Federal Support Declines for University R&D Facilities
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The nation's top universities are postponing construction of new science and engineering (S&E) research facilities. Instead they are spending funds to shore up existing facilities--even as they report decreasing S&E building space on their campuses.
These are among overall findings in a new National Science Foundation report, Scientific and Engineering Facilities at Universities and Colleges, 1996. The biennial report synthesizes data on space available for S&E research in U.S. colleges and universities, adequacy and condition of this space, construction and repair, funding sources and S&E research facility needs.
Federal contributions to S&E facility construction declined in constant dollars from $541 million in 1990-91 to $207 million in 1994-95. In this same period, funding from state governments and contributions from the institutions themselves remained steady, but private-sector support declined.
"This large decline in Federal support for construction should be watched over the coming years to see if it is a trend," cautions Ann Lanier, the report's project director.
Among the findings in the NSF report:
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
Useful NSF Web Sites: