The Government Accountability Office (GAO) delivered its first priority letter of recommendation to the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), calling on the office to strengthen interagency collaboration around science and technology issues.
As of June 2021, the OSTP had 11 open recommendations from the GAO in seven different reports from the oversight agency, and the new priority letter of recommendation focuses on three of these open recommendations for OSTP. Amid it all, however, the GAO acknowledged that the OSTP had implemented GAO’s recommendations at a faster pace than other agencies.
“As the challenges of the 21st century grow, it is increasingly important for executive agencies to examine how the federal government can maximize performance and results through better collaboration,” says GAO’s latest letter.
“Our previous work has shown that many issues, including those in science and technology, cut across multiple agencies,” GAO said. “In this regard, the OSTP plays a vital role by bringing the agencies together in the committees and sub-committees of the National Science and Technology Council.”
The first two recommendations call on the OSTP Co-Chair to work with other relevant Co-Chairs and Agency Managers “to fully implement leading practices that enhance and sustain collaboration” as the Sub-Committee on open science and the quantum information science subcommittee are moving forward.
The third recommendation calls on the Critical and Strategic Mineral Supply Chains Subcommittee, now known as the Critical Minerals Subcommittee, to “include potentially critical materials beyond minerals, such as developing a plan or strategy to prioritize additional materials for which actions are needed to address data limitations.
“This mechanism offers agencies a valuable opportunity to coordinate the implementation of an administration’s research and development priorities and to address cross-cutting scientific and technological issues, such as scientific integrity, public access to results. of federally funded research, reliability of research results, supply chains for materials and others, ”GAO said of its recommendations.
“Strengthening inter-agency coordination in these areas could help amplify the synergistic effects of related research conducted by different agencies, avoid unnecessary duplication or duplication of research and development efforts, and facilitate the sharing of lessons learned or coordinating actions to solve scientific and technological problems, ”he mentioned.
The GAO said it appreciates the OSTP’s “continued commitment” to the GAO recommendations, and looks forward to working with the OSTP on the remaining 11 open recommendations.