a forecast of potential results; however, a positive assessment against these attributes was then considered the best possible indicator of the eventual impact and relevance of the organization and the R&D that it performed.

•   A clear and substantive mission,

•   A critical mass of assigned work,

•   A highly competent and dedicated workforce,

•   An inspired, empowered, highly qualified leadership,

•   State-of-the-art facilities and equipment,

•   An effective two-way partnership with customers,

•   A strong foundation in research,

•   Management authority and flexibility, and

•   A strong linkage to universities, industry, research institutes, and government organizations.

Attributes of effective organizations are also proposed in a National Research Council report assessing Department of Defense basic research,7 the NIST Baldridge criteria for performance excellence,8 and reports by Jordan and Binkley that suggest numerous attributes of effective R&D organizations.9,10


An effective assessment will include an evaluation of an organization’s management, the quality of its research and development activities, the impact of the effort, and associated interrelationships. Both qualitative and quantitative measures are required to assess management, quality, and impact. The context of the assessment is critically important in designing and carrying out an assessment and will differ depending on the mission and type of organization. Assessments are generally self-assessments, commissioned external assessments requested by the organizations themselves, or independent external assessments commissioned by and reported to stakeholders. Effective assessment of a research organization requires measurements over multiple timescales.


7 National Research Council, 2005. Assessment of Department of Defense Basic Research. The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.

8 National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2011. NIST Baldrige Program: 2011–2012 Criteria for Performance Excellence. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md.

9 G. Jordan and J. Binkley, 1999. Attributes of a Research Environment That Contribute to Excellent Research and Development. Sandia Report SAND99-8519. Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, N. Mex.

10 G. Jordan, L. Streit, and J. Binkley, 2003. Assessing and improving the effectiveness of national research laboratories. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management 50(2).

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