The U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Resources Program Five-Year Plan, 2006-2010
MRP employs many approaches to seeking feedback on the value of its research and data collection and the effectiveness of its products. Information on these issues is sought in many places and through many mechanisms, including: (1) soliciting NRC reviews every 5-7 years, (2) customer surveys every 3 years, (3) meeting with customers at scientific and technical meetings, (4) initiating direct contact with customers particularly when projects are planned or are concluding, (5) collection and analysis of web statistics, (6) convening and/or contributing to scientific and technical stakeholder meetings, and (7) participating in interagency steering committees.
Beginning in 2005, MRP will have an advisory committee established under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Eight external members will be selected by the USGS Director based on established records of distinguished service and expertise in mineral resources and earth materials and will represent the industrial, academic, and governmental mineral and earth materials communities. The governmental members will include at least one member each from the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service and one member from state government. The draft charter for this advisory committee describes its function as:
The Committee shall periodically review the five-year plan and scientific and technical progress of the Mineral Resources Program, including goals and objectives, capabilities and research needs, guidance on achieving major objectives, and establishing and utilizing performance goals. The Committee may review current or future mineral science and earth materials issues as they relate to the Mineral Resources Program and make recommendations to the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) regarding those issues. Issues to be examined may be recommended by consensus of the Committee or by the Chair. The Committee will submit an annual report relating reviews and recommendations to the Director of the USGS.
Baselines and funding targets for MRP projects are listed in the Geology Discipline Annual Science Plans, annual project work plans and proposals, and in annual Federal budget justifications. Each project proposing to conduct MRP-funded research is reviewed by a panel of internal and external subject matter experts to ensure that it addresses USGS and MRP science plan priorities and goals, that it is designed to meet the stated goals within the time and budget available, that appropriately skilled staff are assigned to conduct the work, that appropriate stakeholders have been identified and contacted, and that the anticipated products will meet the needs of the intended audience. Projects with expected lifetimes of more than three years are reviewed at the middle of their expected life span (typically in the third or fourth year). End-of-project reviews are conducted to ensure that products met stated goals and that results were communicated effectively to the intended audience; if not, corrective measures are taken.