GUIRR was created to provide a unique forum for dialogue among top government, university and industry leaders of the national science and technology enterprise. The participation of the federal science and technology leadership in an open dialogue and informal exchange of ideas precludes making formal recommendations or offering specific advice to federal agencies. Instead, the Roundtable seeks to stimulate new approaches by direct engagement of government, university, and industry leaders in their respective spheres.
There are three formal categories of GUIRR membership:
- GUIRR COUNCIL MEMBERS include the three presidents of The National Academies, the heads of major federal R&D agencies (for non-R&D agencies, the head of the largest R&D-performing subdivision), and a small selection of university presidents and industry CEOs, as appointed by The National Academies presidents. With the exception of the federal agency officials, who serve as long as they are in office, Roundtable Council members are appointed to staggered three-year terms.
- COUNCIL ASSOCIATES are designated by individual federal agency heads as their alternative representatives to GUIRR.
- UNIVERSITY-INDUSTRY PARTNERS are representatives from universities and industries with a history of partnerships and dedication to the research enterprise. They act, in effect, as an "antenna" to bring into GUIRR discussions the most current ideas and issues facing government-university-industry research cooperation across the country, and to help disseminate ideas. More information on how to join GUIRR through the University-Industry Partners Program.
A fourth member category was established in 2012:
- GUIRR DISTINGUISHED FELLOWS are individuals who are former Council members and have either (1) served the maximum allowable two consecutive three-year terms or (2) no longer qualify as federal ex officio members because their federal appointment was during a previous Administration, and yet these individuals wish to remain engaged in Roundtable activity. GUIRR’s Executive Committee reviews and approves nominations of individuals for this special member category.