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National Science Foundation
About Business R&D and Innovation Survey
About BRDIS
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National Center for Science and
  Engineering Statistics (NCSES)
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Survey FAQs


What information does the Business R&D and Innovation Survey collect?

BRDIS collects data on the current state of research and development in the U.S. business sector. BRDIS provides the U.S. official measure of R&D in the private sector.

What types of data does the survey collect?

The survey covers five broad topics:

  • Financial measures of R&D, including worldwide and domestic activity
  • R&D activity funded by others
  • R&D employment
  • Measures related to R&D management and strategy
  • Measures related to intellectual property, technology transfer and company performance
See Summary of Survey Content for a detailed list of all survey items.

What's new about the survey?

The Business R&D and Innovation Survey replaces the former Survey of Industrial Research and Development. Business leaders, company personnel and official government data users provided input into the types of information to collect. The survey includes many new data items, including worldwide R&D expenses, R&D employee headcount by occupation category, R&D expenses by detailed business segments, and share of R&D devoted to new business areas and new science or technology activities. See Summary of Survey Content for a detailed list of all survey items.

Who sponsors the survey?

The National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent government agency, sponsors the Business R&D and Innovation Survey. NSF has collected data on business research and development since the early 1950s. This new survey replaces the former Survey of Industrial Research and Development. The U.S. Census Bureau is a joint partner on these data collections.

What happened to the old Survey of Industrial Research and Development?

The Survey of Industrial Research and Development has been replaced with the new Business R&D and Innovation Survey. The new survey has been designed to better capture information about the current state of business R&D activities. It better reflects the changing nature of business in the United States.

What types of companies are selected to receive the survey?

All non-farm for-profit businesses, private or public, with five or more employees operating in the U.S. are eligible for this survey.

Can I submit my data on the web?

Yes. A web-based version of BRDIS is available. Companies receive a username, password and the Web address with your paper copy of the survey.

Are the data confidential?

Yes! All individual company data are confidential and will never be released. Individual company data will be combined with others in the sample and only aggregate estimates will be released publicly. No information about any specific company will be seen by anyone other than government personnel sworn to protect confidential information. These personnel face penalties of up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for any unauthorized disclosure of your confidential information.

Are the data secure?

Yes! Companies that submit their information via the Web can be assured that the data are secure. The Census Bureau encrypts the data immediately, and only authorized personnel have access to the company-specific data on the Web-based survey. In addition, a personalized ID and password are needed to access the Web-based survey.

Companies that submit their information via paper can be assured that only government personnel sworn to protect confidential Title 13 information may view company-specific data. More information on Title 13 is available at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title13/title13.html

Is the survey mandatory?

Yes! Section 224 of Title 13, United State Code provides for penalties for failure to report and for intentionally providing false information.

How does the government use the data?

The government uses the data in several ways:

  • They are a key component to the R&D portion of the System of National Accounts (http://www.bea.gov/national/index.htm#researchanddevelopment).
  • They help measure major Federal initiatives such as those detailed in the U.S. Department of Commerce's Advisory Committee report, Innovation Measurement-Tracking the State of Innovation in the American Economy
  • They are critical to the National Science Board's biennial Science and Engineering Indicators report (www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind08).
  • They are part of the National Science Foundation's Science of Science and Innovation Policy efforts (www.nsf.gov/sbe/scisip/scisip_prospec.pdf) PDF..
  • Federal, state, and local government policy makers use R&D data to project trends, assess the impact of economic policy, and make international comparisons.

See How R&D Data Are Used for more details.

Where can I get more information about the survey?

For more information on the survey, please see the NCSES InfoBrief "NSF Announces New U.S. Business R&D and Innovation Survey" (NSF 09-304) at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf09304 or contact Raymond Wolfe, National Science Foundation, at 703-292-7789 or rwolfe@nsf.gov.

 

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