[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 48 (Friday, March 12, 1999)]
[Pages 12382-12383]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-6133]



Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment Request

AGENCY: National Science Foundation.

ACTION: Submission for OMB review; comment request.


SUMMARY: Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Pub. L. 104-13 (44 
U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), and as part of its continuing effort to reduce 
paperwork and respondent burden, the National Science Foundation (NSF) 
is inviting the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on 
this proposed continuing information collection. This is the second 
notice for public comment; the first was published in the Federal 
Register at 63 FR 44937 (August 21, 1998) and no comments were 
received. NSF is forwarding the proposed renewal submission to the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance simultaneously with 
the publication of this second notice.

DATES: Comments regarding (a) Whether the collection of information is 
necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, 
including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the 
accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden including the validity of 
the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, 
utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to 
minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are 
to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, 
electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or 
other forms of information technology should be addressed to: Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for 
National Science Foundation, 725-17th Street, N.W. Room 10235, 
Washington, D.C. 20503, and to Suzanne H. Plimpton, Reports Clearance 
Officer, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 295, 
Arlington, Virginia 22230 or send email to [email protected]. Comments 
regarding these information collections are best assured of having 
their full effect if received within 30 days of this notification. 
Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling 703-306-1125 x 
    NSF may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless 
the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control 
number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to 
the collection of information that such persons are not required to 
respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently 
valid OMB control number.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Suzanne H. Plimpton, Reports Clearance 
Officer at (703) 306-1125 x 2017 or send email to [email protected].

    Title of Collection: Scientific and Engineering Research Facilities 
at Colleges and Universities (Follow-Up Survey).
    OMB Control Number: 3145-0101.
    Use of the Information: The 1998 Survey of Science and Engineering 
Research Facilities at Universities and Colleges conducted by NSF 
collected data on the status of academic science and engineering (S&E) 
research facilities. The proposed Follow-Up Survey will collect 
additional information to supplement the original survey data, 
increasing its usefulness to Federal agencies and policymakers. Total 
research construction costs will be identified by project and broken 
down into particular space designation measurements, which will allow 
OMB to establish more accurate and effective benchmark rates for 
consideration during the internal review of academic research 
facilities. The purpose of the Follow-Up Survey is to gather project 
costs, research space costs, and gross and net assignable square feet 
(NASF) for buildings with a research component which have total project 
costs that exceed $25 million. Buildings that are eligible to be 
included in the survey were constructed in U.S. research-performing 
colleges and universities during fiscal years 1996 and 1997, based on 
the data collected by NSF in the 1998 Survey of Scientific and 
Engineering Research Facilities at Universities and Colleges. The 
original NSF study was implemented to gather data about the status of 
academic S&E research facilities for Federal policymakers to use in 
policy decision-making. OMB's stated intention in implementing the 
internal review process for academic research institutions is to 
improve accountability of institutions regarding the federal funds 
allocated for use in building construction and improvement. The Follow-
Up Survey, by focusing on costs segmented by project, requiring exact 
space designations, taking into account any specialized project 
features, and thereby improving the precision of analysis of large 
research facility costs, will mitigate concerns about the usefulness of 
the averaged benchmark rates determined by the initial study. The 
increased accuracy of these data will allow Federal policymakers, 
planners, and budget analysts, as well as academic officials and state 
agencies, to make more exact and, as a result, more valid judgments 
concerning the reasonableness of facility costs.
    Expected Respondents: The initial basis for the sample will be 
those 70 institutions that reported any new construction of research 
space during fiscal years 1996 and 1997. Data will be collected using 
pencil-and-paper methodology. A brief screening survey will precede the 
main study questionnaire in order to determine eligibility for 
inclusion in the main study. The screener surveys will be sent to the 
coordinators designated for the 1998 Survey of Scientific and 
Engineering Research Facilities at Universities and Colleges. Each 
qualifying institution will be given the opportunity to designate a 
coordinator to manage their data collection.
    Burden on the Public: Based on the fact that the proposed survey 
questions involve data that are readily available to the respondents, 
combined with the overall brevity of the questionnaire, we do not 
believe that the survey will represent a significant burden on the 
respondents. Indeed, the information collected may be of benefit to the 
respondents with improved accuracy in building cost estimates. The 
screener survey will be sent by e-mail to 70 institutions. The 
completion time per academic institution is expected to average 30 
minutes. Assuming a 90% response rate on the screener survey, the

[[Page 12383]]

estimated burden would be 31.5 hours for academic institutions.
    The Follow-Up Survey will be sent by mail to the qualifying 
institutions, of which there is expected to be approximately 42. The 
completion time per academic institution is expected to average 1.5 
hours. Assuming a 90% response rate, the estimated burden would be 56.7 
hours for academic institutions, for a total of 88.2 hours. The 
information burden for any particular institution will be affected by 
two major factors--the number of buildings recently constructed and 
costing $25 million or more, and the quality of the institutions' 
records systems.

    Dated: March 9, 1999.
Suzanne H. Plimpton,
NSF Reports Clearance Officer.
[FR Doc. 99-6133 Filed 3-11-99; 8:45 am]