tions. (C-1) When the funding commitment is for a specific project of limited duration, the funding in a field can be adjusted relatively easily. To make resources available or reallocate them to meet new opportunities and needs, it is much easier to cut back or eliminate a program of project grants than it is to disengage from the direct support of institutions. Funding people and projects also facilitates the use of independent review to promote the highest quality of work.

In making decisions about funding research projects in science and engineering, government agencies should emphasize independent review, preferably involving external reviewers. (C-1, C-2) In allocating federal funds, the government typically has established broad priorities and criteria for the distribution of the funds. Individual projects have been funded on the basis of assessment of their merit, often with advice from peer reviewers outside government (although there are exceptions, such as research conducted for national-security purposes). The government has solicited this advice in the belief that the public interest is best served by letting scientists decide, on the basis of their experience, which research is most qualified for support. Competition for research support, with evaluation of merit by peers, helps to create a diversity of highly motivated funders and performers. If independent external review is not used for a program, other forms of rigorous merit review, such as the methods employed successfully at institutions like the Advanced Research Projects Agency and Bell Labs, should be utilized.

The trustworthiness of research results is an integral part of their quality. Traditionally, researchers have relied on each other, on the self-correcting mechanisms intrinsic to the nature of research, and on the traditions of their community to safeguard the integrity of the research process. Yet as research has become more tightly linked to national needs, the accountability of researchers and research institutions supported with public funds has become an increasingly prominent issue.

In defining misconduct in research, different government agencies use different definitions, and some of these include ambiguous categories into which unconventional but acceptable research practices could fall. As discussed in more depth in the box on the previous page, government agencies should adopt a common definition of misconduct in research and avoid ambiguous categories, such as “other serious deviations from accepted research practices.” (C-3) Misconduct in science should instead be defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reporting research. Misconduct should not include errors of judgment; errors in recording, selection, or analysis of data; differences in opinions involving the interpretation of data; or misconduct unrelated to the research process.

For more information on ensuring the quality of research:

  • C-1. Allocating Federal Funds for Science and Technology, Committee on Criteria for Federal Support for Research and Development, 1995

  • C-2. Science, Technology, and the Federal Government: National Goals for a New Era, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, 1993

  • C-3. Responsible Science: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process, Panel on Scientific Responsibility and the Conduct of Research, 1992

We Should Encourage a Broad Range of Careers for Future Scientists and Engineers

Scientists and engineers with PhDs and other advanced degrees play a central and growing role in American industrial and commercial life. They contribute directly to the national goals of technological, economic, and cultural development—not only as researchers and educators, but in a wide variety of other professional roles. And as the country responds to expanded economic competition, urgent public-health needs, environmental degradation, new national-security challenges, and other pressing issues, a widening variety of professions and organizations are hiring the roughly 26,500 people who receive PhDs in science and engineering each year (up from 18,000 a decade ago).

Science and engineering PhDs have the qualifications and talents to serve in a broad variety of occupations that will contribute to the economy and society. But a mismatch between the numbers of new PhDs and traditional research-oriented jobs in academe has led to considerable frustration and disappointment among young scientists and engineers. Fewer than one-third of those who received PhDs in science and engineering in 1983–1986 were in tenure-track positions or had tenure in 1991. New PhDs are often spending more and more time as postdoctoral fellows while they wait for permanent jobs to become available. Staff reductions and restructuring in industry and government also have reduced



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Science and Engineering Research in a Changing World tions. (C-1) When the funding commitment is for a specific project of limited duration, the funding in a field can be adjusted relatively easily. To make resources available or reallocate them to meet new opportunities and needs, it is much easier to cut back or eliminate a program of project grants than it is to disengage from the direct support of institutions. Funding people and projects also facilitates the use of independent review to promote the highest quality of work. In making decisions about funding research projects in science and engineering, government agencies should emphasize independent review, preferably involving external reviewers. (C-1, C-2) In allocating federal funds, the government typically has established broad priorities and criteria for the distribution of the funds. Individual projects have been funded on the basis of assessment of their merit, often with advice from peer reviewers outside government (although there are exceptions, such as research conducted for national-security purposes). The government has solicited this advice in the belief that the public interest is best served by letting scientists decide, on the basis of their experience, which research is most qualified for support. Competition for research support, with evaluation of merit by peers, helps to create a diversity of highly motivated funders and performers. If independent external review is not used for a program, other forms of rigorous merit review, such as the methods employed successfully at institutions like the Advanced Research Projects Agency and Bell Labs, should be utilized. The trustworthiness of research results is an integral part of their quality. Traditionally, researchers have relied on each other, on the self-correcting mechanisms intrinsic to the nature of research, and on the traditions of their community to safeguard the integrity of the research process. Yet as research has become more tightly linked to national needs, the accountability of researchers and research institutions supported with public funds has become an increasingly prominent issue. In defining misconduct in research, different government agencies use different definitions, and some of these include ambiguous categories into which unconventional but acceptable research practices could fall. As discussed in more depth in the box on the previous page, government agencies should adopt a common definition of misconduct in research and avoid ambiguous categories, such as “other serious deviations from accepted research practices.” (C-3) Misconduct in science should instead be defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reporting research. Misconduct should not include errors of judgment; errors in recording, selection, or analysis of data; differences in opinions involving the interpretation of data; or misconduct unrelated to the research process. For more information on ensuring the quality of research: C-1. Allocating Federal Funds for Science and Technology, Committee on Criteria for Federal Support for Research and Development, 1995 C-2. Science, Technology, and the Federal Government: National Goals for a New Era, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, 1993 C-3. Responsible Science: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process, Panel on Scientific Responsibility and the Conduct of Research, 1992 We Should Encourage a Broad Range of Careers for Future Scientists and Engineers Scientists and engineers with PhDs and other advanced degrees play a central and growing role in American industrial and commercial life. They contribute directly to the national goals of technological, economic, and cultural development—not only as researchers and educators, but in a wide variety of other professional roles. And as the country responds to expanded economic competition, urgent public-health needs, environmental degradation, new national-security challenges, and other pressing issues, a widening variety of professions and organizations are hiring the roughly 26,500 people who receive PhDs in science and engineering each year (up from 18,000 a decade ago). Science and engineering PhDs have the qualifications and talents to serve in a broad variety of occupations that will contribute to the economy and society. But a mismatch between the numbers of new PhDs and traditional research-oriented jobs in academe has led to considerable frustration and disappointment among young scientists and engineers. Fewer than one-third of those who received PhDs in science and engineering in 1983–1986 were in tenure-track positions or had tenure in 1991. New PhDs are often spending more and more time as postdoctoral fellows while they wait for permanent jobs to become available. Staff reductions and restructuring in industry and government also have reduced

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Science and Engineering Research in a Changing World US Graduate Education in the Sciences and Engineering More than 600 public and private institutions offer master’s or doctoral degrees in science and engineering. In the last year on which data are available (1993), these institutions awarded about 80,000 master’s degrees (1993) and 26,500 doctoral degrees (1995) in science and engineering (compared with 72,000 and 19,000, respectively, in 1986). Most of the growth in the graduate-student population has been due to an increased number of foreign students studying in the United States. This group received 32% of the doctorates in 1992 (up from 19% in 1982). Historically, about half these students leave the United States after receiving their degrees or after serving postdoctoral appointments. About 450,000 people with doctoral degrees in science and engineering from US universities work in this country. In 1991, 45% worked in 4-year colleges and universities (down from 57% in 1973), 3% in other educational institutions, 36% worked in business and industry (up from 24% in 1973), 6% worked in the federal government, 2% in state and local governments, 3% in hospitals and clinics, 4% in other nonprofit organizations, and the remaining 1% in other occupations. For more information: Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, 1995 the number of jobs focused on basic research. Despite the difficulties in finding jobs in basic research, hiring in other fields has been vigorous enough to keep the overall unemployment level of PhDs relatively low. For example, an increasing number of doctorate recipients are engaged in applied research, development, and management in industry. Those changes have important implications for the graduate education of scientists and engineers. Graduate training and particularly the pursuit of the PhD traditionally have focused on the preparation of young scientists and engineers for academic careers. But more than half of PhDs now work in nonacademic settings, where they often need to call on a broad range of skills. This nation has a strong interest in ensuring that talented and skilled people continue to pursue science and engineering careers and are well prepared for the careers that they pursue. Government can help colleges and universities to meet these objectives in several ways. Federal agencies should move toward the use of education and training grants to provide financial support to graduate students. (D-1) These grants should be awarded competitively to institutions and departments that work to enhance the versatility of students, both through curricular innovation and through more-effective faculty mentoring to acquaint students with the full range of employment options. Such versatility would enable students to contribute to national goals in academic and nonacademic jobs. The federal government also should help to establish a national database on employment options and trends in science and engineering. (D-1) The database should be designed and managed by the research community and used both by students and by their advisers to learn more about graduate programs and possible career tracks. For more information on the research workforce: D-1. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, 1995 Outstanding Scientists and Engineers are Needed in the Federal Government The federal government has a particular interest in science and engineering education: it is the largest employer of scientists and engineers with more than 200,000 holders of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in science and engineering on federal payrolls. In the past the government has encountered difficulties in recruiting and retaining highly qualified people because of restrictions on pay and professional advancement. The Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990 gave agencies the authority to ease these restrictions, but implementation of the act has been uneven. Federal agencies need to have flexibility in compensating employees, including scientists and engineers. (E-1) Although several promising pilot programs are under way, departments and agencies need greater latitude in redressing pay inequities and rewarding superior performance among scientists and engineers. A “senior research and development service,” modeled on the Senior Executive Service, could help to maintain a high-performance workforce for senior positions. At the top of the federal workforce are fewer than 80 presidentially appointed persons who give direction to the entire federal effort in science and technology. The federal