Statement of Task

The Institute of Medicine will conduct a review of the scientific merit assessment processes used to evaluate NASA Human Research Program’s directed research tasks. The study will include a public workshop focused on identifying and exploring best practices in similar peer-reviewed applied research programs in other federal government agencies. The study will also evaluate the scientific rigor of the NASA processes and the effectiveness of those processes in producing protocols that address programmatic research gaps.

The committee will produce a report that provides an evaluation of the review processes and decision-making criteria. The report will also recommend the metrics that are needed to assess the effectiveness of the scientific merit assessment process in approving directed research projects that meet the operational needs of NASA.

Questions to be addressed include

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current decision criteria and scientific merit assessment review process regarding directed research?

Is this an adequate suite of options for review of directed research and technology tasks?

What best practices can be identified in other federal or state agencies or other organizations that can inform the NASA processes and program?

What metrics should the HRP use to assess the quality of the directed task merit review process?

previously conducted research under the HRP, were familiar with the HRP’s research portfolio and operations, had specific knowledge of peer review processes, or were familiar with scientific merit assessment processes used in other organizations and federal agencies, such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR); National Institutes of Health (NIH); National Science Foundation (NSF); and U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Defense (DOD), and Transportation (see Appendix B for committee biosketches). The committee appreciates this opportunity to advise the HRP’s efforts to improve the current scientific merit assessment processes for directed research and appreciates the

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