Although the presence of a clear mandate can provide the impetus for fund raising, few assessments had as clear a mandate at their inception as the NACCI, yet a funding shortfall turned out to be a significant problem. An additional consideration relative to funding is the need for programmatic continuity, especially in light of the potential for major changes in direction that result from changes in administration. Since global change research necessarily requires a long-term perspective, abrupt changes in focus and scope can lead to losses in salience, credibility, and legitimacy.
When preparing a framework to be vetted and approved by the sponsors and participants, it is desirable to have the framework contain sufficient detail to link key activities to resource requirements. Large budget items should be anticipated and agreed upon by the key players, with realistic estimates of costs. Failure to anticipate the full range of funding needs can lead to underfunding and an uncertain outcome. It is difficult to raise funds during an ongoing assessment.
Recommendation: Resources made available to conduct an assessment should be commensurate with the mandate. Therefore, the guidance document for the assessment should clarify the role in scoping the assessment mandate of those who are requesting and funding it. The budgeting of resources should focus on ensuring the success of the highest-priority components of the assessment, including aspects that have been shortchanged in the past, such as supporting broad stakeholder participation, communication activities, and dissemination.
Assessments as well as the activities tailored to support assessments have mobilized a large number of scientists over the last decades. This effort has affected the national and international research agenda and has engaged research institutions and universities in new types of activities. In certain cases, the need to participate in assessments has facilitated the development of new research disciplines or has brought together different scientific communities that had never cooperated in the past.
The Climatic Impact Assessment Program (CIAP) organized in the early 1970s by the U.S. Department of Transportation provides a striking example that illustrates how the need to address a specific and urgent environmental question has contributed to the development of a new research field. CIAP brought together specialists in dynamic meteorology, radiative transfer, and atmospheric chemistry and led to the formation of a new research community that specializes in questions of the middle atmosphere. This community played a decisive role a few years later when the ques-