advisor position. He or she could direct efforts to extend ORD’s successful multiyear science plans to an agency-wide plan that integrates science needs of the programs and the regional offices with the scientific efforts of ORD, program offices, and regions. With such leadership in place, regional administrators, program assistant administrators, and staff members at all levels need to be held accountable for ensuring scientific quality and the integration of individual science efforts with broader efforts throughout the agency. Even with the full support of the administrator and senior staff, the effort will fail if the need to improve the use of science in EPA is not accepted by staff at all levels.
More effective coordination and integration of science efforts within the agency. Given the need for integrated, transdisciplinary, and solutions-oriented research to solve 21st century environmental problems, the existing structure focused on ORD as the “science center” that establishes the scientific agenda of EPA will not be sufficient; ORD only conducts a portion of EPA’s scientific efforts, and more than three-fourths of EPA’s scientific staff work outside ORD. Instead, efforts to strengthen EPA science will need to incorporate efforts, resources, expertise, and scientific and nonscientific perspectives of program and field offices. Such efforts need to support the integration of both existing and new science throughout the agency; avoid duplication or, worse, contradictory efforts; respect different sets of priorities and timeframes; and advance common goals.
Strengthened scientific capacity inside and outside the agency. Optimizing resources, creating and benefiting from scientific exchange zones, and leading innovation through transdisciplinary collaborations will require forward-thinking and resourceful scientific leadership and capacity at various levels in the agency. In such a situation, EPA would need to use all its authority effectively, including pursuing permanent Title 42 authority, to recruit, hire, and retain the high-level science and engineering leaders that it needs to maintain a strong inhouse research program. EPA would also need to maintain a “critical mass” of world-class experts who have the ability to identify and access the necessary science inside or outside EPA and to work collaboratively with researchers in other agencies. Mechanisms through which that could be achieved include sabbaticals and other leave, laboratory rotations, and the Science to Achieve Results fellowship program. The committee found that a particular area where EPA lacks expertise is in the social, behavioral, and decision sciences.
Support of scientific integrity and quality. Critics of EPA’s regulations (as either too lax or too stringent) have sometimes charged that valid scientific information was ignored or suppressed, or that the scientific basis of a regulation was not adequate. EPA’s best defense against such criticisms is to ensure that it distinguishes transparently between questions of science and questions of policy in its regulatory decisions; to demand openness and access to the scientific data and information on which it is relying, whether generated in or outside the agency; and to use competent, balanced, objective, and transparent procedures for selecting and weighing