Definitions
NSF 95-304


Definitions

Research and Development
Basic Research
Applied Research
Development

Research and Development . In this report R&D consists of basic and applied research in the sciences (including medical sciences) and in engineering and activities in development, all defined below.

The Federal, university, and nonprofit sectors include data for the broad fields of physical sciences, environmental sciences, mathematical sciences, computer sciences, life sciences, psychology, social sciences, an all inclusive "other sciences" category, and engineering. Industry coverage is limited to (1) the physical sciences, including related engineering and (2) the biological sciences, including medicine but excluding psychology. Industry R&D specifically excludes research in the social sciences.

Basic Research . Within the Federal, university, and nonprofit sectors, basic research is defined as research directed toward increases in knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and of observable facts without specific application toward processes or products in mind. For the industry sector, basic research projects are defined as "original investigations for the advancement of scientific knowledge which do not have specific commercial objectives, although they may be in fields of present or potential interest to the reporting company."

Applied Research . Within the Federal, university, and nonprofit sectors, applied research is defined as research directed toward gaining "knowledge or understanding necessary for determining the means by which a recognized and specific need may be met." The applied research definition for the industry sector is modified to include "research projects which represent investigations directed to discovery of new scientific knowledge and which have specific commercial objectives with respect to either products or processes."

Development. The NSF survey definition of development is "the 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." It excludes quality control, routine product testing, and production.

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