Academic Research and Development Expenditures: Fiscal Year 2003.

Appendix A: Technical Notes


Scope of the Survey top

The FY 2003 Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges (academic R&D expenditures survey) was sent to 630 institutions of higher education in the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These institutions have doctoral programs in science and engineering (S&E), are historically black colleges or universities (HBCUs), or are master's or bachelor's degree-granting institutions that expend at least $150,000 in separately budgeted R&D in S&E.

The survey population was reviewed before data collection began to ensure that each institutional classification was accurate. Characteristics of the schools were reviewed before and during the course of the survey to determine whether changes had occurred (e.g., highest degree granted; school openings, closings, or mergers).

The survey also collected information on R&D from 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 for the survey, 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, their R&D expenditures by source of funding. The FFRDC R&D data are included in tables 63–65.

FY 2003 Survey Frame Design top

The academic R&D expenditures survey is a census of the full population of eligible academic institutions. Before FY 1998 a census of eligible institutions was conducted about every 5 years; during intervening years eligible institutions were sampled. Since then, a census has been conducted annually. NSF also conducts 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 2003 NSF conducted a population review using the criteria listed above. As a result, the overall number of institutions surveyed increased from 661 in FY 2002 to 666 in FY 2003 (table A-1).

Survey Instrument top

Most major R&D performing institutions have incorporated the data that are needed to complete this survey into their record-keeping systems, 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 survey is found in the institutions' year-end accounting records.

The survey consists of seven main items.

Item 1 is a request that institutions report their total current expenditures for separately budgeted S&E R&D expenditures by source of funds. Schools are also asked to provide the percentage of total expenditures and the percentage of 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 taken when interpreting data on source of funds. 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 through subcontracts, thus complicating the identification of funding sources. 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 S&E R&D passed through the institution to subrecipients.

Item 1B is a request for total and federally financed current fund expenditures for separately budgeted S&E 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 2A is a request for total and federally financed current fund expenditures for separately budgeted non- S&E R&D activities by detailed non-S&E fields. This item was originally added to the survey as an optional item in FY 1997 and was collected as a core item for the first time in FY 2003.

Table A-15 shows non-S&E R&D expenditures for the 100 institutions reporting the highest amounts. Table A-16 shows federal non-S&E R&D expenditures for the 100 institutions reporting the highest amounts.

Item 2B is a request for federally financed current fund expenditures for separately budgeted R&D activities by S&E field and federal agency. This item was originally added to the survey as an optional item in FY 1998 and was collected as a core item for the first time in FY 2003.

Table A-17 shows federally financed R&D expenditures by S&E field and federal agency for those institutions that responded to this item. Of the 630 universities and colleges surveyed, 516 responded to this question.

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.

Response Rate top

The FY 2003 survey questionnaires were sent by e-mail in December 2003. Respondents could choose to submit an Adobe Portable Document Format questionnaire from the Web or use the 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 resulting data. Questionnaires were carefully examined for completeness upon receipt. Computerized facsimiles of the survey data were then prepared for each institution; these compared the current and 2 prior years of data and noted any substantive disparities. Respondents were sent personalized e-mail messages asking them to provide revisions before the final processing and tabulation of data. The e-mail messages included a link to the academic R&D expenditures survey 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 respondents updated or amended figures from past years, NSF made corresponding changes to trend data in this report and to the underlying microdata database. Similarly, if a respondent institution underwent an organizational change, such as a merger, NSF incorporated the effects of the change into prior years' data.

By the survey's closing date, at the beginning of September 2004, forms had been received from 593 universities and colleges out of the academic population of 630, a response rate of 94.1 percent. Responses were received from 96.5 percent of all doctorate-granting institutions, to which 98.5 percent of the estimated national R&D expenditures in S&E fields had been disbursed. All 36 FFRDCs returned forms. Table A-2 displays a detailed breakdown of response rates by highest degree granted.

National Total and Imputation top

Two statistical procedures were used to provide a national estimate for all universities and colleges performing R&D in FY 2003. First, data were estimated by imputation for the 37 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 imputed for universities and colleges that submitted only partial responses. The imputed total was $159 million, or 0.4 percent of the $40 billion in all separately budgeted R&D expenditures (table A-3).

Tables A-4 and A-5 present breakdowns of the total and federal imputed amounts by S&E field. 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-6.

A number of surveyed institutions have responded intermittently in past years. 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 estimation of prior-years data was performed, following current-year imputation.

For each institution, formerly imputed key variables for items 1–3 were recomputed to ensure that the imputed data accurately represent the growth patterns shown by reported data. If, for example, data were reported for FY 1996 and FY 2003 but not for the intervening years, the difference between the reported figures for each item total was calculated and evenly distributed across the intervening years (1997–2002). 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. Institutions were given an opportunity to review imputed data and provide comments before data were finalized. These procedures result in much more consistent reporting trends for individual institutions but have little effect on aggregate figures reflecting national totals.

Changes in Basic Research Totals top

The Division of Science Resources Statistics (SRS) at NSF regularly reviews the methodologies used in the academic R&D expenditures survey with the goal of producing the most accurate statistics possible for researchers and policymakers. A review of responses to item 1, question 2, was conducted in FY 2001, 2002, and 2003. The reviews determined that the aggregate statistics could be improved by refining the imputation methodology for the item. Some universities and colleges are either unable or unwilling to respond to this question, and values must be imputed for it to present aggregate statistics.

In the past, if a respondent did not reply to the basic research question, the prior year's basic research share (whether reported by or imputed for the respondent) was carried forward. After interviews with respondents revealed that abnormal or erroneous values (such as 0 percent basic research) were sometimes carried 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 the respondent reported or estimated that year's data. In all other cases an econometric model is used to impute the amount of total and federal basic research. The model accounts for differences between public and private institutions and nonfederal sources of R&D funding.

Item 1A Analysis top

Item 1A was completed by 90.9 percent of the respondents from academic institutions. The total R&D expenditures passed through to subrecipients, $2.4 billion, represents 7.2 percent of item 1A respondents' total R&D expenditures and 6.1 percent of all separately budgeted R&D in FY 2003 (table A-7). Doctorate-granting institutions reported a higher percentage of pass-through funds in item 1A than did nondoctorate-granting institutions, 7.2 percent compared with 5.1 percent ($25 million) for nondoctorate-granting institutions. Item 1A respondents from private institutions reported a higher percentage of pass-through funds (8.5 percent) than did those from public institutions (6.4 percent).

Academic respondents to item 1A reported $2.1 billion in federal R&D funds passed through to subrecipients (table A-8). This amount represents 9.9 percent of the federal support reported by item 1A respondents and 8.5 percent of the $25 billion in federal support to all respondents.

Table A-9 shows the R&D expenditures passed through to subrecipients for the 100 institutions reporting the highest amounts. Table A-10 shows the federal R&D expenditures passed through to subrecipients for the 100 institutions reporting the highest amounts.

Item 1B Analysis top

Item 1B was completed by 89.6 percent of the respondents from academic institutions. The total R&D expenditures received as subrecipients, $2.6 billion, represents 7.9 percent of item 1B respondents' total R&D expenditures and 6.5 percent of all separately budgeted R&D in FY 2003 (table 11). Doctorate-granting institutions reported a lower percentage of funds received as subrecipients in item 1B than did nondoctorate-granting institutions, 7.8 percent ($2.5 billion) compared with 10.9 percent ($55 million) for nondoctorate-granting institutions. Item 1B respondents from private institutions reported a slightly higher percentage of funds received as subrecipients (7.9 percent) than did those from public institutions (7.8 percent).

Academic respondents to item 1B reported $2.3 billion in federal R&D funds received as subrecipients (table 12). This amount represents 11.1 percent of the federal support reported by item 1B respondents and 9.3 percent of the $25 billion in federal support to all respondents.

Table A-13 shows R&D expenditures received as a subrecipient for the 100 institutions reporting the highest amounts. Table A-14 shows federal R&D expenditures received as a subrecipient for the 100 institutions reporting the highest amounts.

Data Availability top

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

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 other NSF 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 WebCASPAR, a database system designed to provide quick, convenient access to a wide range of statistical data on U.S. universities and colleges and their science and engineering resources. The latest version of WebCASPAR is available on 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 SRS include the academic R&D expenditures survey, graduate student survey, and federal S&E support survey. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics surveys of universities and colleges include earned degrees, opening fall enrollment, tuition, faculty salaries, tenure and fringe benefits, and financial statistics.

List of Tables top

List of Tables
Table Table Name Excel Spreadsheet (.xls) Portable Document Format  (.pdf)
A-1 Institutions surveyed for the academic R&D expenditures survey, by respondent type and highest degree granted: FY 1998–2003 .xls .pdf
A-2 Response rates for the academic R&D expenditures survey, by respondent type and highest degree granted: FY 2003 .xls .pdf
A-3 Imputed amounts for total R&D expenditures at universities and colleges, by highest degree granted: FY 2003 .xls .pdf
A-4 Imputed amounts for total R&D expenditures at universities and colleges, by science and engineering field: FY 2003 .xls .pdf
A-5 Imputed amounts for federally financed R&D expenditures at universities and colleges, by science and engineering field: FY 2003 .xls .pdf
A-6 Imputed amounts for R&D expenditures at universities and colleges, by source of funds: FY 2003 .xls .pdf
A-7 Item 1A summary of total academic R&D expenditures: FY 2003 .xls .pdf
A-8 Item 1A summary of federal academic R&D expenditures: FY 2003 .xls .pdf
A-9 R&D expenditures passed through to subrecipients by universities and colleges, ranked by amount passed through for the first 100 institutions: FY 2003 .xls .pdf
A-10 Federal R&D expenditures passed through to subrecipients by universities and colleges, ranked by amount passed through for the first 100 institutions: FY 2003 .xls .pdf
A-11 Item 1B summary of total academic R&D expenditures: FY 2003 .xls .pdf
A-12 Item 1B summary of federal academic R&D expenditures: FY 2003 .xls .pdf
A-13 R&D expenditures received as a subrecipient by universities and colleges, ranked by amount received for the first 100 institutions: FY 2003 .xls .pdf
A-14 Federal R&D expenditures received as a subrecipient by universities and colleges, ranked by amount received for the first 100 institutions: FY 2003 .xls .pdf
A-15 R&D expenditures in non-science and engineering fields at universities and colleges, ranked by total non-S&E expenditures for the first 100 institutions: FY 2003 .xls .pdf
A-16 Federally financed R&D expenditures in non-science and engineering fields at universities and colleges, ranked by total federal non-S&E expenditures for the first 100 institutions: FY 2003 .xls .pdf
A-17 Federally financed R&D expenditures at universities and colleges, by field of science and federal agency: FY 2003 .xls .pdf

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