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National Research Council (US) Chemical Sciences Roundtable. Assessing the Value of Research in the Chemical Sciences: Report of a Workshop. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1998.

Cover of Assessing the Value of Research in the Chemical Sciences

Assessing the Value of Research in the Chemical Sciences: Report of a Workshop.

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The Chemical Sciences Roundtable (CSR) was established in 1997 by the National Research Council (NRC). It provides a science-oriented, apolitical forum for leaders in the chemical sciences to discuss chemically related issues affecting government, industry, and universities. Organized by the NRC's Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, the Roundtable acts to strengthen the chemical sciences by fostering communication among the persons and organizations—spanning industry, government, universities, and professional organizations—that are engaged in chemically related activities. The principal way in which the CSR does this is to organize workshops that address problems and issues in the chemical enterprise that require national attention.

At its first meeting in February 1997, the CSR identified the topic of assessing the value of research as an issue of increasing importance to all sectors of the chemical sciences. In a world with many needs and limited resources, it is important to find mechanisms to assess the value of various endeavors so that resources can be focused on those activities expected to yield the maximum benefit to humankind and society. These such endeavors include scientific research, long protected by its linkage to national security. But the very nature of scientific inquiry—its inherent complexity and interconnections, long lead times from discovery to demonstration, and focus on the unknown—poses formidable obstacles to developing a set of criteria for predetermining the value of research. To provide a forum for exploring this topic, an organizing committee was formed, and a workshop was planned for September 1997. The resulting workshop, "Assessing the Value of Research in the Chemical Sciences," brought together research managers from government, industry, and academia to review and discuss the mechanisms that have been proposed or used to assess the value of chemical research. The papers in this volume are the authors' own versions of their presentations; the discussion comments were taken directly from a transcript of the workshop. The workshop did not attempt to establish the value of chemical research for the general public, but focused instead on the assessment procedures that have been or will be established within the various organizations that carry out or fund research activities. The expectation for the workshop was not that a single set of assessment techniques would emerge that would be appropriate for all sectors of the chemical research enterprise. Rather, the intent was to allow leaders in each of the areas to share approaches and ideas that will help to identify new and useful ways of assessing the value and potential impact of the research activities for which they are responsible. We believe that the workshop was successful in meeting this goal.

  • Workshop Organizing Committee
  • Thom H. Dunning, Jr., Chair
  • Lila M. Gierasch
  • Robert L. Lichter
  • Thomas A. Manuel
  • Robert S. Marianelli
  • Janet G. Osteryoung
  • Francis A. Via
Copyright © 1998, National Academy of Sciences.
Bookshelf ID: NBK45350


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