NSF Briefing Published - The National Academies Press

Modernizing the Infrastructure of the National Science Foundation Federal Funds Survey panel photo
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SLIS professor Katy Börner recently served on a panel — Modernizing the Infrastructure of the National Science Foundation Federal Funds Survey. The panel conducted a debriefing for the National Science Foundation (NSF) staff on January 22, 2010. The report, titled “Data on Federal Research and Development Investments: A Pathway to Modernization,” is now available from The National Academies Press.

The briefing was authored by the National Research Council (NRC), Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) and the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE).


“Two surveys of the National Science Foundation's Division of Science Resources Statistics (SRS) provide some of the most significant data available to understand research and development spending and policy in the United States. These are the Survey of Federal Funds for Research and Development and the Survey of Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions. These surveys help reach conclusions about fundamental policy questions, such as whether a given field of research is adequately funded, whether funding is balanced among fields, and whether deficiencies in funding may be contributing to a loss of U.S. scientific or economic competitiveness.

However, the survey data are of insufficient quality and timeliness to support many of the demands put on them. In addition the surveys are increasingly difficult to conduct in times of constrained resources, and their technological, procedural, and conceptual infrastructure has not been modernized for procedure or content.

Data on Federal Research and Development Investments reviews the uses and collection of data on federal funds and federal support for science and technology and recommends future directions for the program based on an assessment of these uses and the adequacy of the surveys. The book also considers the classification structure, or taxonomy, for the fields of science and engineering.”

Posted February 08, 2010

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