Beginning with the Hatch Act in 1887, the federal government has provided research funding to the land grant universities. In 1888 the Office of Experiment Stations (OES) was established to administer the provisions of the Act. Subsequent legislation and occasional administrative interpretations modifying and extending that original mandate have defined the responsibilities and functions of the agency currently known as the Cooperative State Research Service (CSRS). Accordingly, the roles of individual staff member/scientists within CSRS have evolved over the nearly one hundred years of legislative history. Other factors influencing the role of the CSRS scientists have included changes in administrative and political philosophy and budgetary cycles within the federal government. Less obvious, but perhaps also important, have been disciplinary influences as the CSRS scientist reflects his/her discipline in the internal processes of the agency.