Glossary and Key to Acronyms

Applied research. Systematic study to gain knowledge or understanding to meet a specific, recognized need.

Basic research. Systematic study to gain more comprehensive knowledge or understanding of the subject under study without specific applications in mind.

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

European Union (EU). The EU comprises 28 member nations: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Unless otherwise noted, data on the EU include all 28 member countries.

FFRDC. Federally funded research and development center.

GDP. Gross domestic product. The market value of all final goods and services produced within a country within a given period of time.

Innovation. The implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organization method in business practices, workplace organization, or external relations. Indicators uses the definition developed by OECD/Eurostat in 2005.

Invention. The development of something new that has a practical bent—potentially useful, previously unknown, and nonobvious.

Knowledge- and technology-intensive (KTI) industries. Industries that have a particularly strong link to science and technology. These industries include high-technology (HT) manufacturing and knowledge-intensive (KI) service industries. HT manufacturing industries include those that spend a relatively high proportion of their revenue on R&D, consisting of aerospace, pharmaceuticals, computers and office machinery, semiconductors and communications equipment, and scientific (medical, precision, and optical) instruments. Medium-high-technology manufacturing industries include motor vehicles and parts, electrical machinery, machinery and equipment, chemicals excluding pharmaceuticals, and railroad and other transportation equipment. KI service industries include those that incorporate science, engineering, and technology into their services or the delivery of their services, consisting of business, information, education, financial, and health services. Commercial KI services are generally privately owned and compete in the marketplace without public support. These services are business, information, and financial services.

NCSES. National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, a federal statistical agency within the National Science Foundation.

NSB. National Science Board.

NSF. National Science Foundation.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). An international organization of 35 countries headquartered in Paris, France. The member countries are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States. Among its many activities, the OECD compiles social, economic, and science and technology statistics for all member and selected non-member countries.

R&D. Research and development.

R&D intensity. R&D as a proportion of gross domestic product.

Research university. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education considers doctorate-granting universities that award at least 20 doctoral degrees per year to be research universities. The 2010 Carnegie Classification includes three subgroups of research universities based on the level of research activity: very high research activity (108 institutions), high research activity (99 institutions), and doctoral/research universities (90 institutions).

S&E. Science and engineering.

S&E occupations. Biological, agricultural, and environmental life scientists; computer and mathematical scientists; physical scientists; social scientists; and engineers. S&E managers and technicians and health-related occupations are categorized as S&E-related and are not included in S&E.

S&T. Science and technology.

STEM. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Technology transfer. The process by which technology or knowledge developed in one place or for one purpose is applied and exploited in another place for some other purpose. In the federal setting, technology transfer is the process by which existing knowledge, facilities, or capabilities developed under federal R&D funding are used to fulfill public and private needs.