Science and Engineering Research Facilities: 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 (NSF). 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.
Scope of Survey
The data presented in these tables are collected biennially through NSF's congressionally mandated Survey of Science and Engineering Research Facilities (Facilities Survey). The survey originated in 1986 in response to Congress's 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 National Institutes of Health (NIH) has cosponsored all cycles of the survey.
Recognizing the growing use of networking and computing capacity in conducting research, the NSF added a new set of questions on these topics to the FY 2003 Facilities Survey, and these questions were revised for each subsequent survey.
The FY 2009 population consisted of 520 research-performing academic institutions and 171 nonprofit biomedical research institutions in the United States. Research-performing academic institutions were defined as colleges and universities with $1 million or more in research and development expenditures. Each academic institution's level of R&D expenditures was determined by the FY 2008 NSF Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges. Military institutions, Veterans Administration institutions, and federally funded research and development centers were excluded. The biomedical institution frame was a list of nonprofit biomedical research organizations and hospitals in the United States that received at least $1 million in NIH research funding in FY 2008.
Changes from the Previous Cycle
The survey questions on the Computing and Networking section of the survey are significantly revised each survey cycle to reflect new topics of interest and/or advances in technology. In addition, the following changes were made:
Historical Changes and Data Comparability
Since these data were first collected in 1986, changes have been made to the population, the sample, and the survey questions.
Several analytic subgroups are presented in the table data. These subgroups are defined as follows:
Geographic regions. States and the District of Columbia may be divided into the four U.S. geographic regions defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. These are categorized as follows:
Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are excluded from the geographic regions but are included in the national statistics and other appropriate aggregate figures.
EPSCoR. States may be grouped according to their eligibility for NSF 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. The following states are currently eligible for this program:
IDeA. 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 following states are currently eligible for this program:
Institutional control is defined for academic institutions as private or public.
Medical school is a school that awards a doctor of medicine degree or a DO degree.
The FY 2009 Facilities Survey was mailed to academic and biomedical institutions in October 2009, and data collection ended in April 2010. Of the 520 academic institutions, 95% returned surveys. Of the 171 biomedical organizations, 95% returned surveys. The overall response rate was 95%.
The FY 2009 Facilities Survey attempted to obtain responses from all institutions in the defined population. Consequently one of the usual sources of survey error, sampling error, is not of concern in this survey. However, as is the case in almost all surveys, nonresponse error is of concern. In the FY 2009 Facilities Survey, 95% of all eligible institutions responded.
Weights were used to account for unit nonresponse. The weights for the academic institutions were adjusted for the known number of academic institutions by expenditure categories (the quintiles of the distribution), census region, institutional control (public or private), and whether the institution granted doctor of philosophy degrees. The weights for the biomedical institutions were adjusted for the known number of biomedical institutions by the grant amount (quintiles of the distribution) and census region. The minimum weights for both academic and biomedical institutions were constrained to be at least 1.0.
The FY 2009 Facilities Survey Detailed Statistical Tables contain two sets of data. Tables 1–72 in this report display data collected by part 1 of the survey (research space). Data in those tables are weighted according to the previously described procedures, except for the data on condition of research space and the data presented by state (i.e., tables 10, 11, 17, 18, 21, 22, 30, 31, 34, 35, 38, 39, 49, 50, 53, 54, 57, and 58). Tables 73–94 of this report display data collected by part 2 of the survey (computing and networking). The data collected by part 2 of the survey are not weighted due to potential measurement error within the survey responses. It is believed that substantially greater measurement error may exist in the computing and networking data because of the rapidly changing nature and variability of this data. Likewise, item nonresponse is not imputed for questions relating to computing and networking.
For most questions collected by part 1 of the survey, a series of logistic regression models and linear regression models was developed and used to impute the values for all missing data for institutions that responded to the survey. The predicted values from these models were used to impute for the missing responses. There was no item nonresponse for biomedical data. Therefore, imputation was done only for academic data.
A set of core predictors was used for imputing most items. The core predictors for academic institutions were institutional control (public or private), highest degree granted (doctorate or nondoctorate), existence of a medical school, FY 2008 total R&D expenditures (overall), and total net assignable square feet (NASF).
In addition to the core predictors, regression models for specific survey items included data from responses to other survey items.
Tables showing data by state and control (i.e., public versus private) and individual institution tables are based on unimputed data.
Comparability of Statistics
This section summarizes major survey improvements and changes in procedures and practices that may have affected the comparability of statistics produced from the Facilities Survey over time.
Beginning with the FY 2003 cycle and continuing with each subsequent survey cycle, respondents were requested to provide data on their institution's individual, new construction projects. Respondents provided several types of data for each project, including name, gross square feet, NASF, and cost of project. Using this information, it was possible to compare the new construction projects reported by each institution in FY 2007 with the projects that the same institution reported in FY 2009 to determine whether any appeared to be duplicates.
This comparison identified 22 projects with the same or similar characteristics. Contact with the relevant institutions indicated that the status of three projects needed to be updated for the FY 2007 survey. With the approval of each institution, these projects were deleted from their FY 2007 new construction data.
Also, the data on the source of funding for new construction projects was revised to reflect the deletion of these projects. The three new construction projects that were removed from the FY 2007 data affected the records of three institutions. For all of these institutions, the removal eliminated all new construction projects reported; as a result, all funds reported by source for new construction were also deleted.
Research is all sponsored science and engineering R&D activities that are separately budgeted and accounted for. Research can be funded by the institution itself, the federal government, a state government, foundations, corporations, or other sources. It does not include departmental research that is not separately budgeted.
Research space includes the following examples: controlled-environment space, such as clean or white rooms; technical support space, such as preparation areas and carpentry and machine shops; laboratories, including computer laboratories and behavior observation rooms; core laboratories that serve other laboratories; laboratories and associated support areas used for research animals, including procedure rooms, bench space, animal production colonies, holding rooms, germ-free rooms, surgical facilities, and recovery rooms; space for clinical trial research; offices, to the extent that they are used for research activities including administrative activities for specific research projects; space with fixed (built-in) equipment, such as fume hoods; space with nonfixed equipment costing $1 million or more each, such as MRIs; and leased space that is used for research.
Net assignable square feet (NASF) is the sum of all areas on all floors of a building assigned to, or available to be assigned to, an occupant for a specific use, such as research or instruction. NASF is measured from the inside faces of walls.
Gross square feet is based on the floor area of a structure within the outside faces of the exterior walls.
Biosafety level (BL) designates a typology of animal research and is measured at four levels: BL-1 involves working with defined and characterized strains of viable microorganisms not-known to cause disease in healthy adult humans; BL-2 involves working with the broad spectrum of indigenous moderate-risk agents present in the community and associated with human disease of varying severity; BL-3 involves working with indigenous or exotic agents with a potential for respiratory transmission and that may cause serious and potentially lethal infection; and BL-4 involves working with dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high individual risk of life threatening disease, that may be transmitted via the aerosol route, and for which there is no available vaccine or therapy.
Repairs and renovations refer to activities such as fixing up facilities in deteriorated condition, capital improvements on facilities, conversion of facilities, and the building out of shell space.
New construction refers to construction of a new building or additions to an existing building.
Completion costs include those for planning, site preparation, construction, fixed equipment, and building infrastructure, such as plumbing, lighting, air exchange, and safety systems either in the building or within 5 feet of the building foundation. Costs of nonfixed equipment are included only if they equal or exceed $1 million.
Institutional funds and other sources include the following examples: operating funds, endowments, tax-exempt bonds and other debt financing, indirect costs recovered from federal grants or contracts, and private donations.
Current program commitments are all research activities of an institution that are budgeted, approved, and funded. They include current faculty and staff or those to whom offers have been made; grants awarded, whether research has actually begun; and programs that have been approved.
Deferred projects are those that (1) are not funded and (2) are not scheduled for FY 2010 or FY 2011. They do not include projects planned for developing new programs or expanding current programs. Deferred projects are limited to only those projects whose prorated cost was estimated to be $250,000 or more for at least one field of science and engineering.
Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transmitted in a given amount of time, usually measured in bits per second.
Commodity Internet is the general public, multiuse network often called the "Internet."
Intrnet2 is a high-performance backbone network managed by the Internet2 consortium of academia, industry, and government.
Centrally administered high-performance computing (HPC) is computing of teraflop or more managed by a distinct organizational unit with a staff and a budget; the unit has a stated mission that includes supporting the HPC needs of faculty and researchers.
Data published in this report are available online at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/facilities/. Data are also available for this and other surveys from the WebCASPAR database system, which can be accessed via the Web at http://ncsesdata.nsf.gov/webcaspar/. All microdata (except confidential items on condition of space and research animal space) for part 1 and part 2 are available in the data file "NSF Survey of Science and Engineering Research Facilities (Not Weighted or Imputed)" in the WebCASPAR database system.