R&D Expenditures Survey

Academic Science and Engineering
R&D Expenditures

Fiscal Year 1993
Technical Notes


Scope of the SurveyTOP

Data for the National Science Foundation's (NSF's) fiscal year (FY) 1993 report on research and development (R&D) expenditures were collected from 681 institutions of higher education in the United States and Outlying Areas. These institutions have doctoral programs in science and engineering, are historically black colleges or universities that expend any amount of separately budgeted R&D in science and engineering, and/or are other institutions that expend at least $50,000 in separately budgeted R&D in science and engineering. This is the first year since FY 1988 that the entire population of institutions meeting these criteria was surveyed.

In addition, the survey includes 19 federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs). To qualify, 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 by either a university or consortium of universities 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, the resulting data are presented separately in this report. The survey population was reviewed prior to mailing the questionnaires to ensure that each institutional classification was accurate. Characteristics of the schools were reviewed before and during the course of the survey to determine if changes had occurred (i.e., in highest degree granted or in terms of school openings, closings, or mergers).

In FY 1993, NSF conducted a thorough review of higher education institutions to ensure that all universities and colleges meeting the criteria were included in the survey universe. As a result of dropping institutions from and adding institutions to the survey universe, the overall number of institutions increased from 613 in FY 1992 to 700 in FY 1993. Although a change in the survey universe does affect the consistency of trend comparisons, this change increased total R&D expenditures by less than 0.6 percent from FY 1992 to FY 1993. In other words, the 540 institutions that were in the universe in both FY 1992 and FY 1993 performed approximately 99.4 percent of all expenditures reported through the survey.

Survey Instrument TOP

Most major R&D performers have incorporated into their recordkeeping systems the data that are essential to complete this survey, 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 questionnaire is found within the institutions' yearend accounting records.

The survey questionnaire consists of three main items:

Item 1 is a request that institutions report their total current expenditures for separately budgeted science and engineering (S&E) R&D for all activities specifically organized to produce research outcomes and commissioned by an agency either external to the institution or separately budgeted by an organizational unit, i.e., research centers, within the institution by source of funds. In addition, schools are asked to provide the percentage of the total and the percentage of the federally financed expenditures that are considered basic research. Included also are research funds for which an outside organization, educational or other, is a subrecipient. Care should be observed when interpreting data on source of funds; for example, industry R&D support is limited to grants and contracts for R&D activities from profitmaking organizations, and the total reported excludes research funded through unrestricted accounts and from corporate foundations, endowments, and fellowships to students. An increasing number of institutions have linkages with industry and foundations via subcontracts, thus complicating the identification of funding source. In addition, institutional policy may determine whether unrestricted State support is reported as State or as institutional funding.

Item 2 is a request for total and federally financed current fund expenditures for separately budgeted R&D activities by detailed S&E fields. Major fields remain unchanged from the FY 1992 questionnaire. When interpreting these data at the detailed discipline level, users should keep in mind that there is considerable interdisciplinary activity and/or overlap among subdisciplines.

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 1993 survey questionnaires were mailed in October 1993. Every effort was made to maintain close contact with respondents in order to preserve both consistency and continuity in the resultant data. Questionnaires were carefully examined for completeness upon receipt. Computerized facsimiles of the survey data were then prepared for each institution, comparing the current and 2 prior years' data and noting any substantive disparities. These facsimiles were mailed to the respondents so that they could provide revisions before final processing and tabulation of the data.

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 updated or amended figures covering past years were submitted, trend data were correspondingly changed by NSF. Similarly, if a respondent institution underwent an organizational change, such as a merger, NSF incorporated the effects of such changes into prior years' data.

By the survey closing date in mid-July, forms had been received from 659 universities and colleges out of the academic population of 681, resulting in a 96.8-percent response rate. Responses were received from 97.7 percent of all doctorate-granting institutions, where 98.1 percent of the R&D expenditures in S&E fields was disbursed. Also, forms were received from all 19 FFRDCs. Table A-1 displays a detailed breakdown of the response rates by highest degree granted.

National Total and Imputation TOP

To provide a national estimate for all universities and colleges performing R&D in FY 1993, it was necessary to implement two statistical procedures. First, data were estimated by "imputation" for approximately 3 percent of the population that had not responded by the closing date of the survey. Imputation has been used consistently since FY 1976. Second, data were either imputed or estimated for universities and colleges that submitted only partial responses. The combined imputed and/or estimated amounts totaled $23 million, or 0.1 percent of the $19.9 billion total, as shown in table A-2.

Tables A-3a and A-3b present a breakdown of the imputed and/or estimated amounts by broad S&E field. The dollar amount imputed and/or estimated is displayed along with the percentage it represents of the national estimate for universities and colleges in a particular field. The amount imputed and/or estimated is similarly broken down by source of funds in table A-4.

Table A-5 represents the number of institutions actually surveyed each year since FY 1988. In FY 1988 and FY 1993, all institutions in the survey universe were surveyed. During the intervening years, FY 1989 through FY 1992, the survey was conducted as a sample comprised of all doctorate-granting institutions, all historically black colleges and universities, all academically administered FFRDCs, and a random sample of all other institutions in the survey universe.

A significant number of surveyed institutions have been responding only intermittently in past years, providing data one year, not responding for one or more subsequent years, and then providing data again. 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 reporting anomalies at individual institutions. For this reason a separate backcasting of prior years' data was performed, following current-year imputation.

For each institution, formerly imputed key variables for items 1 to 3 were compared with subsequent submissions to determine whether the imputed data accurately represent the growth patterns shown by reported data. Reestimation was applied when the imputed data were not consistent with reported data. If data were reported for fiscal years 1990 and 1993 but not for the intervening years, for example, the difference between the reported figures for each item total was calculated and evenly distributed across the intervening years (1991-92). 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. A clean facsimile was generated for each of the institutions undergoing these procedures and returned to the school for comment. These procedures resulted in much more consistent reporting trends for individual institutions but had little effect upon aggregate figures reflecting national totals.

Data Anomalies TOP

Aggregate academic expenditure data are generally consistent from year to year, although data for individual institutions may vary considerably. Data anomalies may reflect true increases or decreases in expenditures or may be the result of changes in reporting methodology.

Highest-Degree-Granted Tables TOP

Several longitudinal tables display data for institutions whose highest S&E degree granted is at the doctoral level. In tables produced prior to FY 1992, it would have been difficult to identify whether changes in yearly R&D expenditures were caused by changes in expenditure levels or in the number of doctorate-granting institutions. In order to maintain a consistent group of institutions across all years, the highest-degree-granted status for each institution is based on the highest degree granted in the most recent year, FY 1993.

Data Files TOP

Public-use data files from NSF's academic S&E surveys are available and will normally be shipped on tape (at a small charge) or electronically within 3 working days from receipt of order. Data files from the previous years and most recent surveys (1993) are currently available. Individuals interested in obtaining data files should request a copy of the Guide to the Data Files From the National Science Foundation's Annual Surveys of Academic Science and Engineering, which contains order forms and detailed information about the files. This document may be obtained by contacting NSF's Division of Science Resources Studies at--

Research and Development Statistics Program
Division of Science Resources Studies
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 965
Arlington, VA 22230

Telephone: (703) 306-1772, ext. 6934

Selected data items for individual doctorate-granting, master's-granting, and historically black institutions are available on computer-generated Institutional Profiles, which consist of data not only from this survey, but also from NSF's other two academic S&E surveys: Federal Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions (Federal support survey) and Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering (graduate student survey). Institutional Profiles for a single institution or limited group of institutions may be ordered by contacting Mr. Richard Bennof at the above address or by phone or e-mail:

Telephone: (703) 306-1772, ext. 6938

The CASPAR (Computer-Aided Science Policy Analysis and Research) database system is an easy-to-use tool for retrieval and analysis of statistical data on academic S&E resources. CASPAR provides the analyst with an extensive and growing data library of multiyear statistics on the state of higher education in general and on S&E resources specifically. This data library is based on a set of standardized institutional and field of science definitions across the multiple sources used to develop the database. The CASPAR program includes built-in help capabilities to facilitate the use and interpretation of the data.

CASPAR data are drawn from a number of sources. All data are available on the individual institutional, State, and national levels. Longitudinal data from surveys of universities and colleges conducted by the NSF Division of Science Resources Studies include this R&D expenditures survey, the Federal support survey, and the graduate student survey. Data from surveys of universities and colleges conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics include Earned Degrees; Opening Fall Enrollment; Faculty Salaries, Tenure, and Fringe Benefits; and Financial Statistics. Data from other sources include the National Research Council Doctorate Program Ratings.

CASPAR is distributed on CD-ROM compact disc. For additional information on CASPAR, write or fax to the following--

Quantum Research Corp.
7315 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 631W
Bethesda, MD 20814

Fax: (301) 657-3862