Best Practices in Assessment of
Research and Development Organizations

Panel for Review of Best Practices in Assessment of
Research and Development Organizations

Laboratory Assessments Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

                   OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu



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Best Practices in Assessment of Research and Development Organizations Panel for Review of Best Practices in Assessment of Research and Development Organizations Laboratory Assessments Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the panel responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract No. SB134106Z011 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Commerce. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the agency that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-26626-0 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-26626-2 Copies of this report are available from Laboratory Assessments Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences National Research Council 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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PANEL FOR REVIEW OF BEST PRACTICES IN ASSESSMENT OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS JOHN W. LYONS, National Defense University, Chair EDWARD A. BROWN, The MITRE Corporation W. WARNER BURKE, Columbia University ROSS B. COROTIS, University of Colorado at Boulder WILLIAM W. CRAIG, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory C. WILLIAM GEAR, Princeton University WESLEY L. HARRIS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ELENI KOUSVELARI, Sandia National Laboratories BERNARD S. MEYERSON, IBM Corporation ELSA REICHMANIS, Georgia Institute of Technology JOEL M. SCHNUR, George Mason University LYLE H. SCHWARTZ, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (retired) Staff JAMES P. MCGEE, Board Director CY BUTNER, Senior Program Officer LIZA HAMILTON, Administrative Coordinator EVA LABRE, Program Associate iv

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LABORATORY ASSESSMENTS BOARD JOHN W. LYONS, National Defense University, Chair CLAUDE R. CANIZARES, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ROSS B. COROTIS, University of Colorado at Boulder JOSEPH S. FRANCISCO, Purdue University C. WILLIAM GEAR, Princeton University HENRY J. HATCH, U.S. Army (retired) LOUIS J. LANZEROTTI, New Jersey Institute of Technology ELSA REICHMANIS, Georgia Institute of Technology LYLE H. SCHWARTZ, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (retired) CHARLES V. SHANK, Howard Hughes Medical Institute DWIGHT C. STREIT, Northrop Grumman Space Technology Staff JAMES P. MCGEE, Board Director CY BUTNER, Senior Program Officer LIZA HAMILTON, Administrative Coordinator EVA LABRE, Program Associate v

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Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for clarity, objectivity, and responsiveness to the charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: David E. Borth, Motorola, Inc. (retired) Jennie S. Hwang, H-Technologies Group and Case Western Reserve University Miriam E. John, Consultant Cherry A. Murray, Harvard University Richard R. Paul, Unites States Air Force (retired) Julia M. Phillips, Sandia National Laboratories Dwight C. Streit, University of California, Los Angeles Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, and they did not see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Joseph S. Francisco, Purdue University. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. vii

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Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 11 Call For the Study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, 11 Statement of Task, 12 The Panel's Study Process, 13 Organization of the Report, 13 2 FRAMEWORK FOR EXAMINATION OF ASSESSMENT PROCESSES 15 Contextual Considerations, 15 Timescales and Multidimensionality of R&D Organizations, 17 Foci of Assessment, 19 Phases of Assessment, 21 What Constitutes an Effective R&D Organization?, 21 Summary of Assessment Framework Considerations, 22 3 ASSESSING MANAGEMENT 23 Customers and Stakeholders, 23 Resource Management, 24 Summary of Findings, 28 4 ASSESSING TECHNICAL QUALITY 29 Characteristics of Quality, 29 How To Assess Quality, 32 Summary of Findings, 37 5 ASSESSING IMPACT 38 Timescales of Impact, 40 Summary of Findings, 41 6 GUIDELINES FOR CONSIDERATION DURING ASSESSMENT 42 Assessing Management, 42 Assessing the Quality of Scientific and Technical Work, 43 Assessing Relevance and Impact, 43 APPENDIXES A Biographical Sketches of the Panel for Review of Best Practices in Research and 47 Development Organizations ix

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B Importance of Alignment Between an Organization's Vision and Its People 52 C Validating the Assessment 54 D Example of Peer Advice During the Planning Phase of R&D 56 E Relevant Statutes and Requirements Documents for U.S. Government Laboratories and 57 U.S. Government Research F The Army Research Laboratory's Process for Ensuring Relevance 58 G Examples of Stakeholders 61 H Questions Pertaining to Assessment of Leadership and Management 64 I Sample Crosscutting Assessments 67 J Assessment at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Army Research 69 Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories K Examples of Peer Review Conducted at Federal R&D Organizations 73 L Metrics Applied by National Research Council Panels to Assessment of the Army 78 Research Laboratory x