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At the request of NASA, an IOM committee reviewed NASA Human Research Program's (HRP's) Scientific Merit Assessment Processes for directed research. Directed research is commissioned or noncompetitively awarded research that is not competitively solicited because of specific reasons, such as time limitations or highly focused or constrained research topics.
The scientific merit assessment processes have been developed by NASA to evaluate individual directed research tasks in order to ensure the scientific integrity of the HRP's directed research portfolio. The committee examined the HRP's current scientific merit assessment processes and conducted a public workshop to identify best practices among other federal agencies that use various assessment processes for similar types of directed research.
Review of NASA Human Research Program's Scientific Merit Processes: Letter Report finds that the scientific merit assessment process used by the HRP for directed research is scientifically rigorous and is similar to the processes and merit criteria used by many other federal agencies and organizations - including the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, and the United States Department of Agriculture - for comparable types of research. This report also makes recommendations on ways to streamline and bolster the accountability and transparency of NASA's current processes.