Ask Your Senators to Help Reduce Regulatory Burden

Congress can help research by streamlining burdensome and duplicative regulations.

Regulatory oversight is essential to ensure the responsible conduct of research. This includes fiscal accountability, laboratory safety, and the welfare of human and animal subjects. Nevertheless, some federal regulations have grown so complex that complying with them diverts time and effort that should be going to research.

A 2012 survey by the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) found that federally-funded researchers spend an average of 42% of their research time on administrative activities such as regulatory compliance.

A March 2014 report by the National Science Board (NSB) zeroed in on this problem: “Excessive and ineffective requirements take scientists away from the bench unnecessarily and divert taxpayer dollars from research to superfluous grant administration,” according to NSB task force chair Arthur Bienenstock.

The NSB report recommended steps the government can take to start reducing the burden: “Streamlining research regulations and making requirements more consistent across federal agencies is in the best interest of scientists and taxpayers,” said Bienenstock.

In July, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5056, the Research and Development Efficiency Act to implement this recommendation. It would authorize the Office of Science and Technology Policy to set up an inter-agency working group that would review research regulations from various federal agencies and suggest ways to reduce duplication while ensuring accountability for federal tax dollars.

Urge your Senator to help reduce regulatory burden by approving H.R. 5056 before the 113th Congress adjourns.