Committees of Visitors

The Federal Advisory Committees have used subcommittees, Committees of Visitors (COV), to assess the efficacy and quality of the processes used to solicit, review, recommend, monitor, and document funding actions and to assess the quality of the resulting portfolio. The national and international standing of the elements are part of the evaluation of the breadth and depth of the portfolio. The portfolio under review by a COV generally includes all actions – both awards and declinations – for universities, national laboratories, and industry administered by the program for a set period of time, usually three years.

The Director of the Office of Science charges the relevant advisory committees to assemble COVs to assess the Office of Science programs on a regular basis. Every program element must be reviewed by a COV at least once every three years. Each COV panel is composed of a group of recognized scientists and research program managers with broad expertise in the designated program areas. Panel members are familiar with DOE research programs; however, a significant fraction of the COV members does not receive DOE funding. Each panel member signs a Conflict of Interest statement.

The COV process includes a two- to three-day site visit to review documents and meet with DOE program managers. The COV prepares a report, which is presented to the full Federal Advisory Committee at a public meeting. The Federal Advisory Committee reviews and may make modifications to the report prior to acceptance. Following acceptance, the report is transmitted to the Director of the Office of Science and released publicly. The Associate Director of the Office of Science in charge of the program element under review provides a response to the review within 30 days of the acceptance of the report by the Federal Advisory Committee.

Guidance on the organization and conduct of COV reviews is available here.

The Deputy Director for Science Programs maintains a database of Office of Science COV review reports and program responses.

To access the COV reports and responses for each Office of Science program, please click on the program office's link, below: