A concept for performance management for Federal science programs

Open-File Report 2017-1143



The demonstration of clear linkages between planning, funding, outcomes, and performance management has created unique challenges for U.S. Federal science programs. An approach is presented here that characterizes science program strategic objectives by one of five “activity types”: (1) knowledge discovery, (2) knowledge development and delivery, (3) science support, (4) inventory and monitoring, and (5) knowledge synthesis and assessment. The activity types relate to performance measurement tools for tracking outcomes of research funded under the objective. The result is a multi-time scale, integrated performance measure that tracks individual performance metrics synthetically while also measuring progress toward long-term outcomes. Tracking performance on individual metrics provides explicit linkages to root causes of potentially suboptimal performance and captures both internal and external program drivers, such as customer relations and science support for managers. Functionally connecting strategic planning objectives with performance measurement tools is a practical approach for publicly funded science agencies that links planning, outcomes, and performance management—an enterprise that has created unique challenges for public-sector research and development programs.

Suggested Citation

Whalen, K.G., 2017, A concept for performance management for Federal science programs: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017-1143, 16 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171143.

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Section I.—Strategic Planning and Science Program Objective Synthesis
  • Section II—Integrated Performance Management
  • Discussion
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title A concept for performance management for Federal science programs
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2017-1143
DOI 10.3133/ofr20171143
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Seattle
Description iv, 16 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y