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Sept 3 -- The Census Bureau invites public comment to OMB by October 8, 2021 on the proposed Business Enterprise Research and Development Survey (BERD) for the 2021-2023 survey years.
 
The Census Bureau is requesting clearance to conduct the Business Enterprise Research and Development Survey (BERD) for the 2021-2023 survey years with revisions. Companies are the major performers of research and development (R&D) in the United States, accounting for over 70 percent of total U.S. R&D expenditures each year. A consistent business R&D information base is essential to government officials formulating public policy, industry personnel involved in corporate planning, and members of the academic community conducting research. To develop policies designed to promote and enhance science and technology, past trends and the present status of R&D must be known and analyzed. Without comprehensive business R&D statistics, it would be impossible to evaluate the health of science and technology in the United States or to make comparisons between the technological progress of our country and that of other nations.

BERD is a joint statistical project between the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) within the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Census Bureau.

NCSES has published annual R&D statistics collected from the Survey of Industrial Research and Development (1953-2007), the Business R&D and Innovation Survey (2008-2016), the Business Research and Development Survey (2017 and 2018), and the Business Enterprise Research and Development Survey (2019 and 2020) for 67 years. The results of the surveys are used to assess trends in R&D expenditures by industry sector, investigate productivity determinants, formulate science and tax policy, and compare individual company performance with industry averages. This survey is the Nation's primary source for international comparative statistics on business R&D spending.

BERD will continue to collect the following types of information:

R&D expense based on accepted accounting standards.
Worldwide R&D of domestic companies.
Business segment detail.
R&D related capital expenditures.
Detailed data about the R&D workforce.
R&D strategy and data on the potential impact of R&D on the market.

Beginning in 2020, in an effort to reduce burden, BERD began rotating select content off the survey in alternating years. In 2020, questions related to detail of R&D performed by others, activities with academia, industries of business and specific federal agency funding R&D, and areas of application for R&D were removed from BERD. In 2021, all of those questions will be reintroduced to the survey and the Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Section will be removed from the survey. BERD plans to continue rotating this content in alternating years.

Beginning in 2021, the BERD will revise its existing Capital Expenditures section to collect additional information on assets. Cognitive testing on these questions conducted by the Census Bureau in 2018 revealed that these questions pose no substantive impact on burden (the data requested are all readily available in most companies' books) and would provide context on capital stock of R&D active companies not currently available in any other data source. After collecting two consecutive years of data (for 2021 and 2022), BERD plans to collect the additional assets questions in alternating years, similar to the other rotating content. So, in 2023, BERD would have the smaller [previously collected] Capital Expenditures section, and in 2024 would reinstate the more robust Assets section and so on.

BERD website (Census): https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/brds.html
BERD website (NSF): https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvyberd/
Proposed BERD 2021-23 submitted to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202108-0607-005  Submit comments through this webpage. Click IC List for survey form BRD-1, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation.
FRN inviting public comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/09/03/2021-19134/agency-information-collection-activities-submission-to-the-office-of-management-and-budget-omb-for
 
Point of contact: Michael Flaherty, U.S. Census Bureau, Chief, Research, Development & Innovation Surveys Branch 301-763-7699 michael.j.flaherty@census.gov   
 
For AEA members submitting comments to OMB, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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