The LDRD program achieves continual improvement through internal and external reviews of program management, execution, and oversight of each LDRD project. In accordance with DOE Order 226.1B of the prime contract between NNSA and Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, a contractor-assurance system is in place at the Laboratory; the LDRD office uses this system and the tools provided to support improvements in LDRD program performance.

In May 2016, the director of the Office of Science, Cherry A. Murray, asked the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) to perform an independent review of the LDRD program, the purpose being to consider the overall impact of LDRD in four representative laboratories (including Livermore, the sole NNSA facility represented).The ASCAC subcommittee engaged in extensive written dialog with representatives of the chosen LDRD programs and also made site visits to the laboratories. Overall, the ASCAC subcommittee's review was very positive concerning both the LDRD program as a whole and Livermore's program specifically. Their sole recommendation to LLNL concerned the improvement of tracking the long-term impacts of projects. The report observes, "Planned efforts by LLNL to enhance on-going processes for collecting metrics associated with LDRD programs should better allow them to monitor the long-term impact of LDRDs and demonstrate their success. LLNL should discuss these efforts with the other DOE Labs...."

Toward that end, representatives from the LLNL LDRD program are participating in a working group with other DOE/NNSA laboratories to share best practices and discuss strategies for tracking the long-term impact of LDRD investments. Specifically, in FY18, a subcommittee of the working group was formed to

  • formulate a strategy to define long-term impacts,
  • determine the metrics by which the long-term impact of LDRD investments can be measured,
  • assess and select the methods by which such metrics can be tracked, and
  • begin cataloging the impact of projects.