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Unemployment among Doctoral Scientists and Engineers Increased but Remained Below the National Average

April 17, 2014 Comments off

Unemployment among Doctoral Scientists and Engineers Increased but Remained Below the National Average
Source: National Science Foundation

In 2010, an estimated 805,500 individuals in the United States held research doctoral degrees in science, engineering, and health (SEH) fields, an increase of 6.2% from 2008. Of these individuals, 709,700 were in the labor force, which includes those employed full time or part time and those actively seeking work (i.e., unemployed). The unemployment rate for SEH doctorate recipients was 2.4% in October 2010, up from 1.7% in October 2008 and similar to the rate in October 2003 (table 1). Moreover, the 2010 unemployment rate of the SEH doctoral labor force was about one-third of the October 2010 unemployment rate for the general population aged 25 years or older (8.2%).

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Federal Science and Engineering Obligations to Universities and Colleges Drop by 11% in FY 2011

March 29, 2014 Comments off

Federal Science and Engineering Obligations to Universities and Colleges Drop by 11% in FY 2011
Source: National Science Foundation

In FY 2011, federal agencies obligated $31.4 billion to 1,134 academic institutions for science and engineering activities. The 11.0% decrease in current dollars from FY 2010 federal obligations ($35.3 billion to 1,219 academic institutions) reflects the absence of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) stimulus funds in FY 2011. The last ARRA funds were obligated in FY 2010 and accounted for $5.1 billion (14.5%) of FY 2010 science and engineering (S&E) obligations to academic institutions. If ARRA obligations are excluded from FY 2010 totals, FY 2011 S&E obligations to academic institutions increased $1.2 billion (4.1%) (table 1). These statistics are from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics Survey of Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions.

Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering (updated)

November 19, 2013 Comments off

Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering
Source: National Science Foundation

Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering provides statistical information about the participation of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering education and employment. A formal report, now in the form of a digest, is issued every 2 years.

State Government R&D Expenditures Increase 11.3% from FY 2010 to FY 2011

November 8, 2013 Comments off

State Government R&D Expenditures Increase 11.3% from FY 2010 to FY 2011
Source: National Science Foundation

State government agency expenditures for research and development totaled $1.404 billion in FY 2011, an 11.3% increase over the $1.261 billion reported in FY 2010. Expenditures for R&D facilities (construction projects, major building renovations, and land and building acquisitions intended primarily for R&D use) totaled $109 million in FY 2011, a 1.7% increase over the $107 million reported in FY 2010. This InfoBrief presents summary statistics from the FY 2010 and FY 2011 Survey of State Government Research and Development, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The FY 2010 and FY 2011 survey presents the most recent NSF statistics of R&D activities performed and funded by state government agencies in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Survey data are available by state and by individual state agency. For the first time, NSF collected two fiscal years of data from state governments as part of a single survey operation. In addition, a new category was added to this survey, so state agencies were given the option to separately classify their energy-related R&D expenditures. Other R&D categories include agriculture, environment and natural resources, health, transportation, and other.

Regional Concentrations of Scientists and Engineers in the United States

September 12, 2013 Comments off

Regional Concentrations of Scientists and Engineers in the United States
Source: National Science Foundation

Science and engineering (S&E) employment in the United States is geographically concentrated in a small number of states and several major metropolitan areas within those states, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey (ACS). The three most populous states—California, Texas, and New York—together accounted for more than one-fourth of all S&E employment in the United States. Several major metropolitan areas in those states, for example, areas around Santa Clara, Los Angeles, and San Diego, all in California, and areas around New York City and Houston, together accounted for approximately 1 in 10 S&E workers nationwide.

The availability of a skilled workforce is an important predictor of a region’s population, productivity, and technological growth. Workers with S&E expertise are an integral part of a region’s innovative capacity because of their high levels of skill, creative ideas, and contributions to scientific knowledge and R&D.

Federally Funded Research and Development Centers Employed More Than 3,000 Postdoctoral Researchers in 2010

April 29, 2013 Comments off

Federally Funded Research and Development Centers Employed More Than 3,000 Postdoctoral Researchers in 2010

Source: National Science Foundation

According to a recent report released by the National Science Foundation, 22 of the nation’s 39 federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) employed 3,011 postdocs in 2010, the year the latest data are available.

Three out of every four postdocs employed in the FFRDCs in 2010 were men. Foreign nationals on temporary visas made up 60 percent of all postdocs employed in FFRDCs. Men constituted a higher percentage of foreign nationals than of U.S. citizens and permanent residents–78 percent versus 72 percent.

Among U.S. citizens and permanent residents, 75 percent were reported to be white and 14 percent were reported to be Asian. The remainder were Hispanic at 4 percent, black or African American at 1 percent, and other races or of unknown race or ethnicity were reported at 5 percent.

Overall, 75 percent of all postdocs employed in FFRDCs were working in a science field, and another 23 percent were working in an engineering field. The most frequently reported science fields were physics and astronomy at 31 percent; followed by chemistry at 18 percent; biological sciences at 8 percent; and earth, atmospheric and ocean sciences at 8 percent.

FFRDCs received approximately $16.8 billion dollars in federal expenditures in fiscal year 2010. Included in this amount is more than $1 billion in federal expenditures from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In addition to scientific research and analysis, many of the FFRCDs provide training opportunities for the country’s aspiring researchers and scientists through postdoctoral appointments.

New From the GAO

March 28, 2013 Comments off

New GAO Reports

Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Energy Efficiency: Better Coordination among Federal Programs Needed to Allocate Testing Resources. GAO-13-135, March 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-135
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653429.pdf

2. Wind Energy: Additional Actions Could Help Ensure Effective Use of Federal Financial Support. GAO-13-136, March 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-136
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/652958.pdf

3. National Airspace System: Airport-Centric Development. GAO-13-261, March 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-261
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653426.pdf

4. National Science Foundation: Steps Taken to Improve Contracting Practices, but Opportunities Exist to Do More. GAO-13-292, March 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-292
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653420.pdf

5. Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs. GAO-13-294SP, March 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-294SP
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653380.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/653314

6. Export-Import Bank: Recent Growth Underscores Need for Continued Improvements in Risk Management. GAO-13-303, March 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-303
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653372.pdf

7. Major Automated Information Systems: Selected Defense Programs Need to Implement Key Acquisition Practices. GAO-13-311, March 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-311
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653418.pdf

8. Defense Contracting: Actions Needed to Increase Competition. GAO-13-325, March 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-325
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653405.pdf

9. Manufactured Homes: State-Based Replacement Programs May Provide Benefits, but Energy Savings Do Not Fully Offset Costs. GAO-13-373, March 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-373
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653410.pdf

Federally-funded Research and Development Centers Spend $17.8 Billion in Fiscal Year 2011

March 27, 2013 Comments off

Federally-funded Research and Development Centers Spend $17.8 Billion in Fiscal Year 2011

Source: National Science Foundation

The nation’s 40 federally-funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) spent $17.8 billion on research and development (R&D) in fiscal year (FY) 2011, according to a recent report from the National Science Foundation. More than $850 million of the total was supplied by funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

FFRDCs are privately operated R&D organizations financed by the federal government. They include national labs and observatories. Federal funding accounted for 97.6 percent, or $17.4 billion, of the FFRDCs’ total expenditures in FY 2011. The remaining $190 million in expenditures were funded by businesses, nonprofit organizations ($61 million), state and local government ($27 million), and other sources ($146 million).

Basic research activities accounted for 37 percent of total FFRDC R&D expenditures in FY 2011, with applied research accounting for 29 percent and development for 34 percent.

R&D expenditures within FFRDCs have grown by more than $2 billion, or 14 percent, from FY 2008 to FY 2011.

RAND Review: Vol. 36, No. 3, Winter 2012-2013

February 6, 2013 Comments off

RAND Review: Vol. 36, No. 3, Winter 2012-2013

Source: RAND Corporation

Feature stories discuss the promotion of tolerance and critical thinking in the Arab world through children’s media, the challenges faced by the United States in an era of fiscal austerity, and promising models for measuring teacher performance. Two other stories highlight the National Science Foundation’s role in promoting research in the United States and how RAND is helping several countries to foster technological innovation.

Diminishing Funding and Rising Expectations: Trends and Challenges for Public Research Universities

October 31, 2012 Comments off

Diminishing Funding and Rising Expectations: Trends and Challenges for Public Research Universities

Source: National Science Foundation

As part of our mandate from Congress, the National Science Board (Board) supervises the collection of a very broad set of policy-neutral, quantitative information about U.S. science, engineering, and technology, and publishes the data and trends biennially in our Science and Engineering Indicators (Indicators) report. The data in Indicators reveal some trends that raise important policy concerns that the Board then conveys to the President, Congress, and the public in the form of a “companion” policy statement to the Indicators report.

In the 2012 edition of Indicators, the Board reported a substantial decline over the last decade in per student state appropriations at the Nation’s major public research universities. This companion report to Indicators, Diminishing Funding and Rising Expectations: Trends and Challenges for Public Research Universities, highlights the importance of these universities to state and national economies, rising public expectations for university education and research, and the challenges posed by recent trends in enrollment, revenue, and expenditures.

The Nation’s public research universities play a vital role in preparing the next generation of innovators—educating and training a large number of science and engineering students at the undergraduate and graduate levels while maintaining relative affordability. They perform over half of all academic research and development, are contributors to state and local economies, and provide numerous public services. In the wake of increasing enrollment and costs and declining per student state appropriations, the Board is concerned with the continued ability of these institutions to provide affordable, quality education and training to a broad range of students, conduct the basic science and engineering research that leads to innovations, and perform their public service missions.

In future editions of Indicators, the Board intends to expand the treatment of higher education institutions while providing greater depth of analysis specific to public research universities. The 2014 edition of Indicators will include consistent, policy-neutral information that policy-makers can use in considering whether these universities can meet local, state, and national demand for the type of skilled S&E workers and transformative research necessary to fuel economic growth and to address societal challenges.

Project Linking Multi-Agency Surveys Produces New Findings on R&D by Multinational Companies

September 21, 2012 Comments off

Project Linking Multi-Agency Surveys Produces New Findings on R&D by Multinational Companies
Source: National Science Foundation

Newly developed information from the Research and Development Data Link Project—a joint project of the National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Census Bureau (Census), and Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)—reveals new insights on the U.S. R&D activities of multinational companies (MNCs), such as the character of R&D work performed by these companies (basic research, applied research, and development). Additional new details on the R&D performed by MNCs, such as state location and technology focus, will be available in detailed statistical tables available in the forthcoming report International Investment and R&D Data Link: 2004–07 (see “Data Availability” for more information).

The project matched records of U.S.-located companies that performed R&D, from the NSF–Census Survey of Industrial Research and Development (SIRD), to records of U.S. affiliates of foreign MNCs, from BEA’s Foreign Direct Investment in the United States (FDIUS) survey. Separately, it matched these SIRD data to records of parent companies of U.S. MNCs from BEA’s U.S. Direct Investment Abroad (USDIA) survey for a given data year. The project covered 2004 to 2007, the last year SIRD was conducted.[2] (See “Definitions” for explanation of terms and “Data Notes” for the methodology).

Visions and Voyages for Planetary Science 2013 – 2022

September 20, 2012 Comments off

Visions and Voyages for Planetary Science 2013 – 2022
Source: NASA and the National Science Foundation

In recent years, planetary science has seen a tremendous growth in new knowledge. Deposits of water ice exist at the Moon’s poles. Discoveries on the surface of Mars point to an early warm wet climate, and perhaps conditions under which life could have emerged. Liquid methane rain falls on Saturn’s moon Titan, creating rivers, lakes, and geologic landscapes with uncanny resemblances to Earth’s. Comets impact Jupiter, producing Earth-sized scars in the planet’s atmosphere. Saturn’s poles exhibit bizarre geometric cloud patterns and changes; its rings show processes that may help us understand the nature of planetary accretion. Venus may be volcanically active. Jupiter’s icy moons harbor oceans below their ice shells: conceivably Europa’s ocean could support life. Saturn’s tiny moon Enceladus has enough geothermal energy to drive plumes of ice and vapor from its south pole. Dust from comets shows the nature of the primitive materials from which the planets and life arose. And hundreds of new planets discovered around nearby stars have begun to reveal how our solar system fits into a vast collection of others.

This report was requested by NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to review the status of planetary science in the United States and to develop a comprehensive strategy that will continue these advances in the coming decade. Drawing on extensive interactions with the broad planetary science community, the report presents a decadal program of science and exploration with the potential to yield revolutionary new discoveries. The program will achieve long-standing scientific goals with a suite of new missions across the solar system. It will provide fundamental new scientific knowledge, engage a broad segment of the planetary science community, and have wide appeal for the general public whose support enables the program.

International Collaborations of Scientists and Engineers in the United States

September 5, 2012 Comments off

International Collaborations of Scientists and Engineers in the United States
Source: National Science Foundation

International collaboration is a key aspect of the globalization of science and engineering (S&E). In 2006, according to the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT), one in six scientists and engineers in the United States reported working with individuals in other countries (table 1).[2] International collaboration was more likely to occur among persons working in the for-profit sector, men, and those with higher levels of educational attainment. Individuals who earned postsecondary degrees both in the United States and abroad reported the highest levels of international collaboration.

Characteristics of Recent Science and Engineering Graduates: 2008

September 4, 2012 Comments off

Characteristics of Recent Science and Engineering Graduates: 2008
Source: National Science Foundation

This report presents data from the 2008 National Survey of Recent College Graduates (NSRCG) on the characteristics of men and women who received bachelor’s or master’s degrees in science, engineering, or health fields from U.S. institutions during the two academic years 2006 and 2007. The data reflect the employment, educational, and demographic status of individuals as of the survey reference week of 1 October 2008.

The data presented in this report measure the number of individuals with recently acquired science, engineering, and health degrees and do not necessarily coincide with the data on degree completions from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). IPEDS is conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. The IPEDS completions data file represents a count of degrees that graduates were awarded, whereas the NSRCG data represent estimates of graduates (persons).

The data tables present information on the number and median salaries of recent graduates by field of major, occupation, and various demographic characteristics. Tables are presented separately for bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients. Complementary tables for the two degree levels are numbered sequentially so that odd-numbered tables are for bachelor’s degree recipients and even-numbered tables are for master’s degree recipients.

NSF Releases Report Detailing Substantial Growth in Graduate Enrollment in Science and Engineering in the Past Decade

June 6, 2012 Comments off

NSF Releases Report Detailing Substantial Growth in Graduate Enrollment in Science and Engineering in the Past Decade
Source: National Science Foundation

A recent report released by the National Science Foundation found that graduate enrollment in science and engineering grew substantially in the past decade.

Approximately 632,700 graduate students were enrolled in science, engineering and health programs in the United States as of fall 2010. This was a 30 percent increase from 493,000 students in 2000, according to the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering.

The growth in first time, full-time graduate student enrollment in science, engineering, and health programs over this time was even greater, with a 50 percent increase from approximately 78,400 students in 2000 to almost 118,500 students in 2010.

Enrollment in biomedical engineering, which increased by over seven percent between 2009 and 2010, continues to be one of the fastest growing science and engineering fields and has experienced 165 percent growth–the most rapid growth over the last decade–from approximately 3,200 graduate students in 2000 to 8,500 students in 2010.

+ Full Report

CRS — Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2013 Appropriations

April 3, 2012 Comments off

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2013 Appropriations (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

On February 13, 2012, President Obama submitted his FY2013 budget to Congress. The Administration requests a total of $62.076 billion for the agencies and bureaus funded as a part of the annual Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill. The Administration’s request includes $7.978 billion for the Department of Commerce, $28.079 billion for the Department of Justice, $25.090 billion for the science agencies, and $929.2 million for the related agencies. The FY2013 request for CJS is 1.9% greater than the FY2012 appropriation of $60.910 billion.

On November 18, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012 (P.L. 112-55), which included the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012 (Division B). The act included $60.910 billion for CJS, of which $7.808 billion was for the Department of Commerce, $27.408 billion was for the Department of Justice, $24.838 billion was for the science agencies, and $856.6 million was for the related agencies.
This report will track and describe actions taken by the Administration and Congress to provide FY2013 appropriations for CJS accounts. It also provides an overview of FY2012 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded as a part of the annual appropriation for CJS.

The source for the FY2012-enacted amounts is the conference report for the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012 (P.L. 112-55, H.Rept. 112-284). FY2013-requested amounts were taken from the congressional budget submissions for the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, the Executive Office of the President, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, and the appendix to the Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2013.

New Report Outlines Trends in U.S. Global Competitiveness in Science and Technology

January 20, 2012 Comments off
The United States remains the global leader in supporting science and technology (S&T) research and development, but only by a slim margin that could soon be overtaken by rapidly increasing Asian investments in knowledge-intensive economies. So suggest trends released in a new report by the National Science Board (NSB), the policymaking body for the National Science Foundation (NSF), on the overall status of the science, engineering and technology workforce, education efforts and economic activity in the United States and abroad.
“This information clearly shows we must re-examine long-held assumptions about the global dominance of the American science and technology enterprise,” said NSF Director Subra Suresh of the findings in the Science and Engineering Indicators 2012 released today. “And we must take seriously new strategies for education, workforce development and innovation in order for the United States to retain its international leadership position,” he said.
According to the new Indicators 2012, the largest global S&T gains occurred in the so-called “Asia-10″–China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand–as those countries integrate S&T into economic growth. Between 1999 and 2009, for example, the U.S. share of global research and development (R&D) dropped from 38 percent to 31 percent, whereas it grew from 24 percent to 35 percent in the Asia region during the same time.
In China alone, R&D growth increased a stunning 28 percent in a single year (2008-2009), propelling it past Japan and into second place behind the United States.

Science and Engineering Indicators 2012

U.S. Exports of Advanced Technology Products Declined Less Than Other U.S. Exports in 2009

September 7, 2011 Comments off

U.S. Exports of Advanced Technology Products Declined Less Than Other U.S. Exports in 2009
Source: National Science Foundation

This InfoBrief presents recent trends in U.S. advanced technology product (ATP) exports. It uses U.S. Census Bureau data available through 2010 to examine the changes in these exports during the recent U.S. recession (“2008–09 recession”) and to offer a brief comparison between the 2008–09 recession and the 2001 recession. It focuses on 4 of the 10 ATP areas defined by the Census Bureau. These are aerospace, electronics, information and communications technology (ICT), and life science, which together accounted for 85% of U.S. ATP exports in 2010. This InfoBrief also describes U.S. ATP trade with selected major economies and regions.

U.S. ATP exports contracted 9% during the recent U.S. recession, from $270 billion in 2008 to $245 billion in 2009 — less than half the 20% rate of loss of non-ATP exports, excluding petroleum. U.S. ATP imports fell by the same percentage as exports, whereas other types of U.S. imports contracted by 24%.

Federal Funding of Basic and Applied Research Increases in FY 2009

August 6, 2011 Comments off

Federal Funding of Basic and Applied Research Increases in FY 2009
Source: National Science Foundation

Preliminary FY 2009 data from the National Science Foundation (NSF) show funds obligated by federal agencies for research were estimated to increase by 8.8% over FY 2008, in inflation-adjusted constant dollars. This follows an estimated 2.6% constant-dollar decrease in research obligations between FY 2007 and FY 2008.

Total federal funding obligations for research and development and R&D plant (facilities and fixed equipment) dropped 2.5% in constant dollars from FY 2007 to FY 2008, but they showed only a slight decrease of 0.3% when measured in current dollars, from $129.4 billion to $129.1 billion. The FY 2008 R&D and R&D plant total was 3.4% lower in constant dollars than it was at its peak level in FY 2005 (table 1). Preliminary FY 2009 and projected FY 2010 total federal obligations for R&D and R&D plant are not comparable with totals from earlier years (see below).

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