead to successful new concepts, products, or processes that support the interests of its parent?
This report offers assessment guidelines for senior management of organizations and of their parents. The report lists the major principles of assessment, noting that details will vary from one organization to another. It provides sufficient information to inform the design of assessments, but it does not prescribe precisely how to perform them, because different techniques are needed for different types of organizations.
Best Practices in Assessment of Research and Development Organizations covers three key factors that underpin the success of an R&D organization: (1) the mission of the organization and its alignment with that of the parents; (2) the relevance and impact of the organization's work; and (3) the resources provided to the organization, beginning with a high-quality staff and management.
|A Review of the Manufacturing-Related Programs at the National Institute of Standards and TechnologyFiscal Year 2012
The mission of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) enables NIST to provide broad support for the advancement of U.S. manufacturing. Research and services supporting manufacturing are intended to be an important component in all of the NIST laboratories. Moreover, since manufacturing is a major part of the U.S. economy, the growth or loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs is a very important issue. Clearly, the successful execution of NIST's programs supporting manufacturing will have a significant impact on manufacturing jobs in the United States. With the multidisciplinary, multisector, and crosscutting nature of manufacturing, the Director of NIST requested that the National Research Council (NRC) assess the manufacturing-related programs at NIST in 2012.
Accordingly, a panel of experts was convened by the National Research Council to perform the assessment. The Panel on review of the Manufacturing-Related Programs at the national Institute of Standards and Technology visited the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland, on March 26-28, 2012. A Review of the Manufacturing-related Programs at the National Institute of Standards and Technology: Fiscal Year 2012 contains the results of the panel's assessment.
The assessment considered manufacturing research at NIST broadly, with emphasis on the specific advanced manufacturing areas: Nanomanufacturing (including Flexible Electronics); Smart Manufacturing (including Robotics); and Next-Generation Materials Measurements, Modeling, and Simulation. The area of Biomanufacturing also reviewed as a subset of the Nanomanufacturing review. As is to be expected for programs covering such wide scope, the boundaries among these broad areas are not rigid and there is some overlap among them. On the basis of its assessment, the panel formed the observations and recommendations which are detailed in this report.
|Managing for High-Quality Science and Engineering at the NNSA National Security Laboratories
The three National Security Laboratories--Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)--are managed by private-sector entities under contract to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The FY2010 Defense Authorization Act mandated that NNSA task the National Research Council (NRC) to study the quality and management of Science and Engineering (S&E) at these Laboratories.
This study (addressing a total of 5 tasks) is being conducted in two phases. This report covers the first phase, which addresses the relationship between the quality of the science and engineering at the Laboratory and the contract for managing and operating the Laboratory (task 4), and also addresses the management of work conducted by the Laboratory for entities other than the Department of Energy (task 5). The study's second phase will evaluate the actual quality of S&E in key subject areas.
Managing for High-Quality Science and Engineering at the NNSA National Security Laboratories presents assessments of the evolution of the mission of the NNSA Labs and the management and performance of research in support of the missions, and the relationship between the Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program and the ability of the Labs to fulfill their mission. The report examines the framework for managing science and engineering research at the Labs and provides an analysis of the relationships among the several players in the management of the Labs--the NNSA, the site offices, the contractors, and the Lab managers--and the effect of that relationship on the Laboratories' ability to carry out science and engineering research.