Inconsistent, Duplicative Regulations Undercut Productivity of U.S. Research Enterprise

From: The National Academies

Inconsistent, Duplicative Regulations Undercut Productivity of U.S. Research Enterprise; Actions Needed to Streamline and Harmonize Regulations, Reinvigorate Government-University Partnership

WASHINGTON — Continuing expansion of federal research regulations and requirements is diminishing the effectiveness of the U.S. scientific enterprise and lowering the return on the federal investment in research by directing investigators’ time away from research and toward administrative matters, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report identifies specific actions Congress, the White House, federal agencies, and research institutions should take to reduce the regulatory burden.

Steps should also be taken to strengthen the nation’s government-university research partnership, which is currently under stress, the report says. It urges Congress to create a public-private Research Policy Board to support this partnership and cooperative efforts to streamline research policies going forward. The report also calls upon universities to demand the highest standards in institutional and individual behavior, noting that some institutions have failed to respond appropriately to researchers’ transgressions.


Congress should create a Research Policy Board to serve as a public-private forum for discussions related to regulation of federally funded research programs, the report says. The board should be a government-enabled, private-sector entity that will foster more effective conception, development, and synchronization of research policies. The board should be formally connected to government through a new associate director position at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and through the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

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