[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 52 (Tuesday, March 18, 2014)]
[Pages 15162-15163]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-06036]



Interagency Funding for Research and Engineering Projects 
Conducted by Federal Researchers

AGENCY: Office of Science and Technology Policy.

ACTION: Notice of Request for Information.


SUMMARY: This Request for Information (RFI) solicits input from the 
public regarding interagency research awards via competitive grants, 
contracts, or other vehicles provided by a Federal agency to a 
researcher at a Federal laboratory that is managed, owned, or operated 
by another Federal agency. Applicable research awards include 
extramural research awards awarded to intramural researchers in Federal 
laboratories. Federal laboratories include Government-Owned, 
Government-Operated laboratories (GOGOs) and Federally Funded Research 
and Development Centers (FFRDCs). Research awards pay for research 
projects and supporting resources, including the salaries of the 
principal investigators. The public input provided in response to this 
Notice will inform the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) 
as it works with Federal agencies and other stakeholders to develop 
best practices for agencies.

DATES: Responses must be received by 11:59 p.m. on April 14, 2014, to 
be considered.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods.
     Downloadable form/email: To aid in information collection 
and analysis, OSTP encourages responses to be provided by filling out 
the downloadable form located at http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/library/shareyourinput and email that form, as 
an attachment, to: [email protected]. Please include ``Interagency 
Research Award'' in the subject line of the message.
     Fax: (202) 456-6071.
     Mail: Attn: Reynolds Skaggs, Office of Science and 
Technology Policy, 1650 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC, 20504. 
Information submitted by postal mail should allow ample time for 
processing by security.
    Response to this RFI is voluntary. Respondents need not reply to 
all questions listed, but should indicate in their responses the number 
of the question to which they are responding. Responses to this RFI, 
including the names of the authors and their institutional 
affiliations, if provided, may be posted online. OSTP therefore 
requests that no business-proprietary information, copyrighted 
information, or personally-identifiable information be submitted in 
response to this RFI. Please note that the U.S. Government will not pay 
for response preparation, or for the use of any information contained 
in the response.



    Scientists and Engineers (S&Es) who do research and development on 
behalf of the U.S. Government can compete for research funding through 
a number of mechanisms, including an interagency agreement, memorandum 
of understanding, grant, contract, or other transaction agreement. OSTP 
and STPI have observed that there exist a number of barriers with the 
potential to limit or prohibit the use of these and other mechanisms on 
an interagency basis, such as legislation, regulation, interagency 
agreement, agency policy, program policy, or practices. Policies and 
practices that can hinder interagency research awards include outright 
prohibitions, limitations on funding, and added administrative burdens. 
In addition, agencies vary with respect to the permeability of 
interagency research awards and this inconsistency leads to 
inefficiencies and occasionally redundancies. For example, some 
agencies allow researchers from other Federal agencies to compete for 
extramural funding, and provide funding to such extramural Federal 
laboratory employees whose proposals successfully compete for those 
awards. However, other agencies limit the funding provided to S&Es 
working in Federal laboratories under

[[Page 15163]]

the jurisdiction of other agencies by, for example, not paying salaries 
or fringe benefit payments.
    This RFI offers the opportunity for the public to identify 
challenges and opportunities for improving Federal interagency research 
funding awards to support the best and brightest researchers. For the 
purposes of this RFI, interagency research awards describe one Federal 
agency funding the research efforts of a scientist or engineer employed 
by a Federal laboratory managed, owned, or operated by another Federal 
agency using competitive processes. To ensure each agency is funding 
the highest quality research and engineering projects, the Office of 
Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is considering the potential 
challenges and opportunities associated with allowing all intramural 
S&Es, both Federal and contractually employed by Federally Funded 
Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) to compete for funding from 
other agencies, in addition to their own.
    OSTP seeks input from all stakeholders who have suggestions for 
best practices to minimize limitations and administrative burdens 
associated with interagency research awards. Through this RFI, OSTP is 
interested in the views of S&Es at Federal laboratories--Government 
Owned, Government Operated and FFRDCs--who have experienced difficulty 
when attempting to secure competitive research funding from an agency 
other than their own, as well as from others who have experience or 
ideas relating to the following questions:
    1. As a Federal laboratory researcher, what difficulties have you 
experienced when attempting to secure competitive research awards from 
another agency?
    a. If known, please describe the nature of the difficulty. For 
example, the difficulty may have been an outright prohibition, a 
limitation on funding, an added administrative burden, or some other 
    b. Please describe how your agency or the other agency contributed 
to the difficulty, if applicable.
    c. If you know the source of the difficulty (legislation, 
regulation, interagency agreement, agency policy, program policy, 
practices, other), please provide details.
    d. Please describe how you were able to secure research funding 
from the other agency despite the difficulties. If you were unable to 
secure research funding, please describe why not.
    2. How has difficulty to secure research funding from other 
agencies impacted your research?
    3. Does your department or agency have a set of best practices 
related to competitive interagency research awards? If so, please 
identify the department or agency and share those best practices if 
    4. Do you have suggested guidance for agencies to improve 
consistent access to research funding for all Federal laboratory 
researchers, irrespective of departmental or agency boundaries?

Ted Wackler,
Deputy Chief of Staff and Assistant Director.
[FR Doc. 2014-06036 Filed 3-17-14; 8:45 am]