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Committee Approves of NSF Cooperative Research Centers

December 13, 1996

A panel of external evaluators has concluded that the National Science Foundation's State/Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (S/I/UCRC) Program supports NSF's strategic goals. The panel also found that "the development of cooperative research centers involving states, industries and NSF can be an important contributing element to maintaining and developing a competitive US industry."

The S/I/UCRC program was established in 1991 as the result of discussions between NSF and the National Governors' Association's Science and Technology Council of the States (STCS). There have been three competitions for awards and a total of 13 awards have been made. This is the first time a Committee of Visitors (COV) has evaluated the program.

The COV found that a critical issue in the program is the difficulty in obtaining initial state funding commitments and then assuring the commitments over the duration of the program. The three-part funding requirement (state, industry and NSF) "represents a significant challenge..." and the COV recommended that the funding aspect of the S/I/UCRC program be evaluated in depth. It also recommended that a state entity, such as an economic development agency, and official contact should be clearly identified as part of the proposal process.

Contact SSTI at 614/421-SSTI (7784) for more information on the report.