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Scope of Work
The purpose of this project is to re-envision the government organizations that award research grants, and to explore ways to support their transformation into the future. The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be co-lead government participants. The lead research partner will be the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany/SUNY. These three organizations will investigate the challenges facing the research enterprise in order to lay the groundwork for a subsequent workshop on this topic. The workshop will involve federal grants-making organizations and researchers from a variety of fields.

The plan of work includes 5 phases:

Preliminary interviews. Interviews will be conducted with a variety of individuals with varying relationships with granting organizations in order to understand the various perspectives that are part of the research enterprise.

An internal NSF workshop to define the characteristics of an ideal proposal and grants management process. We will then compare that ideal process to the current one and identify obvious points for process change, challenges for the organization, policy issues, and preliminary ideas about the use of new technology. The workshop should also serve to reveal the important differences among programs, divisions, and directorates, as well as the kind and amount of interaction and knowledge sharing that is desirable.

Best and current practice research will be carried out in parallel with the interviews and first workshop. CTG researchers will investigate the grants management processes used in other organizations. These will include other federal agencies, private sector organizations that support very large R&D operations, and nonprofit grant-making organizations.

An external workshop will include the NSF participants from the first workshop, plus an invited list of experts in the technologies, topics, and issues that emerged as important in the first workshop and the best practice review. This workshop will focus on discussion of the similarities and differences in experiences among agencies. We will identify ways in which emerging and advanced technologies, organizational practices, and policies can be applied to achieve the ideal process. This will include actions that can be taken now as well as topics that require new research.

The final workshop report will summarize the context, issues, and results of the project.