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News Release 12-098

NSF Report Details Federal Science and Engineering Support to Colleges, Universities and Nonprofit Institutions

Institutions of higher education perform about one-half of the nation's basic research

May 23, 2012

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Institutions of higher education, the major source of the nation's scientists and engineers, perform about one-half of the nation's basic research. Therefore, the level, distribution and characteristics of federal academic support are of much interest to officials at federal, state and local levels in non-governmental sectors.

This information is provided in a report released this week by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The "Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions: Fiscal Year 2008" provides the full set of detailed tables associated with the report "Federal Obligations for Science and Engineering to Universities and Colleges Show Little Growth," published earlier this year.

The National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended, requires that the Foundation "initiate and maintain a program for the determination of the total amount of money for scientific and engineering research, including money allocated for the construction of the facilities wherein such research is conducted, received by each educational institution and appropriate nonprofit organization in the United States, by grant, contract, or other arrangement from agencies of the federal government, and to report annually thereon to the President and the Congress."

To fulfill this requirement, the NSF uses the data collection system originally designed by the Committee on Academic Science and Engineering of the Federal Council for Science and Technology. NSF annually collects statistical data from the 19 federal agencies that account for virtually all support for science and engineering (S&E) research and development at educations institutions. Data are also collected on these agencies' obligations to nonprofit institutions.

Since its inception, this survey system has been the sole source of data on federal funding to individual institutions for S&E activities and therefore attracts a wide audience. These data provide information that enables users to examine patterns of support for individual institutions over time and to compare such patterns with those of other institutions.

Please visit the NSF's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics for more reports and other products.


Media Contacts
Deborah Wing, NSF, (703) 292-5344, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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