Scientific and Engineering Research Facilities: 1999

Section A. Technical Notes

Scope of the Survey top

The data presented in these tables are collected biennially through the National Science Foundation's (NSF) congressionally mandated Survey of Scientific and Engineering Research Facilities (Facilities survey). The survey originated in 1986 in response to Congress' concern about the state of research facilities at the Nation's colleges and universities. NSF's 1984 reauthorization legislation, P.L. 99-159, mandated a data collection and analytic system to identify and assess the research facilities needs of academic institutions. The legislation stated:

The National Science Foundation is authorized to design, establish, and maintain a data collection and analysis capability in the Foundation for the purpose of identifying and assessing the research facilities needs of universities and colleges. The needs of universities by major field of science and engineering, for construction and modernization of research laboratories, including fixed equipment and major research equipment, shall be documented. University expenditures for the construction and modernization of research facilities, the sources of funds, and other appropriate data shall be collected and analyzed. The Foundation, in conjunction with other appropriate Federal agencies, shall report the results to Congress. (42 U.S.C. 1886)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have cosponsored all cycles of the survey. Each survey cycle NIH has added a limited set of questions particularly focused on animal research facilities.

Population top

The survey is sent to research-performing colleges and universities in the U.S. Research-performing colleges and universities are defined as meeting one of three criteria: 1) offer doctorates in S&E fields; 2) report at least $150,000 in research and development (R&D) expenditures for fiscal year 1998; or 3) are an Historically Black College or University (HBCU) with any R&D expenditures. The population of academic institutions for this survey is derived from the 1998 NSF Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges. The six uniformed service academies are excluded from the population.

The survey is also sent to nonprofit biomedical research organizations. Biomedical research organizations are part of the eligible population if they are an independent research hospital or a nonprofit biomedical research organization. The population of biomedical research and organizations is derived from a 1998 list of NIH grantees receiving at least $150,000 in funding from NIH.

Data Definitions top

Research is all science and engineering R&D activities that is budgeted and accounted for. Research can be funded by the institution itself, the Federal Government, state governments, foundations, corporations or other sources.

Research space includes: research laboratories; controlled environment space such as clean or white rooms; technical support space such as carpentry and machine shops; space for laboratory animals, such as animal production colonies, holding rooms, isolation and germ-free rooms; faculty or staff offices to the extent that they are used for research; department libraries, to the extent that they are used for research; fixed equipment, such as fume hoods and benches; single pieces of non-fixed equipment each costing at least $1 million, such as MRI equipment; and leased space. It does not include: space that is designated as federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs); space used by faculty but not administered by the institution such as research space at non-university hospitals; and space administered by the institution but is leased to others for their use.

Net assignable square feet (NASF) is the sum of all areas (in square feet) on all floors of a building assigned to, or available to be assigned to, an occupant for specific use, such as instruction or research. NASF is measured from the inside faces of walls.

Research program commitments are all research activities of an institution that are budgeted, approved, and funded. It includes current faculty and staff or those to whom offers have been made; grants awarded, whether or not research has actually begun; and, programs which have been approved.

Repair/renovation is both major and minor repair/renovation of existing facilities in deteriorated condition; capital improvements on facilities; or conversion of facilities.

Major repair/renovation is an extensive repair/renovation project that results in facilities that are equivalent, or nearly equivalent, to new facilities in the ability to support S&E research.

New construction is construction of a new building or additions to an existing building.

Central campus infrastructure refers primarily to systems that exist between the buildings of a campus (excluding the area within five feet of any individual building foundation) and to the non-architectural elements of campus design (central wiring for telecommunications systems, storage or disposal facilities, electrical wiring between buildings, central heating and air exchange systems, drains and sewers, roadways, walkways, parking systems, etc.)

Deferred project is a repair/renovation or new construction project that meets all of the following criteria: 1) is necessary to meet current S&E research program commitments; 2) is not scheduled; 3) does not have funding; 4) is neither for the purpose of developing new programs nor for expanding faculty beyond what is required to fulfill current S&E research program commitments.

Institutional plan is an institution's approved plan, including goals, strategies, steps, and budgets, for fulfilling the institution's mission during a specific time period.

Animal housing space is all general animal housing (for example, cage rooms, stalls, wards, isolation rooms) and maintenance areas (for example, feed storage rooms, cage-washing rooms, shops, storage), if these areas directly support research.

Animal laboratory space is all animal laboratory space used exclusively for research activities, such as bench space, animal production colonies, holding rooms, germ-free rooms, surgical facilities and recovery rooms.

Animal research space is the combined amount of animal laboratory and animal housing space.

Changes in Reporting top

Since these data were first collected in 1986, several changes have been made to the population, the sample, and some of the survey questions. The 1999 cycle changes include:

Analytic Definitions top

Several analytic subgroups are presented in the table data. These subgroups are defined as follows.

Regions top

In some tables, states are divided into the four U.S. regions defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. These regions are:

EPSCoR and IDeA top

In addition to the regional groupings, in some tables, states are grouped according to their eligibility for NSF or NIH funding. States are eligible for the NSF Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), if they have historically received less Federal R&D funding than other states. The purpose of the program is to increase the R&D funding competitiveness of these states by assisting in the development and utilization of science and technology resources located at the major universities.

NIH sponsors the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program. This program was established in 1993 in order to enhance the competitiveness for research funding of institutions located in states with historically low aggregate success rates for NIH grant applications. The goal is to broaden the geographic distribution of NIH funding for health research.

The states currently eligible for these programs are as follows:

Minority Designations top

The survey included subgroups to identify minority-serving institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving institutions (HSIs). According to the Department of Education, HBCUs are postsecondary institutions of higher education founded before 1964 whose educational mission has historically been the education of black Americans. The HBCU list (updated August 1999) was provided by the White House Initiative on HBCUs. The original Survey of Scientific and Engineering Research Facilities included 29 HBCUs. These institutions have been identified separately for trend analysis.

Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) are defined as any accredited and degree-granting institution of higher education with 25 percent or greater total Hispanic undergraduate full-time equivalent enrollment. An institution may be both an HBCU and an HSI. A list maintained by the Department of Education (revised March 27, 2000) is the source of information on this group of schools. See Section C for a List of Institutions surveyed.

Other Definitions top

Two other analytic subgroups are used in the tables. Field leaders are defined as the 10 institutions with the most research space in a given field. Institutional control is defined as private or public institutions.

Data Considerations top

Users should be aware of several analytic issues associated with the data.

Response Rate top

The 1999 survey was mailed to academic institutions in November of 1999 and data collection ended on October 31, 2000. For biomedical organizations, surveys were mailed in December of 1999 and data collection ended October 31, 2000.

Of the 529 eligible academic institutions, 76 percent returned surveys. Of the 254 eligible biomedical institutions, 65 percent returned surveys.

Weighting  top

The academic survey respondents are divided into 13 strata. These strata are:

  1. Top 100 institutions (in R&D expenditures) with AAMC medical schools
  2. Remaining top 100 institutions
  3. 29 HBCUs in sample since 1988 with AAMC medical schools
  4. Remaining 29 HBCUs
  5. Remaining HBCUs
  6. Institutions with AAMC medical schools enrolling at least 25 percent Hispanic students
  7. Remaining Hispanic institutions
  8. Other public, doctorate granting institutions with AAMC medical schools
  9. Other public, doctorate granting institutions
  10. Other private, doctorate granting institutions with AAMC medical schools
  11. Other private, doctorate granting institutions
  12. Remaining public, nondoctorate-granting institutions
  13. Remaining private, nondoctorate-granting institutions

Biomedical institutions were stratified into two strata of hospitals and other nonprofit research institutions.

Within each stratum, a weight was computed to be the quotient of the population size for that stratum divided by the number of institutions responding.

Item Nonresponse top

Two procedures were used to impute the values for any missing data for institutions that responded to the survey but did not respond to all of the relevant questions. Similar procedures were used for both academic and biomedical institutions although the equations may have varied for each type of institution.

For both types of institutions, it was first determined if the institution's data from the FY 1998 survey was available. If so, this data was used in place of data missing in FY 1999.

If the data was missing for both the FY 1998 and FY 1999 surveys, the imputation procedures used varied by survey question. For example, for question 1, the amount of total research space was imputed using a regression model. For the amount of research space in each individual field of science in question 1, the distribution of total research space across each field of science was first determined for all respondents. This distribution was then applied to the amount of total research space for each nonresponding institution.

For questions 5 and 9, the costs of construction or repair/renovation were imputed using the mean of the costs reported by responding institutions in the same weighted strata.

Missing data were imputed for question 7, source of funds for construction and repair/renovation, if the institution both reported a distribution of source of funds in the FY 1998 survey and if a total amount of funds was reported in the FY 1999 survey. If both conditions were met, the missing data was imputed by applying the FY 1998 distribution to the FY 1999 total amount of funds.

Missing data for questions 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 were not imputed.

Data Availability top

Data published in this report are also available on the World Wide Web and can be found at Due to a pledge of confidentiality with the responding institutions, individual institutional data are not available; all data are in aggregate form only.

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