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National Science Foundation
Definitions of Research and Development.
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Definitions of Research and Development:
An Annotated Compilation of Official Sources

U.S. Academic and Nonprofit Organizations

A. Office of Management and Budget

Description:
OMB Circular A-21 establishes principles for determining costs applicable to grants, contracts, and other agreements with educational institutions. Circular A-110 sets forth standards for obtaining consistency and uniformity among Federal agencies in the administration of grants to and agreements with institutions of higher education, hospitals, and other nonprofit organizations. Circular A-133 sets forth standards for obtaining consistency and uniformity among Federal agencies for the audit of states, local governments, and nonprofit organizations expending Federal awards. The full text of these OMB circulars is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/.


Definition (as appears in the original source):
OMB Circular A-21: Cost Principles for Educational Institutions (Section B.1.b)

Organized research means all research and development activities of an institution that are separately budgeted and accounted for. It includes:

(1) Sponsored research means all research and development activities that are sponsored by Federal and non-Federal agencies and organizations. This term includes activities involving the training of individuals in research techniques (commonly called research training) where such activities utilize the same facilities as other research and development activities and where such activities are not included in the instruction function.

(2) University research means all research and development activities that are separately budgeted and accounted for by the institution under an internal application of institutional funds. University research, for purposes of this document, shall be combined with sponsored research under the function of organized research.

OMB Circular A-110: Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements With Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations (Subpart A–General, Section 2)[2]

Research and development means all research activities, both basic and applied, and all development activities that are supported at universities, colleges, and other non-profit institutions. "Research" is defined as a systematic study directed toward fuller scientific knowledge or understanding of the subject studied. "Development" is the systematic use of knowledge and understanding gained from research directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including design and development of prototypes and processes. The term research also includes activities involving the training of individuals in research techniques where such activities utilize the same facilities as other research and development activities and where such activities are not included in the instruction function.

OMB Circular A-133: Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations (Subpart A–General, Section 105)

Research is defined as a systematic study directed toward fuller scientific knowledge or understanding of the subject studied. The term research also includes activities involving the training of individuals in research techniques where such activities utilize the same facilities as other research and development activities and where such activities are not included in the instruction function. Development is the systematic use of knowledge and understanding gained from research directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including design and development of prototypes and processes.


B. Government Surveys

NSF Survey of R&D Expenditures at Universities and Colleges

Description:
This survey is the primary source of information on separately budgeted R&D expenditures within academia in the United States and outlying areas. The full text of these definitions is available in each survey (see http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvyrdexpenditures/2004/universities_2004.pdf).


Definition (as appears in the original source):
Research and Development (R&D). R&D for purposes of this survey is the same as "organized research" as defined in Section B.1.b. of OMB Circular A-21. It includes all R&D activities of an institution that are separately budgeted and accounted for. R&D includes both "sponsored research" activities (sponsored by Federal and non-Federal agencies and organizations) and "university research" (separately budgeted under an internal application of institutional funds).

Research is systematic study directed toward fuller knowledge or understanding of the subject studied. Research is classified as either basic or applied, according to the objectives of the investigator.

Development is systematic use of the knowledge or understanding gained from research, directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including design and development of prototypes and processes.

Separately budgeted research and development (R&D) includes all funds expended for activities specifically organized to produce research outcomes and commissioned by an agency either external to the institution or separately budgeted by an organizational unit within the institution. Include research equipment purchased under research project awards from "current fund" accounts. Also include research funds for which an outside organization, educational or other, is a subrecipient. Exclude training grants, public service grants, demonstration projects, clinical trials, and departmental research expenditures that are not separately budgeted...

[2] See also 45 Code of Federal Regulations 74.2, http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_01/45cfr74_01.html.

 

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