Are the National Labs going in for an overhaul? In this video, the House Energy Subcommittee holds a hearing to examine the Department of Energy’s oversight and management of science and technology activities as they relate to enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the National Laboratory System. The hearing considered ideas and recommendations from three diverse think tanks on how laboratory authorities and management practices could be reformed to better address rapidly changing scientific and technological challenges.
Implementing these reforms would be an important step toward better positioning the labs to tackle 21st century challenges. Increased management flexibility will allow the labs to do more with less. Better alignment between stewardship and funding will improve the ability for DOE to better articulate and implement strategic plans and system-wide missions. And more operating flexibility will allow the labs to make smarter decisions more informed by market realities, enter into productive partnerships, and contribute more fully to the U.S. innovation economy. The end result will be more impactful research, more economic impact, more jobs, and wiser use of taxpayer dollars.
The committee seems to be on board with the recommendation in the report, which is summed up in its last line: “It’s time for the lab system to shed its 20th century coat and don new policies fit for the challenges of the coming decades.”
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