Federal Support Survey

Selected Data Tables


Introduction TOP

The data presented in this summary are derived from the Survey of Federal Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions: Fiscal Year 1992 (hereinafter referred to as the Federal Support Survey) and are being released in advance of the publication that contains more comprehensive detailed statistical tables. Among the available data excluded from this summary are academic totals by type of institutional control, by highest degree granted, and by field of science and engineering (S&E) discipline; data on historically black colleges and universities; data on nonprofit institutions; and data on university and nonprofit-administered federally funded research and development centers.

Survey Coverage TOP

The 15 Federal agencies surveyed in this report provided virtually all of the Federal funding for S&E research and development (R&D) at universities and colleges. The data presented in these tables are for all categories of direct Federal obligations to institutions of higher education in the United States. Therefore, amounts that are subcontracted to other institutions are included, but funds that are received by academic institutions through subcontract arrangements from prime contractors are excluded. Amounts for tuition support programs such as Pell Grants and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are included in these figures. Totals, however, exclude loans to individuals, such as those related to federally guaranteed student loan programs sponsored by the Department of Education and to Federal employee training and development activities.

Acronyms and Abbreviations TOP

The fiscal year (FY) 1992 data shown in this report were submitted by the following Federal agencies, listed by the acronyms and abbreviated references under which data are reported for them:

AID    -  Agency for International Development
Com    -  Department of Commerce
DoD    -  Department of Defense
DOT    -  Department of Transportation
Ed     -  Department of Education
EPA    -  Environmental Protection Agency
DOE    -  Department of Energy
HHS    -  Department of Health and Human

          ADAMHA  -  Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health
          CDC     -  Centers for Disease Control
          FDA     -  Food and Drug Administration
          HRSA    -  Health Resources and Services
          NIH     -  National Institutes of Health

HUD    -  Department of Housing and Urban Development
Int    -  Department of the Interior
LABOR  -  Department of Labor
NASA   -  National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NRC    -  Nuclear Regulatory Commission
NSF    -  National Science Foundation
OEO    -  Office of Economic Opportunity
USDA   -  Department of Agriculture

The following abbreviated references are used throughout the report:

FFRDCs   -  federally funded research and development centers
            (not published in this report)
FTTGs    -  fellowships, traineeships, and training grants
FY       -  fiscal year
NA       -  not available
n.e.c.   -  not elsewhere classified
Non-S&E  -  non-science & engineering
R&D      -  research and development
S&E      -  science and engineering
SRS      -  Division of Science Resources Studies, NSF, in
            which this report is produced

Definitions - Obligations TOP

Obligations are the amounts for orders placed, contracts awarded, services received, and similar transactions during a given period, regardless of when the funds were appropriated and when future payment of money is required. Obligations differ from expenditures in that funds allocated by Federal agencies during one fiscal year may be expended by the recipient institution either partially or entirely during one or more subsequent years.

Definitions - Deobligations TOP

Deobligations are reported in the year in which the obligations were originally made. If the original year was not known or could not be deter- mined by agency accounting records, the deobligation was reported for the current year (FY 1992). Reporting negative data for the current year was possible if the deobligations exceeded current-year obligations.

Type of Institution - Universities and Colleges TOP

Universities and colleges are those institutions of higher education in the United States that offer at least 1 year of college-level study leading toward a degree. A university or college comprises all parts of an academic institution, such as colleges of liberal arts, professional schools, hospitals, schools of agriculture, and agricultural experiment stations, including bureaus, offices, and research centers (excluding FFRDCs), whether located on or off the main campus, and branch campuses controlled directly by the parent institution. The universe of academic institutions that is the foundation of this survey is derived from the higher education institutions' portion of the Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and the 1993 Higher Education Directory, published by Higher Education Publications, Inc. Institutions included are those that received Federal support during FY 1992 and possessed a significant degree of academic and administrative autonomy. Institutions within a system (group of institutions having a collective legal status and generally recognized by a State Government, a board of education, or other relevant organization) in which a significant degree of autonomy remains at the individual institution level are presented separately; obligations to branch campuses are included in the totals for their parent institutions. The study excludes all obligations to the service academies and to the USDA Graduate School.

Categories of Support - Academic Science and Engineering TOP

Academic science and engineering includes all obligations for the following activities: R&D; R&D plant; facilities and equipment for S&E instruction; fellowships, traineeships, and training grants; general support for science and engineering; and other S&E activities. These activities are defined as follows:

Categories of Support - Research and Development TOP

Research and development includes all research activities, both basic and applied, and all development activities that are supported at universities and colleges. Demonstration projects conducted to discover whether a technology or method is workable are considered to be within the scope of R&D if their objective is to produce new information within a specific time period. "Research" is defined as systematic study directed toward fuller scientific knowledge or understanding of the subject studied. Research can be classified as basic or applied, although data reported here are not separated into these categories. In basic research the investigation is oriented toward gaining a better knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and of observable facts with- out specific applications toward processes or products in mind. In applied research the investigation is aimed at gaining the knowledge or understanding necessary for determining the means by which a recognized and specific need may be met.

"Development" is the systematic use of knowledge and understanding gained from research directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including design and development of prototypes and processes. Research and development excludes topographic mapping and surveys, collection of general-purpose statistics, and activities concerned primarily with the dissemination of scientific information. Also excluded are routine product testing, quality control, and R&D facilities and fixed equipment.

"Research equipment" is included as part of R&D. It includes any item (or interrelated collection of items constituting a system) of nonexpendable tangible property or software having a useful life of more than 2 years and an acquisition cost of $500 or more that is used wholly or in part for research. R&D in the arts and humanities is excluded from this category but is included in "Non- S&E activities."

Categories of Support - R&D Plant TOP

R&D plant includes all costs - direct, indirect, and related - of all projects whose main objective is to provide support for the construction, acquisition, renovation, modification, repair, or rental of facilities, land, works, or equipment for use in scientific or engineering R&D. A facility is interpreted broadly to be any physical resource important to the conduct of R&D. Excluded are expendable research equipment and office furniture and equipment.

Categories of Support - Facilities and Equipment TOP

Facilities and equipment for S&E instruction includes all programs in which the main purpose is to provide support for the construction, acquisition, renovation, modification, repair, or rental of facilities, land, works, or equipment for use in instruction in science and engineering.

Categories of Support - Fellowships, Traineeships, and Training Grants TOP

Fellowships, traineeships, and training grants include graduate programs in support of the development and maintenance of S&E personnel resources. The total amounts pertaining to such awards (stipends and cost-of-education allowances) are reported on the basis of the institution chosen by the recipient. Excluded are programs that support research and education institutes, seminars, and conferences such as teacher-training activities provided through teacher institutes, short courses, research participation, and in-service seminars; activities aimed at the development of education techniques and materials for use in S&E training; and programs that provide special opportunities for increasing the scientific knowledge and experience of precollege and undergraduate students. These activities are included in "Other S&E" or, if not S&E oriented, in "Non-S&E activities."

Categories of Support - General Support for Science and Engineering TOP

General support for science and engineering includes programs that support non-specific or generalized purposes related to scientific research and education. Such projects are generally oriented toward academic departments, institutes, or institutions as a whole and embody varying types of support - ranging from that provided without any specification of purpose other than that the funds be used for scientific projects to that provided for activities within a specified field of science and engineering without a specific purpose. NIH's Biomedical Sciences Support Grants and General Research Support Grants are examples of these types of programs.

Categories of Support- Other Science and Engineering Activities TOP

Other science and engineering activities include all academic S&E activities that cannot meaning fully be assigned to one of the preceding five categories. Types of activities included are obligations in support of technical conferences, teacher institutes, and activities aimed at increasing the scientific knowledge of precollege and undergraduate students.

Categories of Support - Activities Other Than Science and Engineering TOP

Non-S&E activities include all other obligations excluded from the six foregoing categories defined but that represent direct funding (excluding loans) from a Federal agency to an academic institution for activities or purposes not specifically related to science and engineering. Included are all obligations for research, education, and facilities in the arts and humanities as well as generalized projects for which the proportion utilized for S&E activities is unknown.

Data Limitations and Relationship Between Surveys TOP

Data presented in this report on R&D and R&D plant by agency sometimes conflict significantly with such data presented in the annual NSF Survey of Federal Funds for Research and Development (referred to hereinafter as the Federal Funds Survey). The treatment of interagency transfers explains much of the difference in the totals. Interagency transfers of funds obligated to an academic or nonprofit institution are reported in the Federal Support Survey by the agency that actually obligates the funds to the receiving institution. In the Federal Funds Survey, however, obligations are reported by the initiating agency. Each of several agencies utilizes personnel from separate internal offices to respond to the two individual surveys, and each frequently collects data from different sources. Data for the Federal Support Survey, for example, are generally processed from award files, whereas Federal Funds Survey data are usually derived from agency budget documents.

Respondents from the separate internal offices that participate in the two surveys also frequently differ in their interpretation of the survey questions. The National Institutes of Health, for example, reports its Biomedical Research Support Grants under "General support for science & engineering" in the Federal Support Survey but under "Research and development" in the Federal Funds Survey.

Regarding the structure of the surveys themselves, the data presented in this report differ in several ways from those presented in the report on the Federal Funds Survey:

  1. The two surveys differ in number of agencies involved. In the Federal Support Survey, the 15 Federal agencies that obligate virtually all of Federal support to academic R&D collect data on all Federal obligations to institutions of higher education. For the Federal Funds Survey, data are gathered on budgets for R&D and R&D plant from all 33 Federal agencies that conduct such programs.

  2. The scope of information gathered differs between the two surveys: data collected in the Federal Support Survey pertain to individual academic institutions, whereas those collected in the Federal Funds Survey relate to all types of performers and to character of work (basic research, applied research, and development).

For further information concerning the availability of Federal Support Survey data and the technical aspects of this survey, please contact

Richard J. Bennof
Project Officer, Science and Engineering Activities Program
Division of Science Resources Studies
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Blvd., Suite 965
Arlington, VA 22230

(703) 306-1772