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Oct 2 -- The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) at the National Science Foundation (NSF) proposes to revise the Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey to add questions on R&D personnel and invites public comment by October 26, 2020.
 
The HERD Survey (formerly known as the Survey of R&D Expenditures at Universities and Colleges) originated in fiscal year (FY) 1954 and has been conducted annually since FY 1972. The survey represents one facet of the research and development component of NCSES's statistical program, which includes R&D surveys on the business, federal government, higher education, state government, and nonprofit sectors.  
 
Description of New Information: The Higher Education R&D Survey is one of several surveys at NCSES that collect comparable information on R&D from different sectors of the economy (e.g., businesses, nonprofits, government). However, it does not currently collect as much information about the personnel carrying out R&D activities as some of the other NCSES R&D sector surveys, making it less useful for measurements of the R&D workforce in the United States. NCSES intends to address this shortcoming by collecting data on the number (headcounts) of R&D personnel by function, and the number of full-time equivalents (FTEs) by R&D function. These specific data are not available through other NCSES or federal surveys.

NCSES intends to revise the current question on R&D personnel headcounts and add a question on the number of full-time equivalents for those personnel to the HERD questionnaire. The revised question will collect headcounts on three categories of R&D personnel (researchers, R&D technicians, R&D support staff) by sex and citizenship. Headcounts of researchers will also be collected by highest level of education completed. The previous version of the question collected headcounts for two categories: principal investigators and all other personnel, without demographics. NCSES decided to make the revised personnel headcount question confidential and only publish these data in the aggregate because some institutions expressed reluctance to publish detailed demographics on employees and students. The subsequent new question will collect the full-time equivalents of the R&D personnel accounted for in the revised R&D personnel headcount question.
 
HERD Survey webpage: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvyherd/   
FR notice: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/10/02/2020-21808/notice-of-intent-to-renew-a-current-information-collection  
 
Point of contact: Michael T. Gibbons, Project Officer, Research and Development Statistics Program, NCSES   (703) 292-4590  mgibbons@nsf.gov

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