Cabinet secretaries or agency directors respond to presidential priorities and guidance. The National Science and Technology Council is a vehicle for coordinating cross-agency programs and assessing the adequacy of the entire FS&T budget. Budgets reflect federal fiscal realities, the results of performance evaluations, and the recommendations of special laboratory-review commissions, and they allow for trade-offs to support new opportunities and new missions by closing out projects and laboratories with outmoded missions or poor evaluations.

A response to the President's stated priorities from the director of the National Institutes of Health and the secretary of Health and Human Services, for example, might look like the following:

"Dear Mr. (or Ms.) President:

"We recommend the termination of programs focused on A and the reduction of those focused on B, following an external review. The savings from those closings and reductions will total $XX million this year, but savings in future fiscal years will be larger, as shown in the accompanying projection. We propose to reallocate $X of those savings to high-priority items and emerging opportunities and problems. In response to your national priorities, we propose to increase funding for research by $X on the causes of violence and interventions to prevent it at the National Institute of Mental Health. In accord with your wishes to increase the national investment in the genetic origins of disease, $X million has been allocated, with $X going to the National Center for Human Genome Research, and the remainder going to several relevant institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as shown in the accompanying chart....

"Since the time of initial budget planning, we have become aware of the alarming spread of the "alpha" virus, a new infectious agent. The agent was identified by the rapid response of investigators in the NIH intramural research program, working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an international collaboration. We have used a fraction of the NIH discretionary account from the current fiscal year to fund small grant supplements to several academic health centers, as well as several laboratories in the intramural program of the NIH. Given the public health risk to the American people, we believe this is an urgent national priority, and NIH needs to mount a much larger and more permanent research program, including an extramural research effort to accompany our new intramural commitments. We request an additional $X million for this purpose...."

From: Conclusions, Recommendations, and Discussion

Cover of Allocating Federal Funds for Science and Technology
Allocating Federal Funds for Science and Technology.
National Academy of Sciences (US) Committee on Criteria for Federal Support of Research and Development.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1995.
Copyright © 1995, National Academy of Sciences.

NCBI Bookshelf. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.