with the tools and support described above. 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.


ORD often sets the stage for research and scientific assessment efforts throughout EPA. In 2011, the deputy administrator for ORD, Paul Anastas, announced a restructuring of the office in response to growing scientific challenges and recommendations from the agency’s scientific advisers. The SAB called for integrated transdisciplinary research at ORD, stating that “it will be essential for EPA as a whole, and not just ORD alone, to adopt a systems approach to research planning. It will also be essential to plan and conduct research in new, integrated, and cross-discipline ways to support this systems approach” (EPA SAB 2010). The ORD restructuring aims to

•   Align ORD’s research with the agency’s strategic goals.

•   Reorient ORD’s research to be guided by the concept of sustainability.

•   Promote systems thinking and innovation.

•   Couple excellence in problem assessment with excellence in solving problems.

•   Encourage integrated, transdisciplinary research among ORD labs and through external funding.

The realignment consolidates 13 previous research sectors into four cross-cutting sectors of research and two overarching sectors, as shown in Table 5-1.

In October 2011, SAB and ORD’s Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) published a review of ORD’s structure (EPA SAB/BOSC 2011). SAB and BOSC noted the “impressive increase in transdisciplinary collaboration as well as coordination across ORD programs with the restructuring.” They also made note of ORD efforts to think about innovation operationally as a fundamental aspect of ORD research. SAB and BOSC gave ORD particular credit for having involved regional and program offices in designing the realignment and for giving serious consideration to ways of encouraging creativity among ORD scientists and engineers (EPA SAB/BOSC 2011).

Several key conclusions emerged from the SAB and BOSC review, including suggestions that

•   EPA ensure that financial and staff resources are adequate to implement the restructuring and are secured to sustain the communication, stakeholder involvement, and integrated transdisciplinary collaboration that will be essential for its success.

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