The U.S. Department of Energy needs to improve how it runs a sprawling network of 17 national research laboratories, with less micromanagement and more ties to industry, according to a new report from an unusual coalition of think tanks.

The U.S. Department of Energy needs to improve how it runs a sprawling network of 17 national research laboratories, with less micromanagement and more ties to industry, according to a new report from an unusual coalition of think tanks.

 “The sad truth is that the institutional management structures that govern the labs have not advanced far beyond the Cold War, and [are] outdated, inflexible, and weakly connected to the marketplace, inhibiting U.S. innovation when we need it most,” argues the report, which was released this week by the politically conservative Heritage Foundation, the liberal Center for American Progress, and the centrist Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), all based in Washington, D.C.

Although the report echoes some long-standing calls for change, “what’s surprising and new is that we were able to bridge the partisan and ideological divide, and get some agreement on how to make the labs more efficient and get more out of limited research dollars,” says co-author Matthew Stepp of ITIF.

Source: Science AAAS | David Malakoff