The data presented in these tables summarize the information obtained in the National Science Foundation's (NSF's) Survey of Research and Development (R&D) Funding and Performance by Nonprofit Organizations, Fiscal Years 1996 and 1997. The last previous R&D survey of nonprofit organizations collected data for 1973. Summary statistics from that survey are provided here for comparison.

This study is part of the NSF's continuing program of statistical surveys designed to obtain information on the Nation's resources allocated to the advancement of science and engineering. Under this program, all major sectors of the economy are studied, including universities and colleges, industrial firms, Federal Government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations.

The survey was conducted by the Gallup Organization under contract to the National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics, Research and Development Statistics Program. The National Science Foundation extends its appreciation to many officials of nonprofit organizations who contributed time to questionnaires, and without whose help the survey could not have been completed.

The 1996 and 1997 survey of nonprofit research organizations obtained data on the financial resources devoted to R&D in the sciences and engineering. Organizations covered by the survey included research institutes; university-affiliated hospitals; other voluntary nonprofit hospitals; professional and technical societies and academies of science and engineering; private foundations; science exhibitors; and trade associations, industrial consortia and academic consortia. Educational organizations, Federally Funded Research and Develop-ment Centers, and all organizations owned, operated, or controlled by Federal, State or local governments were excluded from this report. Every effort was made to exclude organizations whose R&D budgets were part of a university or a government entity.

Nonprofit organizations (NPOs), as defined for the nonprofit survey, are legal entities organized or chartered to serve the public interest and are exempt from most forms of Federal taxation. (Universities and colleges, although most are nonprofit in nature, are excluded from the nonprofit organization survey. They are, however, the subjects of a separate NSF survey, the Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges.)

Survey Methodology top

Two different questionnaires were used to collect information on R&D activities of NPOs: one questionnaire was sent to NPOs that performed R&D and a much shorter questionnaire was sent to NPOs that funded R&D conducted by others, but did not perform R&D themselves. If an NPO reported that it both performed and funded R&D, it was sent a performer questionnaire, and its responses are included only in the R&D performer totals in this report.

Screening questionnaires were sent to 9,112 NPOs (of an estimated survey universe of approximately 185,000) to determine their eligibility for either of the two R&D questionnaires. Survey questionnaires were mailed in 1998 and 1999 to those organizations that had indicated on the screening form that they performed or funded R&D worth at least $250,000 in 1996. Through August 1999, NSF mailed follow-up questionnaires to nonrespondent organizations; from August through October 1999, NSF attempted to contact all non-respondent organizations by telephone. At the survey closeout date of December 15, 1999, the sample comprised 1,005 organizations, including 722 performers and 283 funders.

Of these 1,005 organizations, 352 or 35 percent, returned usable replies. (During post-processing cleaning of the data, the 352 respondents were reduced to 343 respondents.) The final response rate for all NPOs (funders and performers) was 41 percent, adjusting for the nonrespondents that were assumed to be ineligible because they were out of business or could not be traced anywhere in the United States. The separate adjusted response rate for funders was almost 46 percent (110 usable responses) and for performers almost 40 percent (233 usable responses.) Although the response rate is not as high as in other NSF surveys, the overall data totals and major components are presented with sufficient reliability for use. The survey had low nonresponse from certainty stratum of large nonprofit organizations and substantial work was done in weighting for all nonrespondents. Hot-deck imputation was used for item non-response. Smaller data items are reported in tables so that readers may judge the large components in context but the standard errors for items below $1 billion are quite high, making comparisons of small cells in tables inadvisable.

For more information on the survey methodology, definitions, and sampling results, see Section C (Technical Notes), Section D (Analyses by Sampling Strata) and Section E (Survey Materials) of this report. A complete Methodology Report is available on the world wide web at

Requests for additional information concerning the survey may be directed to John E. Jankowski at (703) 292-7781,, or at the following mailing address:

John E. Jankowski
Research and Development Statistics Program
Division of Science Resources Statistics
National Science Foundation, Suite 965
Arlington, VA 22230.

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