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National Science Foundation National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics

General Notes

Data Tables

Appendix A. Technical Notes

Appendix B. Survey Instruments

Suggested Citation, Acknowledgments

Michael T. Gibbons,
Project Officer
(703) 292-4590
Research and Development Statistics Program

Science and Engineering Research Facilities: Fiscal Year 2011


Appendix A. Technical Notes


Scope of Survey

The data presented in these tables are collected biennially through the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) congressionally mandated Survey of Science and Engineering Research Facilities (Facilities Survey). The survey originated in 1986 in response to the U.S. Congress’s concern about the state of research facilities at the nation’s colleges and universities. NSF’s 1984 reauthorization legislation, P.L. 99-159, mandated a data collection and analytic system to identify and assess the research facilities needs of academic institutions. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) cosponsored all cycles of the survey through FY 2009, allowing for the inclusion of nonprofit biomedical research institutions in the survey population.

Recognizing the growing use of networking and computing capacity in conducting research, a set of questions on these topics was added to the FY 2003 Facilities Survey and revised for each subsequent survey.


The FY 2011 population consisted of 554 research-performing academic institutions in the United States. Research-performing academic institutions were defined as colleges and universities with $1 million or more in research and development expenditures. Each academic institution’s level of R&D expenditures was determined by the FY 2010 NSF Higher Education Research and Development Survey (HERD). Military institutions, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) institutions, and federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) were excluded. Nonprofit biomedical research institutions were not included in the FY 2011 survey cycle.

Response Rate

The FY 2011 survey was mailed to academic institutions in November 2011, and data collection ended in April 2012. Of the 554 institutions contacted, 98% completed surveys. The FY 2011 survey had limited item nonresponse. Nonresponse ranged from 0% to 3% for 98% of the items. Six cyberinfrastructure items applied to 25 or fewer participants. Each of these items had two nonresponses.

Adjustment for Nonresponse

Unit Nonresponse

The FY 2011 Facilities Survey attempted to obtain responses from all institutions in the defined population. Consequently one of the usual sources of survey error, sampling error, is not of concern in this survey. However, as is the case in almost all surveys, nonresponse error is of concern. In the FY 2011 Facilities Survey, 98% of all eligible institutions responded.

Weights were used to account for unit nonresponse. The weights were adjusted for the known number of academic institutions, by expenditure categories (the quintiles of the distribution), census region, institutional control (public or private), whether the institution granted doctor of philosophy degrees, and the presence of a medical school. The minimum weights were constrained to be at least 1.0.

The FY 2011 Facilities Survey Detailed Statistical Tables contain two sets of data: part 1 (research space), and part 2 (computing and networking). The data in all part 1 tables are weighted according to the previously described procedures, except for the data on condition of research space and the data presented by state and control (i.e., public vs. private) and individual institution tables (i.e., tables 6, 10, 12, 17, 19, 21, 25, 27, 29, and 51). Data in those tables are unweighted. None of the data in part 2 tables are weighted. The part 2 data are not weighted due to potential measurement error within the survey responses. It is believed that substantially greater measurement error may exist in the part 2 data because of the rapidly changing nature and variability of the part 2 data. Likewise, item nonresponse is not imputed for part 2 questions.

Item Nonresponse

For most part 1 questions, a series of logistic regression models and linear regression models was developed and used to impute the values for all missing data for institutions that responded to the survey. The predicted values from these models were used to impute for the missing responses.

A set of core predictors was used for imputing most items. The core predictors were institutional control (public or private), highest degree granted (doctorate or nondoctorate), existence of a medical school, FY 2010 total R&D expenditures (overall), and total net assignable square feet (NASF).

In addition to the core predictors, regression models for specific survey items included data from responses to other survey items.

Tables showing data by state, control, and individual institution are based on unimputed data.

Imputation was performed for 141 of 308 survey items (46%) within part 1. The remaining survey items in part 1 had no missing data and therefore did not require imputation. Items in part 2 were not imputed. For the items that were imputed, the imputation rates ranged from 0.6% to 3.0%. The imputation rate for each survey item was calculated as the number of imputed cases divided by the number of institutions asked the question. Eighty-six percent of survey items that required imputation had an imputation rate at or below 1.5%.


Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transmitted in a given amount of time, measured in bits per second.

Centrally administered high-performance computing (HPC) is located within a distinct organizational unit with a staff and a budget and is generally available to the campus community. The unit has a stated mission that includes supporting HPC needs of faculty and researchers.

Commodity Internet (Internet1) is the general public, multiuse network often called "the Internet."

Completion costs include planning, site preparation, construction, fixed equipment, nonfixed equipment that costs $1 million or more, and building infrastructure such as plumbing, lighting, air exchange, and safety systems either in the building or within 5 feet of the building foundation.

Current research program commitments include current faculty and staff (or those to whom offers have been made or grants awarded, whether or not research has actually begun) and also programs that have been approved.

Deferred projects are those that (1) are not funded, and (2) are not scheduled for FY 2012 or FY 2013. They do not include projects planned for developing new programs or expanding current programs. Deferred projects are limited to only those projects whose prorated cost was estimated to be $250,000 or more for at least one field of science and engineering (S&E).

EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research). States may be grouped according to their eligibility for NSF funding. States are eligible for the NSF EPSCoR if they have historically received less federal R&D funding than other states. The purpose of the program is to increase the R&D funding competitiveness of these states by assisting in the development and utilization of science and technology resources located at the major universities. The following states were eligible for this program during FY 2011:

Alabama Hawaii Kentucky Montana
Alaska Idaho Louisiana Nebraska
Arkansas Iowa Maine Nevada
Delaware Kansas Mississippi New Hampshire
New Mexico South Carolina Vermont U.S. Virgin Islands
North Dakota South Dakota West Virginia  
Oklahoma Tennessee Wyoming  
Rhode Island Utah    

Geographic regions. States may be divided into the four U.S. geographic regions defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. These are the following:

  • Northeast: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont
  • Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin
  • South: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia
  • West: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are excluded from the geographic regions but are included in the national statistics and other appropriate aggregate figures.

Gross square feet (GSF) is the floor area of a structure within the outside faces of the exterior walls.

Institutional control is defined for academic institutions as private or public.

Institutional funds and other sources include the following examples: operating funds, endowments, tax-exempt bonds and other debt financing, indirect costs recovered from federal grants or contracts, and private donations.

Internet2 is a high-performance, hybrid optical packet network. The network was designed to provide next-generation production services as well as a platform for the development of new networking ideas and protocols.

Medical school is a school that awards a doctor of medicine degree or a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree.

National LambdaRail is an advanced optical network infrastructure for research and education. National LambdaRail enables cutting-edge exploration in the sciences and in network research.

Net assignable square feet (NASF) is the sum of all areas on all floors of a building assigned to, or available to be assigned to, an occupant for a specific use, such as research or instruction. NASF is measured from the inside faces of walls.

New construction is the construction of a new building or additions to an existing building. New construction is limited to only those projects whose prorated cost was estimated to be $250,000 or more for at least one field of S&E.

Repairs and renovations are activities such as fixing facilities in deteriorated condition, capital improvements on facilities, conversion of facilities, and the building out of shell space. They include any repairs or renovations to existing space that are performed in combination with new construction projects. They do not include building additions because they are reported in this survey under new construction. Repairs and renovations are limited to only those projects whose prorated cost was estimated to be $250,000 or more for at least one field of S&E.

Research is all sponsored S&E R&D activities that are separately accounted for and budgeted. Research can be funded by the institution itself, the federal government, a state government, foundations, corporations, or other sources. It does not include departmental research that is not separately budgeted.

Research space is the net assignable square feet of space in buildings within which research activities take place. Research facilities are located within buildings. A building is a roofed structure for permanent or temporary shelter of persons, animals, plants, materials, or equipment. Structures should be included if they are (1) attached to a foundation; (2) roofed; (3) serviced by a utility, exclusive of lighting; and (4) a source of significant maintenance and repair activities. Research space includes controlled-environment space, such as clean, cold, or white rooms; technical and laboratory support space, such as equipment areas, preparation areas, darkrooms, carpentry and machine shops, storage areas, and so forth; laboratories, including computer labs, behavior observation rooms, and so forth; core laboratories that serve other laboratories; laboratories and associated support areas used for research animals, including procedure rooms, bench space, animal production colonies, holding rooms, germ-free rooms, surgical facilities, recovery rooms, and so forth; housing facilities for research animals and associated maintenance areas, including cage rooms, stalls, wards, isolation rooms, exercise rooms, feed storage rooms, cage-washing rooms, holding and storage areas, and so forth; space for clinical trial research; offices, to the extent that they are used for research activities, including administrative activities for a specific research project; space with fixed (built-in) equipment such as fume hoods; space with nonfixed equipment costing $1 million or more each, such as magnetic resonance imaging equipment; and space that is leased by your institution. Research space does not include space for the fields of law, business administration/management, humanities, history, the arts, or education; libraries, unless they are dedicated to a specific research project; animal field buildings sheltering animals that do not directly support research or that are not subject to government regulations concerning humane care and use of laboratory animals; FFRDCs; in-kind space used by faculty, staff, or other persons from the institution but administered by other organizations, such as research facilities at nonuniversity hospitals or VA hospitals; space administered by the institution but leased to another organization; and outdoor areas such as fish ponds or planting fields.

Data Comparability and Changes in Reporting

Data Comparability

Changes in survey questions, and major survey improvements and changes in procedures and practices, may affect the comparability of statistics produced from the survey over time. Survey questions on the "Computing and Networking" section of the survey are significantly revised each survey cycle to reflect new topics of interest and/or advances in technology.

In 2011, data were compared on individual institutions’ new construction projects (including name, gross square feet, NASF, and cost of project) that were reported to both the FY 2009 and FY 2011 surveys. Twenty-one projects with the same or similar characteristics were identified. With institution approval, three construction projects were deleted from their institutions’ FY 2009 new construction data to avoid double-counting these projects as new in FY 2011.

To reflect these deletions, data on the source of funding for new construction projects were revised. The three new construction projects removed from the FY 2009 data affected the records of three institutions: for one, the removal eliminated the only new construction project that was reported, so all funds reported by source for new construction were also deleted for that institution. For the remaining two, costs associated with the deleted projects were subtracted from the sources of funds total for each institution. The remaining funds were reallocated to source by distributing the remaining funds across sources indicated using the same allocation that had been initially reported by the institution (institution-level data are not reported in the detailed tables). Consequently, some new construction totals for FY 2008–09 in tables 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, and 33 of this report are slightly lower than those published for the FY 2009 survey.

Changes in Reporting


Survey section "Research Space." Questions were revised, including changes to the lists of disciplines included in some fields of S&E to be consistent with the 2010 Classification of Instructional Programs. The following questions on research animal space from the FY 2009 survey cycle were deleted:

Question 7. Condition of research animal space
Question 8. Biosafety level of research animal facilities
Question 10. Research animal facilities: repairs and renovations
Question 15. Research animal facilities: planned repairs and renovations
Question 18. Research animal facilities: planned new construction
Question 21. Research animal facilities: deferred repairs and renovations
Question 24. Research animal facilities: deferred new construction

Survey section "Computing and Networking." Question 4 (on federal government research networks) and Question 12 (on centrally administered HPC with accelerators) were added. Question 11 (on centrally administered HPC architectures of 1 teraflop or faster) was modified to include an instruction on reporting systems with accelerators and contains updated definitions for the HPC architectures. Many questions were updated for increased speeds. The following questions from the FY 2009 survey cycle were deleted:

Question 4. Commodity internet bandwidth
Question 6. High-performance network connections
Question 13. HPC centrally administered resources
Question 23. Conditioned machine room space for centrally administered HPC


Beginning with the FY 2003 cycle and continuing with each subsequent survey cycle, respondents were requested to provide data on their institution’s individual, new construction projects. Respondents provided several types of data for each project, including name, gross square feet, NASF, and cost of project. Also, a set of questions on networking and computing capacity in conducting research was added to the FY 2003 survey (and revised for each subsequent survey).

Data Availability

Data published in this report are available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/facilities/. Data are also available for this and other surveys through NSF’s Integrated Science and Engineering Resources Data System, WebCASPAR, available at http://ncsesdata.nsf.gov/webcaspar/. All microdata (except confidential items on condition of space and research animal space) for part 1 and part 2 are available in the data file called “NSF Survey of Science and Engineering Research Facilities (Not Weighted or Imputed)” in the WebCASPAR database system.

Science and Engineering Research Facilities: Fiscal Year 2011
Detailed Statistical Tables | NSF 13-309 | February 2013