Strategic Planning Document -
Environment and Natural Resources

Executive Summary

Scientific research and technological development are critical for enhancing environmental quality, improving our nation's economy, and protecting the health of our citizens. The most challenging environmental issues facing society today range from local to regional and global, including sustainably using and managing our natural resources; maintaining biological diversity; maintaining a safe water resource; improving air quality; reducing exposure to toxic substances; limiting hazards from natural disasters (e.g., geological and weather-related hazards), understanding climate change, and minimizing ozone depletion.

Addressing these complex issues requires integration of the social and natural sciences as well as increased emphasis on areas such as developing science policy tools to improve risk assessment, and new, more cost-effective environmental technologies.

This interagency plan focuses the federal R&D dollars on our most pressing societal needs. Significant changes in the way the federal government plans and supports environmental and natural resources research and development are under way. This Administration has:

R&D priorities have been developed in concert with a wide range of stakeholders from academia, industry, other private sector groups, and state and local governments. By taking full advantage of this nation's enormous scientific and technological resources, critical gaps in our understanding of important environmental issues can be identified and filled and the key issues of the future anticipated.

The CENR is strengthening the overall federal R&D program through:

As a result of the process of developing strategic and implementation plans for the CENR, the following areas of research have been identified for enhanced emphasis in the research and budget planning cycles of the CENR federal agencies with environment and natural resources research:

The information gained from the NSTC process was used to redirect and prioritize resources in FY 1996. Twelve agencies propose $5.5 billion in environmental funding for 1996, an increase of $187 million, or 3.5%, over the 1995 level. This level of funding would allow us to place increased emphasis on the five areas identified as high-priority.

Preparing for the Future Through Science and Technology: An Agenda for Environmental and Natural Resource Research is a progress report on the first stages of this evolving, multiagency, interdisciplinary journey to reinvent how federal science agencies do business to enhance environmental quality and economic growth.

Some Examples of How Investment in R&D Pays Off: