As Congress sends mixed signals on funding, USDA, NOAA, and EPA promise to go beyond their in-house staffs
Efforts by three federal agencies to increase their use of extramural scientists could mean more funding for academic research, but only if Congress cooperates.

The United States Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency plan to expand programs that give out money for extramural, peer-reviewed research. The action is in response to recommendations by outside panels.

But the extent to which Congress will go along with the policy is not clear. At both EPA and NOAA, such extramural programs received 1991 budget increases that fell short of expectations. At USDA, a hefty increase in the agency's extramural competitive grants program comes with the requirement that overhead costs be held to a level that is one-third or less what institutions usually charge the government.

Such restrictions...

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