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June 26 -- The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) has submitted for OMB approval the Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering for 2020-22. NCSES invites the public to comment to OMB on the proposed collection by July 27, 2020.
The Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering (GSS) survey is an annual census of all U.S. academic institutions granting research-based master's degrees or doctorates in science, engineering, and selected health fields as of fall of the survey year. The survey, sponsored by NCSES and the National Institutes of Health, collects the total number of master's and doctoral students, postdoctoral appointees, and doctorate-level nonfaculty researchers by demographic and other characteristic such as source of financial support. Results are used to assess shifts in graduate enrollment and postdoc appointments and trends in financial support.    

More specifically, the GSS collects information on master’s and doctoral student enrollment by degree level, race and ethnicity, citizenship, sex, source of support, and mechanism of support; information on Postdoctorates (postdocs) by citizenship, sex, source of support, mechanism of support, and origin of doctoral degree; and information on other doctorate-holding nonfaculty researchers (NFRs) by sex and type of doctoral degree. The GSS has been conducted by NCSES annually since 1972.

The GSS is a census of all organizational “units” (departments, programs, research centers, and health care facilities) in SEH fields within eligible academic institutions in the United States that grant research-based master’s or doctorate degrees. The survey collects information on graduate students enrolled in these units, as well as postdocs and NFRs working within these institutions. As a part of the GSS, NCSES also periodically surveys Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) to collect information on postdocs such as race/ethnicity, sex, citizenship, source of support and area of research
In 2018, the GSS population was 19,592 units at 715 academic institutions. Based on recent cycles NCSES expects the annual response rate to be around 99 percent.
NCSES publishes a short InfoBrief and a set of statistical tables, Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering Data Tables, available on the NCSES website. Data from the GSS are also available as public use files, and on the Web through the new Interactive Data Tool (https://ncsesdata.nsf.gov/ids/gss).  The most recent InfoBrief, "Graduate Enrollment in Science, Engineering and Health Rose by 3% in 2018," is available on the NCSES website (https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2020/nsf20312/)

Academic institutions are major users of the GSS data. Institutions use the NCSES’s GSS data reports or the Interactive Data Tool to study selected groups of peer institutions for planning and comparative purposes. They combine the NCSES data with information from state and local governments on institutions in their geographic areas. Institutions also use the comparative data to review the strength of their own programs on the basis of factors such as support of students by various federal agencies and progress in reaching special target populations.

Data from the GSS are used by the Indiana University Bloomington Center for Postsecondary Research in developing the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The center uses the GSS data on postdocs and nonfaculty research staff with doctorates as components of the “research activity” measure constructed for doctorate-granting universities
GSS website: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvygradpostdoc/
FR notice inviting comment:  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/06/26/2020-13768/agency-information-collection-activities-comment-request
NCSES GSS submission to OMB:  https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202006-3145-005  Click on IC list for survey form, View Supporting Statement for details on users and uses, collection and analytic methods, and timeline.
Point of contact:  Mike Yamaner, Project Officer, Human Resources Statistics Program, NCSES  (703) 292-7815  myamaner@nsf.gov
AEA Guide on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections: https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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