. "Appendix C: Modernizing the Infrastructure of the National Science Foundation Federal Funds Survey: Summary of a Workshop." Data on Federal Research and Development Investments: A Pathway to Modernization. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2010.
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Data on Federal Research and Development Investments: A Pathway to Modernization
Office of Science and Technology Policy
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which was represented at the workshop by Dianne DiEuliis, is a major consumer of data from the federal funds survey. OSTP’s mission is to advise the President and others in the Executive Office of the President on the effects of science and technology on domestic and international affairs. An important aspect of that mission is to lead interagency efforts to develop and implement sound science and technology policies and budgets. Data on federal expenditures for research and development play a central role for OSTP in its oversight and program coordination functions.
In 2005, the OSTP director, John H. Marburger, III, explained the specific interest of OSTP in the data from the federal funds and other NSF surveys of research and development spending at the 30th Annual AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy in Washington, DC. He pointed out that indicators of the health of U.S. science are based on “indicators that are based on a data taxonomy that is nearly three decades old” and that “methods for defining data in both public and private sectors are not well adapted to how R&D is actually conducted today.” He referred to the previous National Research Council (2005b) study, which concluded that NSF R&D expenditure data are often ill-suited for the purposes for which they have been used and urged that the report’s recommendations for improving various components of the data and enhancing their usefulness “should receive high priority in future planning within NSF.”1
Jointly with OMB, OSTP prepares the administration’s statement of R&D priorities, reflecting input from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). That statement provides general guidance for setting priorities for agency R&D programs: Significantly, it defines a set of initiatives for which budget and expenditure data should be collected. The most recent guidance defined six areas of highest priority for R&D investments: (1) homeland security and national defense, (2) energy and climate change technology, (3) advanced networking and information technology, (4) a national nanotechnology initiative, (5) complex biological systems, and (6) the environment.2
The identification of priority areas leads to a demand for data that will measure the status of implementation of the investment priorities. In terms