RGE AND EDGE TRAININGFY07 U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey
Objectives of the R&DPanel Process Training • Discuss Bureau-wide procedures in the R&D panel processes. • Provide guidance on using the RGEG and EDGEG
USGS R&D Policies • All R&D panels operate according to Bureau guidelines • GS-15 career ladder for all permanent R&D staff • Mandatory review of permanent R&D staff every 4 years and STs every 6 years
Highlighted Changes in the Bureau Process for FY07 Bureau guidance has been modified to reflect changes in the new RGEG (09/2006). • New rating scale • No use of odd numbers in scoring • Deletion of Gray Area between grades • No option for Science Center Manager to forward packages to the 2nd level panel beyond the recommendations of the 1st level panel.
The Classification Act of 1949,As Amended Provides for: • Equal pay for equal work • Rates of compensation proportional to difficulty, responsibility, and qualification requirements • Positions grouped by series based on duties, responsibilities, and qualification requirements
The Evaluation Tools - RGEG (amended in 2006) and EDGEG The grade-level evaluation guide for: • Basic or applied research is the RGEG • Experimental and investigative activities to develop new and improved equipment and to advance technology is the EDGEG Part 3
The RGEG and the EDGEG“Person-in-the-Job Concept” The evaluation considers the interaction between the assignment and the individual qualities of the scientist.
The Panel Role in Evaluating R&D • To evaluate the grade level of a position using OPM classification criteria • To review submissions of non-R&D scientists requesting conversion to R&D positions • To identify major work assignments that are not research or development
Why a Panel Process? • To use the technical expertise of peers to evaluate the relevance and impact of the work and the stature of the individual • Impact can be both scientific and societal
Why is Documenting the Work of the Panel so Important? The consensus scores and resulting recommendations are the official position classification record. The classification decision is the foundation for the authorization of Federal funds for an employee’s pay and fulfill the legal requirements of the Classification Act.
Panels Should Not Discuss • Problems of an employee on a PIP • Conduct problems • Unrelated personal information • Team, cost center, or project financial limitations
The Changing Face of R&D Work • Interdisciplinary Science • Societal and Scientific Impact • Directed Science • Team Focus • Goal and Performance Driven Work
Science Impact Professional Society Services Societal Relevance Technical Assistance Core R&D Work Peer Reviewed Research Leadership and Direction Education and Outreach Strategic Planning
Expanding knowledge and understanding. Problems to be solved: Entail relative freedom to explore promising areas in relation to organizational programs. May stem from an intent to close gaps in knowledge in a given field, or to develop new theories or explanations of phenomena; and Are difficult to define in terms of expected outcomes and measurable results. New or improved products, processes, and techniques. Problems to be solved: Are defined in advance or assigned; May stem from an intent to exploit an understanding of phenomena and principles, or Have predictable outcomes or measurable results. RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT Purpose Assignments
Products are: Papers describing new and modified theories and principles; Explanations of phenomena; and Information to improve the understanding of techniques and processes. Products are: Papers describing application of theories and principles; Design concepts, models, patents, and inventions, and Equipment, techniques and processes. RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT Results
Who is Covered by the RGEG or EDGE Part III? Those with : • Personal performance of research or development as a substantial portion of the job • Direct leadership of AND participation in the activities of a research or development team when the basis for selection is competence in research
Research Systematic, critical, intensive investigation directed toward the development of new or fuller scientific knowledge of the subject studied. It may be with or without reference to a specific application. The work involves theoretical, taxonomic, and experimental investigations or simulation of experiments and conditions to: • Determine the nature, magnitude, and interrelationships of natural and social phenomena and processes, • Create or develop theoretical or experimental means of investigating such phenomena or processes; and • Develop the principles, criteria, methods, and data of general applicability.
Research Responsibility Professionals engaged in research have one or both of the following responsibilities: • Personally performs responsible research a substantial portion of the time • Directly and personally leads and participates in the activities of a research team and/or organizational unit when the primary basis of selection for the position is competence and capability in performing responsible research.
Professionally Responsible Research • Involves applying scientific methods, including exploring and defining problems, planning the approach for study, analyzing data, interpreting results, and documenting or reporting findings; • Requires creativity and critical judgment, which may materially affect the nature of the end product; • Requires research capability attainable through graduate education or demonstrated research experience;
Professionally Responsible Researchcont’d • Is performed at a level of responsibility typically associated with independent research investigation; and • The researcher’s contributions, stature, and recognition have a direct and major impact on the level of difficulty and responsibility of the research.
Excluded from Evaluation by RGEG Positions: • With paramount responsibility for management, coordination, or administration of research programs • Involving primarily engineering development, test, and evaluation • Limited to the conduct of field surveys to collect scientific data on natural phenomena
Development Systematic application of scientific knowledge directed toward the creation of new or substantially improved equipment, materials, instrumentation, devises, systems, mathematical models, processes, techniques, and procedures which will perform a useful function or be suitable for a particular duty. Development, like research, advances the state of the art, but it is further characterized by the creation of specific end-items in the form of equipment or equipment systems ("hardware" development) and/or methodologies, mathematical models, procedures and techniques ("software" development).
The work involves such activities as • Establishing requirements for technical objectives and characteristics; • Devising and evaluating concepts for design approaches, including: criteria, parameters, characteristics, and interrelationships; • Experimenting, investigating, and testing to produce new data, mathematical models, or methods to test concepts, formulate design criteria, and measure and predict natural and social phenomena and performance; designing and developing prototypes, breadboards, and engineering models including the direction of their fabrication as required; developing standards and test plans to assure reliability; and managing specific developments being executed in-house or under contract. Source: Federal Personnel Manual Supplement 292-1
Excluded from Coverage by EDGEG Positions are excluded from coverage in part III when engaged in the following: • Planning, directing, evaluating and integrating others' (e.g., contractors, in‑house, etc.) work in developing new equipment and concepts; • Serving as staff consultants or advisors, while not personally engaged in experimental development work; • Managing the combined efforts of contractors and Government to accomplish a specific development project; • Engaged primarily in basic and applied research; • Engaged primarily in supervision of experimental development work; • Engaged in the conventional design of equipment including the redesign of development prototypes for production/manufacture, which can be accomplished by applying/adapting standard references, criteria, practices; • Concerned primarily with the conduct and reporting of tests.
Factor I: Research or Development Assignment What is it? • The nature, scope, difficulty, and characteristics of the current assignment How large, complex, and difficult?
Factor I: (cont’d) What should be considered first? • Current assignment - the regular and recurring duties versus atypical projects • Team role and responsibility
Factor I: (cont’d) What should be considered for the researcher? • Scope, complexity, and objectives (of the science project, not any related management issues) and means of accomplishment • Necessity to translate abstract concepts to easily understood theory or models • Relevance and impact of expected end products and outcomes
Factor I: (cont’d) What should be considered for development staff? • The degree to which the problem is isolated and defined • The number and nature of variables • The difficulty of approach or techniques • The number of problems involved • The relevance, quality and impact of expected results • The extent and complexity of the validating process • The need for converting abstract concepts into hardware • The effectiveness of the project in solving other problems and in opening new areas of investigation
Factor II: Supervision Received What is it? • The scientist’s current level of independent performance • The technical and administrative guidance and control exercised over the research by the supervisor
Factor II: (cont’d) What should be considered? • The manner in which the supervisor assigns work • Individual’s freedom to determine the direction of the work and a course of action • Degree of acceptance of the scientist’s recommendations, decisions, and final products • The opportunity for procedural innovation.
Factor III. Guidelines and Originality What is it? The creative thinking, analysis, synthesis, evaluation, judgment, resourcefulness, and insight that characterize the work currently performed.
Factor III: (cont’d) What should be considered for researchers? • The extent and nature of guidelines. • The degree of technical judgment required to select, interpret and adapt guidelines. • The information sources available including technical handbooks, periodicals, reports, patents, etc.
Factor III. (cont’d) What should be considered for development staff? • Available written guides • Difficulty in applying guides • Degree of judgment required in the use of guides • The requirement for original and independent creation, analysis, reasoning, etc. • Originality in interpreting and translating findings • The impact of theories, principles, concepts, techniques, and approaches on the scientific field
Factor IV: Contributions, Impact and Stature What is it? The researcher or development scientist’s total contributions, impact and stature as they bear on the current assignment NOTE: This factor is double weighted
Factor IV: (cont’d) What should be considered for the researcher? • Research publication quality, relevance, impact • Innovations, technology and information transfer • Impact and contribution to agency, bureau, or program • Scientific advisory, consultant, and committee activities • Invitations to write papers or deliver keynote addresses • Professional leadership • Recognition by professional societies and external groups • Non-publication scientific contributions • Recency
Factor IV: (cont’d) What should be considered for development staff? • Product, innovation and publication quality, relevance and impact • Difficulty of circumstances under which contributions are achieved • Impact and contribution to agency, bureau or program • Scientific advisory, consultant, and committee activities • Professional leadership • Recognition by professional societies and external groups • Non-publication scientific contributions • Recency
Factor IV: (cont’d) Recent research or development contributions are essential for full credit of this factor. • Generally 3 – 5 years • Employees on a part-time schedule or those who have broken time or intervening assignments should be judged over a broader span of time.
General Information • Five levels to each factor A – E • Definition of A, C, E • Factors are interrelated
Scoring STEPS • Review the guide • Apply criteria of RGEG or EDGEG (Make sure panels have these in hand) • Assign a degree level A through E and associated point values (Use checklists to help.) • Interpolate for B , D, and Excess of Degree E CONSIDER • The overlap of factors • Multiple elements for evaluation in each factor • The definition as a whole
Scoring Changes as a Result of the New RGEG • A specific degree level (A, B, C, etc) must be assigned. • The use of odd numbers is no longer allowed. • If an individual package does not fully meet a particular degree level, the next lower degree level must be assigned. • The new RGEG does not have Gray Areas. A position must be assigned to a grade level.
Do’s and Don’ts for Panel Evaluations DO • Focus on the total qualifications, professional standing and recognition, and scientific contributions • Place emphasis on high quality scientifically and societally significant publications and products that have impact • Consider the entire history with an emphasis on recency DON’T • Just count the number of publications or products • Give full credit for a record which does not show evidence of continued scientific contributions
Confidentiality CONFIDENTIALITY IS CRITICAL TO THE FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION IN THE PANEL. • All deliberations, discussions and documents of the panel process are strictly confidential. • The Panel Chair must destroy all interim discussion materials and scoring forms. • It is the SOLE responsibility of management to provide feedback to the employee.
Case Materials Panels use the following case materials: • The RDSR • The position description • Significant publications • Optional supervisory letter of advocacy