Business R&D and Innovation Survey

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To provide detailed statistics on global and domestic R&D expenses of US based companies as well as statistics on the R&D workforce, intellectual property, technology transfer activities and innovation. This survey replaces the Survey of Industrial Research and Development. The United States Code, Title 13, authorizes this survey and provides for mandatory responses.


All domestic, non-farm, for-profit businesses with more than 5 employees.


Basic data for each year to include financial measures of R&D activity, measures related to R&D employment, measures related to R&D management and strategy, and measures related to intellectual property, technology transfer activities, and innovation.


Data collection begins within the first 3 months of each year and continues for 9 months; data are for activities in the prior calendar year. Data have been collected annually on the Survey of Industrial Research and Development Survey since 1957.


A mail-out/mail-back sample survey of approximately 40,000 companies with 5 or more employees. Large companies with known R&D > $3 million from the previous survey cycle are selected each year from the Business Register. The largest 50 companies in terms of payroll within each state are selected each cycle. Smaller companies with more than 5 employees are stratified by industry and payroll size and selected using Probability Proportionate to Size (PPS) sampling.

The Business Register is updated continuously based on new information from Census Bureau programs and administrative records of other agencies. Business Register establishment-level data are consolidated to create company information for sampling purposes. Separate industry categories are 3- or 4-digit NAICS industries developed on the basis of the aggregate value of R&D. Published data are weighted totals for all covered businesses and accompanied by standard error information.


The National Science Foundation will release detailed reports.


Policy officials from many Federal agencies rely on these statistics for essential information. Government policy officials who are involved in assessing the role of the Federal government in promoting economic growth use R&D statistics in their decision-making processes since R&D results affect technological and economic progress. Members of Congress make extensive use of R&D statistics in preparing tax legislation, contacting NSF or the Census Bureau directly through their own staffs, through one of the House or Senate science committees, or through the Congressional Research Service. U.S. R&D expenditures statistics have been used by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to update the System of National Accounts.

Historical company-level R&D data are linked to a file that contains information on the outputs and inputs of companies' manufacturing plants. Researchers are able to analyze the relationships between R&D funding and other economic variables by using micro-level data.


Provides the only comprehensive R&D expense data covering all domestic non-farm businesses and detailed expenses by type and industry.


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