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National Science Foundation National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics
FFRDC Research and Development Expenditures: Fiscal Year 2009

 


Appendix A. Technical Notes

 

During the production of this report, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 was signed into law. Section 505 of the bill renames the Division of Science Resources Statistics as the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). The Center retains its reporting line to the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences within the National Science Foundation. The new name signals the central role of NCSES in the collection, interpretation, analysis, and dissemination of objective data on the science and engineering enterprise.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC R&D Expenditures Survey) is the primary source of information on separately budgeted R&D expenditures within FFRDCs in the United States. Conducted annually for all FFRDCs since FY 2001, the survey collects information on R&D expenditures by source of funds.

Scope of the Survey

The FY 2009 FFRDC R&D Expenditures Survey was sent to each of the nation's 39 FFRDCs. Of the 39 FFRDCs, 14 are administered by academic institutions, 19 are administered by nonprofit organizations, and 6 are administered by industrial organizations.

FFRDCs are engaged in basic research, applied research, development, or management of R&D activities, either upon direct request of the government or under a broad charter from the government, but in either case under the broad monitorship of the government. FFRDCs are operated, managed, and administered as separate organizational units within a parent organization or as separately incorporated organizations. They receive their major financial support (70% or more) from the federal government, usually from one agency, and are expected to have a long-term relationship with their sponsoring agency.

FFRDCs are asked to provide R&D expenditures by source of funding and character of work. In FY 2007 NSF expanded the character-of-work question, which previously had requested total and federally funded basic research expenditures. The question now asks for the amount of total expenditures and federally financed expenditures by three categories: basic research, applied research, and development.

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FY 2009 Survey Frame Design

The FFRDC R&D Expenditures Survey has been an annual census of the full population of eligible FFRDCs since FY 2001. Prior to FY 2001 only FFRDCs administered by academic institutions were included in this survey. FFRDCs are identified through the NSF master list of FFRDCs. NSF is responsible for maintaining the master list and queries all federal agencies annually to determine changes, additions, or deletions to the list.

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Survey Instrument

Item 1 is a request for total current expenditures for separately budgeted science and engineering R&D expenditures by source of funds.

Item 2 is a request for the amount of total expenditures and federally financed expenditures that are considered basic research, applied research, and/or development.

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Data Collection

Most FFRDCs 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 FFRDC's year-end accounting records.

The FY 2009 survey questionnaires were sent by e-mail in November 2009. Respondents could choose to submit an Adobe Portable Document Format questionnaire downloaded 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 to preserve both the consistency and continuity of the resulting data. Questionnaires were carefully examined for completeness upon receipt. Computerized facsimiles of the survey data were then prepared for each FFRDC; 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 any necessary revisions before the final processing and tabulation of data. These e-mail messages included a link to the FFRDC R&D Expenditures Survey Web-based data collection system, allowing respondents to view and correct their data online.

Respondents were asked to explain significant differences between current-year reporting and established patterns of reporting verified for prior years. They were encouraged to correct prior-year data if needed. 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.

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Response Rate

Forms were received from all of the 39 FFRDCs on the current NSF master list by March of 2010.

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Data Availability

Data for FY 2008 and FY 2009 of the FFRDC R&D Expenditures Survey are available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/ffrdc/. Data from FY 2008 and prior years of the FFRDC R&D Expenditures Survey are included in the Academic R&D Expenditures series of detailed statistical tables, available by fiscal year at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/rdexpenditures/. Information from the survey is also included in the series Science and Engineering Indicators and National Patterns of R&D Resources, both available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/.

For more information about FFRDCs see NSF's Federally Funded R&D Centers Master Government List. Data on federal obligations to FFRDCs are available in NSF's Survey of Federal Funds for Research and Development. NSF's Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering collects information about postdoctorates working in FFRDCs.

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FFRDC Research and Development Expenditures: Fiscal Year 2009
Detailed Statistical Tables | NSF 11-314 | May 2011