The committee concluded that at the time of this study no agency had found a method of evaluating the efficiency of research based on the ultimate-outcomes of that research. Most of the methods proposed by agencies to measure efficiency addressed only particular aspects of research processes but not the research itself. In the committee’s terminology, this means that agencies are focusing on process efficiency and not on investment efficiency.
The committee also concluded that sound evaluation of research should not over-emphasize efficiency, as reflected in the charge questions. The primary goal of research is knowledge, and the development of new knowledge depends on so many conditions that its efficiency must be evaluated in the context of quality, relevance, and effectiveness in addressing current priorities and anticipating future R&D questions. The criterion of relevance and timely application of the outputs from R&D in ORD and in certain program offices to the regulatory process is particularly important at an agency like EPA.