Assessing the Value of Research in the Chemical Sciences

Agenda | Workshop Report | Speaker Biographies


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.