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National Science Foundation
About Business R&D and Innovation Survey
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How R&D Data Are Used

How might businesses use the R&D data collected?

Business R&D data from the BRDIS survey will be aggregated and provided by major industry, by line of business or business segment, by state (for U.S. R&D), and by country (worldwide R&D expenses). Businesses will be able to use the data in a variety of ways, for example:

  • To compare their R&D expenses to industry or to business segment averages.
  • To see where R&D is being done in the United States and to compare the amounts of R&D done domestically and worldwide.
  • To assess the education attainment of R&D employees, and to compare the ratio of male to female employees.
  • To see the types of organizations that provide funding to business R&D.

Will all of the data collected on the survey be published?

Yes, the intent is to publish data collected with the survey in aggregate form. No individual firm's data will be published or otherwise made available. Any aggregate data that are deemed unreliable or that pose a disclosure risk will not be published.

Where can I find the most recently published data?

NSF provides access to published R&D data in the series Industrial R&D.

How does the government use R&D data?

The government uses R&D data in a variety of ways. Some of these are described below.

Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)

The BEA will include R&D in its system of national accounts which measure the economic well-being of the country. The data from this survey are a key input into these accounts, which feed into the estimates of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). More information on BEA uses of R&D data is available at: http://www.bea.gov/industry/iedguide.htm.

The White House

In 2006 The White House issued the American Competitiveness Initiative to "increase investments in research and development, strengthen education, and encourage entrepreneurship." Data on R&D are delivered to The White House and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) for policy uses. More information is available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/stateoftheunion/2006/aci/.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

NSF produces a series of publications containing R&D data. These include the biennial National Science Board report Science and Engineering Indicators, the National Patterns of R&D Resources series, the S&E State Profile series, the annual Research and Development in Industry, and the forthcoming Research and Development in Business series. Special reports and other publications are also available.

Who else uses R&D data?

NSF keeps track of requests for R&D data. The following are examples of the types of organizations that request R&D data:

  • State government policy-makers and economic development offices
  • The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which provides international information on R&D
  • Individual businesses
  • Trade associations
  • Academic researchers and other research organizations studying R&D, science and technology and related topics
  • News media, including Business Week, U.S. News & World Report, and the Wall Street Journal


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