Academic Research and Development Expenditures: Fiscal Year 2002

Section A. Technical Notes


Scope of the Survey  top

Data for the National Science Foundation's (NSF) fiscal year (FY) 2002 report on research and development (R&D) expenditures were collected from 625 institutions of higher education in the United States and Outlying Areas. These institutions have doctoral programs in science and engineering (S&E), are historically black colleges or universities (HBCUs) that expend any amount of separately budgeted R&D in S&E, or are master's or bachelor's degree-granting institutions that expend at least $150,000 in separately budgeted R&D in S&E.

In addition, the survey collects information on R&D about each of the Nation's 36 federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs). Of these 36 FFRDCs, 16 are administered by academic institutions, 16 are administered by nonprofit organizations, and 4 are administered by industrial organizations.

To qualify, an FFRDC must be engaged in basic or applied research, development, or management of R&D activities, and the results of these activities must be directly monitored by the Federal Government—usually a single agency—in a relationship expected to be maintained on a long-term basis. The center must be operated, managed, and administered as an autonomous organization or as an identifiable separate operating unit of its parent institution. Finally, 70 percent or more of the center's financial support must be received from the Federal Government. Although the same survey form (NSF Form 411) is used to collect data from both academic institutions and FFRDCs, FFRDCs were asked to provide only item 1 data, or their R&D expenditures by source of funding. The FFRDC R&D data are included in tables B70-72.

The survey population was reviewed prior to mailing the questionnaires to ensure that each institutional classification was accurate. Characteristics of the schools were reviewed before and during the course of the survey to determine if changes had occurred (i.e., in highest degree granted or in terms of school openings, closings, or mergers).

FY 2002 Survey Frame Design  top

The NSF Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges (academic R&D expenditures survey) is a census of the full population of eligible academic institutions. Prior to FY 1998, a census of eligible institutions was conducted about every five years; during intervening years eligible institutions were sampled. Since then, a census is conducted annually. NSF has also conducted a population review each year to ensure that all institutions that meet the inclusion criteria are surveyed. This review is based on the survey frame design developed in FY 1998:

In FY 2002 NSF conducted a population review using the above criteria. As a result of adding and deleting institutions from the survey population to comply with the inclusion criteria, the overall number of institutions surveyed increased from 646 in FY 2001 to 661 in FY 2002.

Survey Instrument  top

Most major R&D performers have incorporated into their record-keeping systems the data that are essential to complete this survey, thereby ensuring a consistent format from one year to the next. Such consistency yields the most useful statistics for time series. As a rule, information to complete this questionnaire is found within the institutions' year-end accounting records.

The survey questionnaire consists of five main items:

Item 1 is a request that institutions report their total current expenditures for separately budgeted science and engineering R&D for all activities specifically organized to produce research outcomes and either commissioned by an agency external to the institution or separately budgeted by an organizational unit (i.e., research centers) within the institution, by source of funds. In addition, schools are asked to provide the percentage of the total and the percentage of the federally financed expenditures that are considered basic research. Also included are research funds for which an outside organization, educational or other, is a subrecipient. Care should be observed when interpreting data on source of funds; for example, industry R&D support is limited to grants and contracts for R&D activities from profit-making organizations. Total industry funds excludes research funded through unrestricted accounts and from corporate foundations, endowments, and fellowships to students; those funds would be included in an institution's own funding totals. An increasing number of institutions have links with industry and foundations via subcontracts, thus complicating the identification of funding source. In addition, institutional policy may determine whether unrestricted State support is reported as State or institutional funding.

Item 1A is a request for total and federally financed current fund expenditures for separately budgeted science and engineering R&D passed through the institution to subrecipients.

Item 1B is a request for total and federally financed current fund expenditures for separately budgeted science and engineering R&D received by the institution as a subrecipient.

Item 2 is a request for total and federally financed current fund expenditures for separately budgeted R&D activities by detailed S&E fields. When interpreting these data at the detailed discipline level, users should keep in mind that there is considerable interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary activity.

Item 3 is a request for the portions of total and federally financed expenditures reported in items 1 and 2 that were used for the purchase of research equipment out of current funds. This portion includes all research equipment purchased under sponsored research project awards and disbursed in the same detailed disciplines as in item 2. These data are of special interest to Federal and institutional policymakers in determining current funding levels for scientific research instrumentation.

Item 1A Analysis  top

Item 1A was completed by 91.7 percent of the respondents from academic institutions. The total R&D expenditures passed through to subrecipients, $2.1 billion, represents 6.7 percent of item 1A respondents' total R&D expenditures and 5.7 percent of all separately budgeted R&D in FY 2002 (table 1). The doctorate-granting institutions reported a higher percentage of pass-through funds than the non-doctorate-granting institutions. Item 1A respondents from doctorate-granting institutions reported that $2.0 billion (6.7 percent) of their total R&D expenditures were passed through to subrecipients, versus $20 million (3.9 percent) of item 1A non-doctorate-granting respondents. Item 1A respondents from private institutions reported a higher percentage (8.1 percent) of pass-through funds than those from public institutions (5.9 percent).

Table 1. Item 1A summary of total academic R&D expenditures: FY 2002
Table 1 source data: Excel file

Academic respondents to this question reported $1.8 billion in Federal R&D funds passed through to subrecipients. This amount represents 9.4 percent of the Federal support reported by item 1A respondents and 8.1 percent of the $22 billion in total Federal support (table 2).

Table 2. Item 1A summary of Federal academic R&D expenditures: FY 2002
Table 2 source data: Excel file

Table A-6 shows the total amount of R&D expenditures passed through to subrecipients for the 100 institutions reporting the highest amounts. Table A-7 shows the total amount of Federal R&D expenditures passed through to subrecipients for the 100 institutions reporting the highest amounts.

Item 1B Analysis  top

This item was completed by 89.8 percent of the respondents from academic institutions. The total R&D expenditures received as subrecipients, $2.2 billion, represents 7.3 percent of the item 1B respondents' total R&D expenditures and 6.1 percent of all separately budgeted R&D in FY 2002 (table 3). The doctorate-granting institutions reported a lower percentage of funds received as subrecipients than the non-doctorate-granting institutions. Item 1B respondents from doctorate-granting institutions reported that $2.2 billion (7.3 percent) of their total R&D expenditures were received as subrecipients, versus $40 million (8.2 percent) of item 1B non-doctorate-granting respondents. Item 1B respondents from private institutions reported a slightly higher percentage (7.4 percent) of funds received as subrecipients than those from public institutions (7.2 percent).

Table 3. Item 1B summary of total academic R&D expenditures: FY 2002
Table 3 source data: Excel file

Academic respondents to this question reported $1.9 billion in Federal R&D funds received as subrecipients. This amount represents 10.5 percent of the Federal support reported by item 1B respondents and 8.9 percent of the $22 billion in total Federal support (table 4).

Table 4. Item 1B summary of Federal academic R&D expenditures: FY 2002
Table 4 source data: Excel file

Table A-8 shows the total amount of R&D expenditures received as subrecipients for the 100 institutions reporting the highest amounts. Table A-9 shows the total amount of Federal R&D expenditures received as subrecipients for the 100 institutions reporting the highest amounts.

Response Rate  top

The FY 2002 survey questionnaires were e-mailed in February 2003. Respondents could choose to submit an Adobe Portable Document Format questionnaire from the Web or use a Web-based data collection system to respond to the survey. Every effort was made to maintain close contact with respondents in order to preserve both consistency and continuity in the resultant data. Questionnaires were carefully examined for completeness upon receipt. Computerized facsimiles of the survey data were then prepared for each institution, comparing the current and 2 prior years of data and noting any substantive disparities. A personalized e-mail message was sent to the respondents so they could provide revisions before final processing and tabulation of the data. The e-mail message included a Web link to the academic R&D expenditures Web-based data collection system, allowing respondents to view and correct their data via the Web.

Respondents were asked to explain significant discrepancies between current and prior years' reporting patterns previously verified as correct. They were encouraged to correct prior years' data if anomalies were identified. When updated or amended figures covering past years were submitted, NSF changed trend data in this report and the underlying microdata database correspondingly. Similarly, if a respondent institution underwent an organizational change, such as a merger, NSF incorporated the effects of such changes into prior years' data.

By the survey closing date at the beginning of September 2003, forms had been received from 600 universities and colleges out of the academic population of 625, resulting in a 96.0 percent response rate. Responses were received from 97.8 percent of all doctorate-granting institutions, where 98.3 percent of the estimated national R&D expenditures in S&E fields was disbursed. Also, forms were received from all of the 36 FFRDCs. Table A-1 displays a detailed breakdown of the response rates by highest degree granted.

National Total and Imputation  top

To provide a national estimate for all universities and colleges performing R&D in FY 2002, it was necessary to implement two statistical procedures. First, data were estimated by “imputation” for the 25 institutions that had not responded by the closing date of the survey, using imputation techniques that have been used consistently since FY 1976. Second, data were also imputed for universities and colleges that submitted only partial responses. The imputed total was $205 million, or 0.6 percent of the $36 billion total R&D expenditures, as shown in table A-2.

Tables A-3a and A-3b present breakdowns of the total and Federal imputed amounts by S&E fields. The dollar amount imputed is displayed along with the percentage it represents of the national estimate for universities and colleges in a particular field. The amount imputed is similarly broken down by source of funds in table A-4.

A number of surveyed institutions have responded only intermittently in past years, providing data one year, not responding for one or more subsequent years, and then providing data again. For the years in which no response was received, data have been imputed as previously described. Although the imputation algorithm accurately reflects national trends, it cannot account for specific trends at individual institutions. For this reason, a separate backcasting of prior years' data was performed, following current-year imputation.

For each institution, formerly imputed key variables for items 1 through 3 were recomputed to ensure that the imputed data accurately represent the growth patterns shown by reported data. If data were reported for fiscal years 1996 and 2002 but not for the intervening years, for example, the difference between the reported figures for each item total was calculated and evenly distributed across the intervening years (1997–2001). The new figures were spread across disciplines (items 2 and 3) or sources of support (item 1) on the basis of the most recent reporting pattern. A clean facsimile was generated for each of the institutions undergoing these procedures and returned to the school for comment. These procedures result in much more consistent reporting trends for individual institutions but have little effect upon aggregate figures reflecting national totals.

Changes in Basic Research Totals  top

The Division of Science Resources Statistics regularly reviews the methodologies used in its Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges with the goal of producing the most accurate statistics possible for researchers and policy makers. In FYs 2001 and 2002 a review of responses of total and Federal research funds that were basic research determined that the aggregate statistics could be improved by refining the imputation methodology for the item. For a number of reasons some universities and colleges are either unable or unwilling to respond to this item. Values must be imputed for them in order to present aggregate statistics.

In the past, if a respondent did not reply to the basic research items, the prior year's basic research share (whether reported by or imputed for the respondent) was carried forward. After interviews with respondents revealing that in some cases abnormal or erroneous values (such as zero percent basic research) were imputed forward for several years, a revised imputation methodology was introduced. The revised imputation methodology carries forward the prior year's basic research share only if that year's data were reported or estimated by the respondent. In all other cases an econometric model is used to impute the amount of total and Federal basic research for the respondent. The model employed takes into account differences between public and private institutions and non-Federal sources of R&D funding.

Data Anomalies  top

Aggregate academic expenditure data are generally consistent from year to year, although data for individual institutions may vary considerably. Data anomalies may reflect true increases or decreases in expenditures or may be the result of changes in reporting methodology. None were reported in FY 2002.

State Tables  top

The detailed statistical tables showing R&D expenditures at individual institutions by State provide detailed campus lists by control and source of funds in table B-29 and by control and science and engineering field in table B-31.

Highest Degree-Granted Tables  top

Several longitudinal tables display data for institutions whose highest S&E degree granted is at the doctoral level. In tables produced prior to FY 1992, it would have been difficult to identify whether changes in yearly R&D expenditures were caused by changes in expenditure levels or in the number of doctorate-granting institutions. In order to maintain a consistent group of institutions across all years in this report, the highest degree-granted status for each institution is based on the highest degree granted in the most recent year, FY 2002.

Data Availability  top

Data from this survey and previous reports are available on the Web at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/rdexp/.

Selected data items for institutions are available on the Web at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/profiles/. The institutional profiles cover data from this survey and data collected in NSF's other academic S&E surveys: the Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering (graduate student survey) and the Survey of Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions (Federal S&E support survey). The profiles are also linked to the corresponding ranking table for each survey.

Data for these and other surveys are available through the Web-Based Computer-Aided Science Policy Analysis and Research (WebCASPAR) database system, which provides an extensive and growing data library with multiyear statistics on the state of higher education in general and on academic S&E resources specifically. This data library is based on a set of standard institutional and field-of-science definitions across the multiple sources used to develop the database. The WebCASPAR program includes built-in help capabilities to facilitate the use and interpretation of the data. The latest version of WebCASPAR can be accessed via the Web at http://webcaspar.nsf.gov/.

WebCASPAR data are drawn from a number of sources. All data are available for individual institutions, by State, and at the national level. Longitudinal data from surveys of universities and colleges conducted by the NSF Division of Science Resources Statistics include the academic R&D expenditures survey, the graduate student survey, and the Federal S&E support survey. Data included in WebCASPAR from the surveys of universities and colleges conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics include earned degrees, opening fall enrollment, tuition, faculty salaries, tenure and fringe benefits, and financial statistics.

Section A. Tables  top

List of Tables
Table Table Name  top Excel Spreadsheet (.xls) Portable Document Format  (.pdf)
A-1 Response rates for the academic research and development expenditures survey, by respondent type and highest degree granted: fiscal year 2002 .xls .pdf
A-2 Imputed amounts for total research and development expenditures at universities and colleges, by highest degree granted: fiscal year 2002 .xls .pdf
A-3a Imputed amounts for total research and development expenditures at universities and colleges, by science and engineering field: fiscal year 2002 .xls .pdf
A-3b Imputed amounts for federally financed research and development expenditures at universities and colleges, by science and engineering field: fiscal year 2002 .xls .pdf
A-4 Imputed amounts for research and development expenditures at universities and colleges, by source of funds: fiscal year 2002 .xls .pdf
A-5 Number of surveyed institutions for the academic research and development expenditures survey at all institutions, by respondent type and highest degree granted: fiscal years 1997–2002 .xls .pdf
A-6 Total amount of R&D expenditures passed through to subrecipients by universities and colleges, ranked by amount passed through: fiscal year 2002 .xls .pdf
A-7 Total amount of Federal R&D expenditures passed through to subrecipients by universities and colleges, ranked by amount passed through: fiscal year 2002 .xls .pdf
A-8 Total amount of R&D expenditures received as subrecipients by universities and colleges, ranked by amount received: fiscal year 2002 .xls .pdf
A-9 Total amount of Federal R&D expenditures received as subrecipients by universities and colleges, ranked by amount received: fiscal year 2002 .xls .pdf


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