How the R&D Funding Data are Compiled
The data presented
by the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program cover only research and development
(R&D), not the entire federal budget. Within the federal budget there is no
separately identified R&D budget as such; nor are most appropriations for
R&D so labeled. To determine funding levels for federal R&D, the Office
of Management and Budget (OMB) requires federal agencies to submit data on their
R&D programs as part of their annual budget submissions in December and January.
Specifically, the agencies provide data on funding levels for basic research,
applied research, development, construction of R&D facilities, and major capital
equipment for R&D (see Definitions for the common
definitions that OMB, the agencies, and AAAS use to classify programs as R&D
R&D figures rarely correspond to budget line items
as found in appropriations bills or the President's budget. Agencies make determinations
as to what proportion of budget line items are classified as R&D; many budget
line items have both R&D and non-R&D components. Agencies also differ
in their reporting. For example, some agencies classify program direction or management
support as R&D; others do not.
Each February, OMB releases these R&D
data as part of the President's proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. The
data cover three fiscal years: the past fiscal year, the current fiscal year,
and proposals for the coming fiscal year. In the data tables, columns labeled
"actual," "est." and "request" represent agencies'
best estimates of federal funding for R&D for the past, current, and coming
fiscal year, respectively. Each February through April, AAAS bases its analyses
on the OMB data, but AAAS also collects detailed R&D information from individual
federal agencies reflecting their revisions to data made after the President's
budget was prepared. The final, revised data are made available in April on the
World Wide Web and in the forthcoming publication AAAS Report XXXIII: R&D
FY 2009 (April 2008).
As the proposed budget is considered by Congress
in the summer and fall, AAAS produces estimates of R&D contained in appropriations
bills. Because final program-by-program allocations of R&D funding are not
available until several months after appropriations actions, AAAS estimates of
R&D are based on agency data, historical trends for R&D within appropriations,
appropriations bill language, committee report language, and other supplementary
data. Data in the columns labeled "House," "Senate," "Conference"
or "Congress" are AAAS estimates. These data are presented in Web-based
funding updates throughout the summer and fall.
in Data from Other Sources
Although AAAS relies mostly on OMB, agency,
and congressional data, we rely on data from other data sources to provide a wider
context for the federal R&D enterprise. When these other data sources are
used, they are noted in tables and charts. The National
Science Foundation's Division of Science Resources Statistics and the OECD
are among the most common sources for supplementary information. The user should
be aware that although NSF and OECD use the same definitions
as OMB and AAAS in compiling their data, there may be discrepancies between different
data sources. The discrepancies can result from several factors:
Some data sources rely on performer surveys, rather than the surveys of federal
agencies used by OMB and AAAS.
- Some data sources track obligations or
expenditures for R&D, which can differ from the budget authority data used
by AAAS (see definitions).
- Some data sources
use the calendar year rather than the fiscal year used by AAAS and federal agencies
- Some data sources report only on the conduct of R&D,
rather than total R&D used by AAAS (which includes funds for the construction
of R&D facilities support and major capital equipment for R&D - see definitions).
For the most part, these other data sources are used to highlight
broad funding trends and to discuss the federal R&D portfolio or the U.S.
R&D portfolio in the aggregate. The reader should be aware that these data
are not directly comparable at the agency or program level to the OMB and AAAS
Note on Research - There are no basic or applied research
programs as such in the federal budget. Most R&D programs contain a mix of
basic research, applied research and development. Agencies make determinations
as to what proportion of a program's R&D should be considered research. Agencies'
estimates are reflected in the "actual," "est." and "request"
figures. Congressional figures reflect AAAS estimates of basic and applied research
based on extrapolation of historical trends in basic and applied research and
Note on Major Functional Categories of R&D
- All activities in the federal budget are classified into 20 broad functional
categories. (AAAS separates the general science, space and technology function
into its subfunctions of General Science and Space). An agency's activities are
not necessarily included in only one function. Instead, the programs of one agency
are typically distributed across functions, and each function often includes programs
from multiple agencies. No overlap occurs between functions; therefore, each R&D
program is assigned to only one function, even though the R&D activity may
address several functional concerns. For example, NASA's Earth Science program
is classified under the Space function, even though its R&D is also closely
related to natural resources and environment, as well as general science. Homeland
security is not a function; it is a cross-cutting priority that cuts across traditional
government missions in administration of justice, general science, health, and
For more details, please refer to AAAS
Report XXXII: R&D FY 2008 and the forthcoming AAAS Report XXXIII:
R&D FY 2009.