Key Survey Information
Data Collection and Processing
Survey Quality Measures
Data Availability and Comparability
1. Survey Overview (FYs 2014 and 2015 survey cycle)
- Purpose: The Survey of State Government R&D is the only source for comprehensive, uniform statistics regarding the extent of R&D activity performed and funded by departments and agencies in each of the nation's 50 state governments, the government of the District of Columbia, and the government of Puerto Rico.
- Data collection authority: The information is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended; the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010; and Title 13, United States Code, § 8(b). It is collected under Office of Management and Budget control number 0607–0933, expiration date 31 May 2016. The survey is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) within the National Science Foundation (NSF).
- Major changes to recent survey cycle: The following changes were made to the FY 2014 and FY 2015 survey.
- Question 5 on expenditures for extramural R&D by source of funds was added; previous surveys asked only for source of funds for intramural R&D.
- Question 8 on source of federal funds received for both intramural and extramural R&D by federal agency was added; although total federal funds received for R&D was asked on previous survey cycles, there was no information regarding which federal agency was the source of these funds.
- Question 9 on intramural R&D performance by type of work (i.e., basic research, applied research, and experimental development) by source of funds was added; previous surveys asked only for the amount of total R&D expenditures that were classified as basic research.
2. Key Survey Information
- Frequency: Biennial.
- Initial survey year: FY 2006.
- Reference period: State government fiscal years ending in 2014 and 2015.
- Response unit: State government departments, agencies, commissions, public authorities, institutions, and other entities that operate separately or somewhat autonomously from the central state government but where the state government maintains administrative or fiscal control over their activities; units are collectively referred to as agencies.
- Sample or census: Census.
- Sample size: Not applicable.
- Population size: 643 agencies.
- Key variables: Key variables of interest are listed below.
- State government department or agency
- Total expenditures for R&D and R&D plant
- R&D expenditures by source of funds (federal, state, and other)
- Expenditures for intramural performance by source of funds
- Expenditures for intramural performance by type of work (basic research, applied research, and experimental development)
- Expenditures for extramural performance by source of funds
- Expenditures for extramural performance by type of performer (academic institutions, companies and individuals, and others)
- Federal funds for R&D by state and federal agency
- R&D expenditures by governmental function (agriculture, energy, environment and natural resources, health, transportation, and other)
- Capital outlays for state government R&D-related facilities
3. Survey Design
- Target population: The target population consists of all state departments, agencies, commissions, and dependent entities that funded R&D activities for state government fiscal years ending in 2014 and 2015. Several industry-specific state commissions, which are generally chartered by state legislatures but are administered independently, are considered state agencies and included in the survey's population of interest. Excluded are state-run colleges and universities, which are canvassed as part of NSF's Higher Education R&D (HERD) Survey. State-run laboratories or experiment stations controlled by state universities are also excluded from the respondent universe, as are any entities determined to be nonprofit or private as defined by the Census Bureau. Most state fiscal year periods begin 1 July and end the following 30 June. For example, FY 2015 is defined as the state fiscal period beginning on 1 July 2014 and ending on 30 June 2015. There are, however, four exceptions to the 30 June fiscal year end: New York (ends 31 March), Texas (ends 31 August), Alabama (ends 30 September), and Michigan (ends 30 September). Puerto Rico's fiscal year begins 1 July and ends on 30 June, whereas the District of Columbia follows the federal government fiscal year, which ends on 30 September. For comparability, all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico are surveyed at the same time.
- Sample frame: The total universe includes all state government dependent units with the capacity to perform or fund R&D, including those for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as defined by the Census Bureau's Government Finance and Employment Classification Manual. All units were identified with the aid of a state coordinator who was appointed by the governor of each state or state-equivalent.
- Sample design: The Survey of State Government Research and Development is a census. For the FY 2014 and FY 2015 survey, state coordinators were provided with the list of agencies that were previously identified as having the potential to perform or fund R&D from the FY 2012 and FY 2013 survey cycle. In addition, these lists included agencies identified from a systematic review of state session laws and additional review of agencies reporting to the Census Bureau's Census of Governments program by staff members from the Census Bureau and NSF. State coordinators were asked to review this list and add agencies that they believed were involved with R&D and were not already identified. State coordinators also made adjustments to the agency universe to remove agencies that have never had any qualifying R&D to report to NSF, to address organizational changes within their respective states since the previous survey, and to provide updated agency contact information.
4. Data Collection and Processing
- Data collection: The survey was funded by NSF. Data collection was conducted by the Census Bureau by means of a Web-based survey instrument. The survey was launched in November 2015, and responses were collected through July 2016. The respondent questionnaire consisted of one screening question, intended to reduce the burden on agency respondents who did not have qualifying R&D expenditures during FY 2014 or FY 2015, and seven questions regarding R&D-related expenditures.
- Data processing: Data collected under the Survey of State Government R&D are subject to automated data correction procedures using a combination of logical edits incorporated into the Web-based survey instrument and telephone and e-mail follow-up with survey respondents by staff members from NSF and the Census Bureau for any other data anomalies.
- Estimation techniques: All state and national totals are aggregates of reported state agency data.
5. Survey Quality Measures
- Sampling error: Not applicable.
- Coverage error: In addition to a Census Bureau review of state session laws to identify agencies with the capacity to fund R&D, NSF utilizes the expertise of an appointed state coordinator to assist in identifying state government agencies that have the capacity to perform or fund R&D. State coordinators are also offered the opportunity to review survey responses from their respective state agencies before results were finalized for data release. In cases where the state coordinator refused to cooperate, or where some agencies failed to respond to the survey, it is possible there may be an undercount of state government R&D activities. The undercount may occur despite efforts by staff members of NSF and the Census Bureau to conduct additional queries and conduct outreach with state agencies in lieu of an appointed state coordinator. In other instances, the appointed state coordinator could misinterpret the NSF definition and examples of qualifying R&D activities and fail to identify all state government dependent units with the capacity to perform or fund R&D.
- Nonresponse error: Of the 643 agencies in the survey universe, 618 (96.1%) responded to the survey. Of the 618 respondents, 375 (60.7%) reported having R&D activities in FY 2014 or FY 2015. No statistical methods were used to account for nonresponding agencies.
- Measurement error: All responses, including the initial agency data submissions and final state coordinator reviews, were received via the Web form or e-mail. Census staff performed basic logical edit checks and reviewed respondent comments, allowing staff to detect errors and work with state respondents to correct them. Despite these efforts, some of the data reported could include expenditures for non-R&D activities, such as commercialization, environmental testing, or routine survey work. Similarly, some state data may also exclude minor R&D expenditure amounts from agencies not surveyed.
6. Data Availability and Comparability
- Data availability: Data presented in trend tables in this report are from the most recently completed survey cycle, which canvassed 2 fiscal years (FY 2014 and FY 2015) on the same survey instrument. Data are available beginning with FY 2006. No survey of state governments' FY 2008 R&D activity was conducted.
- Data comparability: References to data prior to FY 2014 and FY 2015 should be restricted to those published in this report for three reasons: (1) when completing the current-year survey, survey respondents may revise their prior year data; (2) state coordinators may identify additional agencies to be canvassed that were not initially surveyed during the prior survey cycle, and many of these agencies will provide prior year data during the current survey collection cycle; and (3) NSF reviews data from prior years for consistency with current-year responses and, if necessary, may revise these data in consultation with respondents.
For FY 1995, FY 1988, and FY 1987, data collections of state government R&D were conducted by nonfederal organizations that were supported by NSF grants. Prior to those efforts, NSF collected state government R&D data for FYs 1977, 1973, 1972, 1967, 1968, 1965, and 1964 in collaboration with the Census Bureau's Census of Governments and related programs. As a result of differences in the survey populations, in definitions of covered R&D activities, and in collection methods over time, the results of these historical surveys are not comparable with the statistics collected for FY 2006 and subsequent Surveys of State Government R&D.
7. Data Products
Data from the Survey of State Government R&D are published in NCSES InfoBriefs and Detailed Statistical Data Reports and are available at https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvystaterd/. Data from the Survey of State Government R&D are also used in the annual report National Patterns of R&D and the biennial report Science and Engineering Indicators.
8. Contact Information
For additional information about this survey, contact the Project Officer:
Research and Development Statistics Program
National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 965
Arlington, VA 22230
Phone: (703) 292-7788