News & AnalysisU.S. National Laboratories

As Budgets Tighten, Washington Talks of Shaking Up DOE Labs

Science  12 Jul 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6142, pp. 119
DOI: 10.1126/science.341.6142.119

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Summary

The Department of Energy's 17 national labs, which spend some $12 billion annually on a wide range of research, are considered a crown jewel of U.S. science. But as federal budgets tighten, lawmakers and others are asking if the government is getting the most for its money. This week, a House of Representatives science panel will discuss a report from three think tanks that recommends major management changes. The hearing comes weeks after a Senate panel voted to create a new national commission to examine the lab's effectiveness. The discussion marks the third time in 2 decades that policymakers have moved to reassess how the labs are managed, organized, and funded.