History of the USGCRP

The U. S. Global Change Research Program was established in 1989 to combine and coordinate the research and policy development interests of 15 departments and agencies of the U. S. Government and Executive Offices of the President. The USGCRP is organized under the auspices of the Subcommittee on Global Change Research (SGCR), which is one of the seven environmental issue subcommittees established by the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) [which has replaced the Committee on Earth and Environmental Sciences (CEES)]. In turn, the CENR is one of the 9 committees organized under the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC).

The Subcommittee on Global Change Research includes representatives of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Institute of Standards and Technology), Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services (the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences), Interior, Transportation, and State as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the intelligence community, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Council of Economic Advisers, and the Office of Management and Budget.

To implement the activities described in the USGCRP research framework, the SGCR has established Working Groups that bring together representatives of the participating agencies for regular consideration of program coordination, review of program plans, and development of plans for new projects and activities. The Chairs of these groups, along with the Chair and Vice-Chairs of the Subcommittee, form the Executive Committee of the USGCRP. To ensure effective Program integration across these activities, the SGCR established the Office of the USGCRP in July 1993. This office, which is staffed by the participating agencies and departments, is responsible for drafting of the annual edition of Our Changing Planet and periodic research plans, as well as facilitating the year-to-year planning and day-to-day coordination and communication needs of the Program.

The planning, coordination, and execution of USGCRP research activities are carried out in close association with and in support of the science priorities of the international research community; particularly those put forth by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), the Human Dimensions of Climate Change Programme (HDP); and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP). These efforts underpin the United States participation in and contribution to the international assessments related to aspects of global change.

The USGCRP maintains an active interaction with the National Academy of Sciences through its Board on Sustainable Development, its Committee on Global Change Research, and several other committees and panels of the National Research Council that interface with many of the international scientific research programs.

Program Evaluation

The overall USGCRP is evaluated periodically for scientific merit and continued relevance to the policy process, both domestic and international, by the National Academy of Sciences. Their review draws representatives from academic, institutional, and industrial groups conducting global change research.

Proposed and existing agency programs within the USGCRP are evaluated based on (i) their relevance and contribution to the overall USGCRP goal and objectives, including the needs of decision makers; (ii) scientific merit as documented by peer review; (iii) readiness for implementation and likelihood of early results; (iv) potential for and/or progress toward meeting Program milestones; (v) agency approval for inclusion in the USGCRP; and (vi) conformance to data and information management policies. The framework and evaluation criteria are an essential part of the program and budget development strategy of the USGCRP. They provide the structure through which the USGCRP evaluates and develops: (1) essential, high priority national and international components of the USGCRP in each fiscal year; and (2) the recommended budgets to support those critical components.

In addition to USGCRP review of the overall set of agency research programs, each agency is responsible for the review of individual projects within its programs. These reviews are almost exclusively based on an external peer-review process, which is deemed an important means of assuring continued program quality.

Coordination Office of the U.S. Global Change Research Program

Suite 840
300 D Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20024
(202) 651-8250
(202) 554-6715 FAX (e-mail)

For additional information on program activities, or to obtain a print copy of this document, contact:

Global Change Research Information Office:
1747 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Suite 200
Washington, D.C. 20006
(202) 775-6607
(202) 775-6622 FAX


2250 Pierce Road
University Center, MI 48710
(517) 797-2730
(517) 797-2622 FAX (e-mail)

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Last updated 04/10/96