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Data on Federal Research and Development Investments: A Pathway to Modernization
using grants.gov to collect administrative data about awarded grants would enable cross-references to reported agency spending and university acquisition of federal funds.
USAspending.gov was created in response to the requirement of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (Transparency Act). USAspending.gov aims to provide the public with information about how their tax dollars are spent. The ability to look at contracts, grants, loans, and other types of spending across many agencies, in greater detail, is a key ingredient to building public trust in government.
USAspending.gov collects data about the various types of U.S. government contracts, grants, loans, and other types of spending. For the convenience of users, USAspending.gov presents data in a different way than in many transactional databases, making it more easily understood and accessed. The original data fields and information are also available unmodified in USAspending.gov. The data can be seen if the user chooses the “Complete (all information)” level of detail, which is available on all data searches. In some cases USAspending.gov has modified data from the Federal Assistance Awards Data System (FAADS) and the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS).
FEDERAL ASSISTANCE AWARD DATA SYSTEM (FAADS)
The Federal Assistance Award Data System (FAADS) was established by Title 31 Section 6102(a) of the U.S. Code, which mandates a uniform system for reporting information on federal government financial assistance transactions. Since 1982 the Census Bureau has served as the executive agent for FAADS. The Census Bureau receives data files from federal awarding agencies and disseminates them electronically.
Although FAADS is neither an accounting system nor a searchable database, it provides detailed listings of federal awards to specific institutions, which permits detailed reports on federal funding by performing institutions, geographic locations, and type of performer. There is currently no simple method for separating research and development (R&D) spending from other forms of federal spending, and FAADS does not capture all forms of federal extramural spending. However, FAADS does include reports from nearly all of the NSF SRS respondent units. Thus, FAADS does allow for detailed listings of extramural research grants from sponsoring agencies (such as NSF), and as such offers great promise in being able to populate federal support survey data fields.