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National Science Foundation National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics
Academic Research and Development Expenditures: Fiscal Year 2005

 


Appendix A. Technical Notes

 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges (Academic R&D Expenditures Survey) is the primary source of information on separately budgeted R&D expenditures within academic institutions in the United States and outlying areas. Conducted annually since FY 1972, the survey collects information on R&D expenditures by academic field as well as by source of funds. The results of the survey are primarily used to assess trends in R&D expenditures across the fields of science and engineering (S&E). This information is vital for federal, state, and academic planners who make decisions on future R&D funding priorities. Unless noted otherwise, expenditures analyzed in this report refer to S&E R&D activities only.

Scope of the Survey

The FY 2005 Academic R&D Expenditures Survey was sent to 649 institutions of higher education in the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These institutions had been identified as granting a bachelor's degree or higher in S&E fields and expending at least $150,000 in separately budgeted R&D in S&E in FY 2005.

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).

After data collection closed, institutions were reviewed to verify that only those reporting at least $150,000 in separately budgeted R&D were included in the population. Of the 649 institutions surveyed, 9 reported total R&D expenditures of less than $150,000. These 9 institutions were excluded from the population and their data are not included in the FY 2005 detailed statistical tables. The total and federally financed R&D expenditures for these 9 institutions are listed in table A-1.

The survey also collects information on R&D from each of the nation's 37 federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs). Of these 37 FFRDCs, 16 are administered by academic institutions, 17 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 long-term. The center must be operated, managed, and administered as an autonomous organization or as an identifiably separate operating unit of its parent institution. Finally, 70% 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 (R&D expenditures by source of funding). FFRDC R&D data are reported in tables 83–87.

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FY 2005 Survey Frame Design

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 approximately 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. Beginning in FY 2004, the inclusion criteria changed to include all institutions that grant a bachelor's degree or higher in S&E fields and reported at least $150,000 in separately budgeted S&E R&D expenditures in the previous fiscal year. In addition, NSF contacted institutions that met the degree-granting criterion but were not in the population of the previous census to determine whether they met the $150,000 expenditure criterion. Institutions with a minimum of $150,000 were added to or retained in the survey population. As a result, the overall number of academic institutions in the population increased from 613 in FY 2004 to 640 in FY 2005 (table A-2).

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Survey Instrument

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. Institutions are also asked to provide the percentage of total expenditures and 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 exclude 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.

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.

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.

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Response Rate

The FY 2005 survey questionnaires were sent by e-mail in November 2005. Respondents could choose to submit an Adobe Portable Document Format questionnaire downloaded 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. These 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 online.

Respondents were asked to explain significant discrepancies between current-year reporting and established patterns of reporting verified for prior years. They were encouraged to correct prior-year 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 August 2006, forms had been received from 597 universities and colleges out of the academic population of 640, a response rate of 93.3%. Responses were received from 97.2% of all doctorate-granting institutions, to which 98.5% of the estimated national R&D expenditures in S&E fields had been disbursed. Forms were received from 36 of the 37 FFRDCs, a response rate of 97.3%. The recently established Homeland Security Institute did not respond to the FY 2005 survey questionnaire. Table A-3 displays a detailed breakdown of response rates by highest degree granted, and table A-4 displays a breakdown of response rates by survey item.

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National Total and Imputation

Two statistical procedures were used to provide a national estimate for all universities and colleges performing R&D in FY 2005. First, data were estimated by imputation for the 43 institutions that had not responded by the closing date of the survey, using imputation techniques that have been used consistently since FY 1976. These techniques use prior-years' figures derived from the data of respondent institutions with similar characteristics, including highest degree granted and type of institutional control (public or private). Second, data were imputed for universities and colleges that submitted only partial responses. This imputation was performed using prior years' figures for each institution to allocate that institution's FY 2005 total R&D expenditures reported within the various categories. The imputed total R&D was $109 million, or 0.2%, of the $46 billion in all separately budgeted R&D expenditures (table A-5).

Tables A-6 and A-7 present imputed amounts for total and federally financed R&D expenditures, respectively, 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-8.

A number of surveyed institutions have responded intermittently in past years. For 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 2005 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 (1997–2004). 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.

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Changes in Basic Research Totals

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. Reviews of responses to item 1, question 2, were conducted in FY 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004. These reviews determined that the aggregate statistics on basic research could be improved by refining the imputation methodology for that item. Some universities and colleges are either unable or unwilling to respond to this question, and values must be imputed in order 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% basic research) were sometimes carried forward for several years, a revised imputation methodology was introduced beginning in FY 2004. 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.

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Item 1A Analysis

Item 1A, R&D passed through the institution to subrecipients, was completed by 92.8% of the respondents from academic institutions (table A-9). The total R&D expenditures passed through to subrecipients, $3.1 billion, represents 7.5% of item 1A respondents' total R&D expenditures ($41 billion) and 6.7% of all separately budgeted R&D ($46 billion) in FY 2005 (see table 43). Doctorate-granting institutions reported a higher percentage of pass-through funds in item 1A than did nondoctorate granting institutions, 7.5% ($3.0 billion) compared with 6.7% ($38 million) for nondoctorate-granting institutions. Item 1A respondents from private institutions reported a higher percentage of pass-through funds than did those from public institutions, 8.9% ($1.3 billion) compared with 6.7% ($1.7 billion) for public institutions.

Academic respondents to item 1A reported $2.6 billion in federally financed R&D expenditures passed through to subrecipients (see table 43). This amount represents 10.1% of the federal support reported by item 1A respondents ($26 billion) and 9.1% of the $29 billion in federal support to all respondents.

Tables 45 and 46 show, respectively, total and federally financed R&D expenditures passed through to subrecipients for all item 1A respondents.

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Item 1B Analysis

Item 1B, R&D received by the institution as a subrecipient, was completed by 93.3% of the respondents from academic institutions (table A-10). The total R&D expenditures received as subrecipients, $3.3 billion, represents 8.1% of item 1B respondents' total R&D expenditures ($41 billion) and 7.2% of all separately budgeted R&D ($46 billion) in FY 2005 (see table 44). Doctorate-granting institutions reported a lower percentage of funds received as subrecipients in item 1B, 8.0% ($3.2 billion), than did nondoctorate-granting institutions, 10.7% ($63 million). Item 1B respondents from private institutions reported a slightly higher percentage of funds received as subrecipients than did those from public institutions, 8.6% ($1.3 billion) compared with 7.8% ($2.0 billion) for public institutions.

Academic respondents to item 1B reported $2.9 billion in federally financed R&D expenditures received as subrecipients (see table 44). This amount represents 11.1% of the federal support reported by item 1B respondents ($26 billion) and 10.0% of the $29 billion in federal support to all respondents.

Tables 45 and 46 show, respectively, total and federally financed R&D expenditures received as subrecipients for all item 1B respondents.

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Item 2A Analysis

Item 2A, R&D in non-S&E fields, was completed by 94.1% of the respondents from academic institutions (table A-11). The total for non-S&E R&D expenditures, $1.7 billion, represents 4.2% of item 2A respondents' total S&E and non-S&E R&D expenditures ($42 billion) in FY 2005 (see table 66). Nondoctorate-granting institutions reported a higher percentage of non S&E R&D expenditures in item 2A than did doctorate-granting institutions, 28.4% ($242 million) compared with 3.7% ($1.5 billion) for doctorate-granting institutions. Item 2A respondents from public institutions reported a higher percentage of non-S&E R&D expenditures than did those from private institutions, 4.7% ($1.3 billion) compared with 3.2% ($463 million) for private institutions.

Academic respondents to item 2A reported $764 million in federal non-S&E R&D. This amount represents 2.9% of the federal S&E and non-S&E support reported by item 2A respondents ($27 billion).

Tables 67–69 show the total and federal non-S&E R&D expenditures for all item 2A respondents.

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Item 2B Analysis

Item 2B, federal sources of R&D by S&E field, was completed by 96.1% of the respondents from academic institutions. Total federally financed R&D expenditures reported by item 2B respondents, $29 billion, represents 99.6% of all reported federally financed R&D expenditures ($29 billion) in FY 2005 (table A-12). Doctorate-granting institutions reported a higher percentage of R&D from federal sources in item 2B then did nondoctorate-granting institutions, 99.7% ($29 billion) compared with 95.5% ($377 million) for nondoctorate-granting institutions. Item 2B respondents from public institutions reported the same percentage of R&D from federal sources, 99.6% ($18 billion), as did those from private institutions, 99.6% ($11 billion).

Academic respondents to item 2B reported the highest percentage of their federally financed R&D expenditures from the Department of Health and Human Services, 54.7%, or $15.9 billion (see table 70). The National Science Foundation accounted for 12.2% ($3.5 billion) of item 2B respondents' R&D from federal sources; the Department of Defense, 9.0% ($2.6 billion); the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 3.9% ($1.1 billion); the Department of Energy, 3.6% ($1.1 billion); and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2.8% ($814 million).

Tables 70–79 show federally financed R&D expenditures for item 2B respondents.

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Data Anomalies

Within the University of California (UC) system, UC campuses manage nearly all R&D activities; however, some R&D expenditures are attributable to the UC Office of the President (UCOP) rather than to a particular campus. The reporting of UCOP R&D expenditures has changed over time. In FY 1997–2000 the UCOP amounts were reported as part of UC Berkeley, the campus that maintained accounting ledgers. In FY 2001–03 UCOP amounts were reported under UC Los Angeles, which had assumed responsibility for UCOP's ledgers. In FY 2004 R&D expenditures began being reported separately for UCOP. In FY 2001, when approximately $90 million of UCOP R&D expenditures were shifted from UC Berkeley to UC Los Angeles, R&D expenditures decreased by $72 million at UC Berkeley and increased by $163 million at UC Los Angeles. In FY 2004, when UCOP was reported separately from UC Los Angeles, total R&D at UC Los Angeles decreased by $77 million, whereas UCOP showed expenditures of $90 million. Thus some of the trend changes shown in table 27 for UC Los Angeles, UC Berkeley, and UCOP can be attributed to changes in the location of reporting UCOP R&D expenditures.

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, CA, was added to the FY 2005 survey population after being mistakenly omitted for several years. Prior to the current survey cycle, it was thought that TSRI was included in UC San Diego expenditures. However, further contact with representatives from TSRI revealed that only the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which is a separate entity from TSRI, is included under UC San Diego. During the FY 2005 data collection TSRI reported $338 million in total R&D expenditures for FY 2005 and $307 million for FY 2004.

Due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent staff turnovers, records damage, and shortage of resources, there was a higher rate of nonresponse for universities and colleges in New Orleans, LA. Data were imputed for institutions that were unable to commit the resources necessary to complete the FY 2005 survey.

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Data Availability

Data from this and other NSF academic S&E surveys (Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering; Survey of Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions) are contained in academic institutional profiles, available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/profiles/. The profiles are linked to the corresponding ranking table for each survey.

Data from these and other surveys are also available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/ and through the WebCASPAR database system at http://webcaspar.nsf.gov/. Data are available at the institution, state, and national levels and as longitudinal data. WebCASPAR also includes data from the National Center for Education Statistics surveys of universities and colleges. These data include information on earned degrees, opening fall enrollment, tuition, faculty salaries, tenure and fringe benefits, and financial statistics.

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Technical Tables Excel PDF
A-1 Total and federally financed R&D expenditures at surveyed institutions reporting less than $150,000 in separately budgeted R&D expenditures: FY 2002–05 view Excel. view PDF.
A-2 Institutions surveyed for the academic R&D expenditures survey, by respondent type and highest degree granted: FY 2000–05 view Excel. view PDF.
A-3 Response rates for the academic R&D expenditures survey, by respondent type and highest degree granted: FY 2005 view Excel. view PDF.
A-4 Response rates for the academic R&D expenditures survey, by survey item: FY 2005 view Excel. view PDF.
A-5 Imputed amounts for total R&D expenditures at universities and colleges, by highest degree granted: FY 2005 view Excel. view PDF.
A-6 Imputed amounts for total R&D expenditures at universities and colleges, by science and engineering field: FY 2005 view Excel. view PDF.
A-7 Imputed amounts for federally financed R&D expenditures at universities and colleges, by science and engineering field: FY 2005 view Excel. view PDF.
A-8 Imputed amounts for R&D expenditures at universities and colleges, by source of funds: FY 2005 view Excel. view PDF.
A-9 Response summary for item 1A, R&D expenditures passed through to subrecipients, by highest degree granted and institutional control: FY 2005 view Excel. view PDF.
A-10 Response summary for item 1B, R&D expenditures received as a subrecipient, by highest degree granted and institutional control: FY 2005 view Excel. view PDF.
A-11 Response summary for item 2A, non-S&E R&D expenditures, by highest degree granted and institutional control: FY 2005 view Excel. view PDF.
A-12 Response summary for item 2B, federally financed R&D expenditures by federal agency, by highest degree granted and institutional control: FY 2005 view Excel. view PDF.

 
Academic Research and Development Expenditures: Fiscal Year 2005
Detailed Statistical Tables | NSF 07-318 | May 2007