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Interim Report of the Committee on Research and Peer Review in EPA
will serve a practical or utilitarian purpose.” Examples of EPA's application-directed research are construction of pollutant transportmodels, creation of new monitoring methods, and formulation of ecologicalrisk-assessment frameworks.
Development, defined as “the work required to bring a new process, technique, methodology,or piece of equipment to the production or application stage.” Examplesare field calibration and testing of models, field validation ofmonitoring methods, and pilot-scale optimization of control technologies.
Technical assistance, defined as “the application of specialized technical knowledge or services toassist others in accomplishing their mission.” Examples are riskassessments, quality assurance, site monitoring, peer review, andexpert testimony.
Acknowledging that such categories are somewhat imprecise and subjective,EPA estimated that approximately 29% of ORD's total resources wasdevoted to fundamental research. The other 71% was devoted to application-directedresearch (43%), development (19%), and technical assistance (9%).EPA provided an updated report to Congress in 1994 (EPA, 1994a).
EPA's 1993 report also summarized ORD's “issue-based planning process.” That process was organized around a selected set of 38 environmentalproblems and scientific questions, grouped into 12 broad researchthemes (Table 1). The report described the distribution of resources among the 12themes (Figure 1). The report also stressed several strategic goals for the R&D program, indicating that ORD will seek to place greater emphasison the greatest health risks, important ecological problems, innovativeapproaches to risk reduction, and collaboration with outside scientists.Finally, the report described how ORD's resources have changed eachyear since 1980, noting that its extramural budget has more thandoubled since its low point in 1983, but the total personnel levelin ORD has remained fairly constant since the mid-1980s (Figure 2).
The research program described in Fundamental and Applied Research at the Environmental ProtectionAgency (EPA, 1993) reflects many factors, including the program's historical origins, traditional areas of strength of ORD's laboratories, EPA's regulatory support requirements, directives from Congress, missionambiguities, and resistance to change. But EPA's research programno longer exists as described in the 1993 report. It has been supersededby major changes being made by ORD. Consequently, the committee hasmade its initial assessment of EPA's research program in the contextof those changes, as presented on the following pages.
ORD's “New Beginning”
As the present National Research Council committee began its work,EPA was already making major changes in its research program. Theprocess leading to those changes