Effective Water Research Programs

by Leo R. Beard, (F.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg. and Dir.; Center for Research in Water Resources, The Univ. of Texas at Austin, Austin, Tex.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Water Resources Planning and Management Division, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 2, Pg. 409-412

Document Type: Journal Paper


Effective research programs are those that support the most interested, informed and competent researchers. In defining the problem to be researched, obtaining detailed data relative to that problem, and testing and applying the research results to the solution of that problem in actual practice, a practitioner is invaluable and should be a full partner in the research endeavor. In coordinating research, particularly interdisciplinary research, the lead researcher must be one who grasps the over-all problem and understands enough of each discipline to coordinate the effort effectively. Over-coordination or over-direction by funding agencies can stifle progress, because freedom to pursue a variety of ideas is generally more productive than is direction along the most promising course. Selection of researchers for contract or grant research projects on the basis of past performance as evaluated by users would appear to lend greater promise than selection by peer review, which tends to perpetuate current lines of scientific thought.

Subject Headings: Water management | Financing | Contracts | Peer review

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