Federal Academic S&E Obligations Increased by 8 Percent in FY 1992

Based on the latest data from the Survey of Federal Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions, Federal obligations for academic science and engineering (S&E) totaled $12.7 billion in FY 1992, 7.6 percent more than in FY 1991. This total represents a constant-dollar increase of 4.5 percent. Academic S&E comprises the following six funding categories: (1) research and development (R&D); (2) fellowships, traineeships, and training grants; (3) R&D plant; (4) facilities and equipment for instruction; (5) general support; and (6) other S&E activities. The R&D portion accounted for nearly $6 of every $7 of academic S&E funding for FY 1992 and showed an 8.3-percent increase over FY 1991 levels. Of the academic S&E categories, only general support decreased.

Of the 15 Federal agencies surveyed, 7 supplied over 96 percent of all academic S&E support. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) funded nearly one-half of all academic S&E and accounted for almost one-half of the FY 1992 increase. Six of the seven largest academic S&E funding agencies increased their support levels for FY 1992, with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Education (ED) reporting the largest 1-year increases (14.7 percent and 13.6 percent, respectively). Support from the Department of Defense (DOD) declined by 1.9 percent. From FY 1982 through FY 1992, Federal academic S&E obligations rose at a 9.4-percent average annual rate; of the largest funding agencies, ED led with a 27.4-percent growth rate followed by NASA's 14.4-percent rate.

Ranked by Federal academic S&E obligations, 19 of the top 20 universities in FY 1992 were also among the top 20 in FY 1991

The leading university recipient of Federal academic S&E funds in FY 1992 was the Johns Hopkins University, which received nearly all of its Federal funds from DOD and from HHS. The leading 20 universities ranked by Federal agencies' academic S&E obligations accounted for 36.6 percent of the FY 1992 total, down from the top 20 share of 44.3 percent in FY 1963 (the first year of the survey series) when the survey consisted of fewer institutions. Despite the wider dispersion of Federal S&E support to the leading universities and colleges, there remains great consistency among the leaders; 19 of the top 20 in FY 1992 where also among the leading 20 in FY 1991, with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill being the new entrant. Moreover, the top 10 recipients in FY 1992 were also the leading 10 universities the year before. Indeed, 14 of the top 20 recipients in FY 1992 were among the top 20 in FY 1963.

[Table 1] Table 1

The Federal support data presented in this Data Brief were obtained from the 15 Federal agencies that provide nearly all academic R&D support and that participated in the FY 1992 Survey of Federal Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions. The survey also includes data on the non-S&E obligations category, which largely consists of ED funding for direct student assistance programs at universities and colleges. The academic S&E plus the non-S&E categories comprise total Federal academic support, 66.8 percent of which was S&E related in FY 1992. The survey also includes statistics by type of institution, S&E discipline, institutional ranking, geographic distribution, and type of institutional control.

In addition, selected data items for individual doctorate-granting institutions and schools with S&E departments that grant a master's degree are available on computer generated Institutional Profiles. An Institutional Profile consists of data from this survey and from NSF's other two academic S&E; surveys: the Survey of Scientific and Engineering Expenditures at Universities and Colleges and the Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering. Data from this survey and the two surveys listed above are also available via Documents Online and the Computer-Aided Science Policy Analysis and Research (CASPAR) database system on CD-ROM for retrieval and analyses of statistical data on academic S&E resources. For more information, please contact Richard J. Bennof, Project Officer, at 703-306-1772.

This Data Brief was prepared by Richard Bennof, National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Studies, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 965, Arlington, VA 22230. For a free copy, write to the above address, call 703-306-1772, or e-mail to srsweb@nsf.gov.

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