background information provided by HRP staff throughout the study process.

In conducting its review, the committee held four meetings to gather and review available information, plan and conduct a public workshop, and draft and fine-tune its report and recommendations. In January 2012, the committee held its first meeting via conference call. During this meeting, HRP staff briefed the committee on the mission and organization of the HRP and the scientific merit assessment processes3 that are currently used for its directed research tasks. At its second meeting, which was held in March 2012, the committee conducted a public workshop in Washington, DC, that included participants from a range of federal agencies and organizations, including the CIHR, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Departments of Energy (DOE) and Veterans Affairs (VA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NSF, and the U.S. Army and Navy, as well as researchers who had submitted research proposals that had gone through the HRP merit assessment processes for directed research (see Appendix A for the meeting agenda and complete participant list). The workshop was organized into four roundtable discussions that allowed the committee to explore the practices and processes of federal agencies and other organizations in identifying directed research, assessing its scientific merit, monitoring and evaluating the progress of directed tasks, and evaluating the overall directed research processes to ensure high-quality outcomes.4 The workshop also provided the committee with an additional opportunity for an open dialogue with NASA staff to further discuss the HRP merit assessment processes for directed research. The committee’s third and fourth meetings were conducted via conference call in April and May 2012 to finalize the recommendations and report.

To augment the information-gathering sessions and background information provided by NASA, and to better inform the committee’s deliberations, a search was conducted to identify available literature,


3The scientific merit assessment processes for directed research are detailed in the HRP’s Unique Processes, Criteria, and Guidelines document (NASA, 2011d) and are also described in the PowerPoint slides presented at the IOM committee’s March 2012 workshop (Charles, 2012). The committee does not provide an in-depth description of the current merit assessment processes in this letter report.

4Prior to the workshop the committee asked the participants to provide background information and respond to questions about the merit assessment processes used for directed research in their agency or organization. This information is available by request through the National Academies’ Public Access Records Office.

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