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2004 March Report of the Auditor General of Canada

March 2004 Report—Chapter 1

Exhibit 1.4—Framework for setting priorities: Weaknesses and possible consequences

Weakness

Possible consequence

Four institutes had no or vague criteria for selecting or reviewing their research projects.

Projects may not be aligned with the National Research Council's (NRC) corporate objectives and desired outcomes.

Four institutes had either no peer review practices or no independent third-party review.

Objectivity and opportunity for additional expertise may be lost.

At the institute level, risk analysis was more intuitive than formal. For the research projects, factors were not considered together and equipment was not assessed for possible failure.

Some important risks may be overlooked. The NRC has identified maintaining leading-edge equipment as an overall risk to the organization.

In one institute, project approval was done by a single manager with little consultation and documentation.

The best research projects may not be selected.

Two institutes had poor practices for reviewing ongoing research projects.

Projects may continue beyond what is necessary.