[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 122 (Tuesday, June 25, 2013)]
[Pages 38077-38078]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-15116]



Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB 
Review; Comment Request

AGENCY: National Science Foundation.

ACTION: Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request.


    The National Science Foundation (NSF) has submitted the following 
information collection requirement to OMB for review and clearance 
under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. This is 
the second notice for public comment; the first was published in the 
Federal Register at 78 FR 1266 and two 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. The full submission may be found at: http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain.
    Comments: 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; or (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 NW., Room 10235, Washington, DC 20503, and to Suzanne H. 
Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation, 4201 
Wilson Boulevard, Suite 295, Arlington, Virginia 22230 or send email to 
splimpto@nsf.gov. 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 703-292-7556. Individuals who use a telecommunications device 
for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service 
(FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339, which is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a 
week, 365 days a year (including federal holidays).
    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.

    Comments: As required by 5 CFR 1320.8(d), comments on the 
information collection activities as part of this study were solicited 
through publication of a 60-Day Notice in the Federal Register on 
January 8, 2013, at 78 FR 1266. We received two comments, to which we 
here respond.
    The first comment came from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). 
They expressed general support for the survey and requested several 
additional data elements to be considered for future collection. NSF is 
in regular contact with BEA about their data needs and the feasibility 
of adding questions to the HERD or FFRDC Surveys to address these 
needs. As always, there is a need to balance the burden on the 
respondents with requesting new data

[[Page 38078]]

that will be of limited use to the general public. In recent years NSF 
has added several items requested by BEA to the questionnaire, where 
the additional detail posed no significant increase in burden for the 
institutions. NSF will continue to consider additional items in future 
years while still prioritizing respondent burden. There are no plans to 
incorporate these data items on the HERD or FFRDC Surveys for FY 2013.
    The second comment came from the University of Rochester. They 
requested consideration for a modification to the survey to collect 
headcounts of principal investigators by academic discipline in order 
to allow more detailed benchmarking across academic institutions. NSF 
agrees this level of detail would be useful to academic institutions, 
and attempted to collect the personnel counts by department during the 
pre-testing phase of the HERD redesign. Unfortunately the effort was 
deemed too burdensome in addition to the other items being newly 
requested on the FY 2010 HERD Survey. Now that respondents have seen an 
overall reduction in burden for the HERD Survey, NSF will consider 
testing the personnel question by academic discipline during this 
clearance period. However, this effort will need to follow the 
completion of NCSES's ongoing effort to harmonize the academic 
disciplines across the NSF surveys. Once the fields are standardized 
across the surveys, the HERD Survey will need to make changes to the 
taxonomy of its R&D fields. After this taxonomy revision is completed, 
the personnel question can be revisited and revised to include totals 
by field if the testing proves successful.
    Title: Higher Education Research and Development Survey.
    OMB Approval Number: 3145-0100.

Overview of This Information Collection

    The Higher Education Research and Development Survey (formerly 
known as the Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at 
Universities and Colleges) originated in fiscal year (FY) 1954 and has 
been conducted annually since FY 1972. The survey is the academic 
research and development component of the NSF statistical program that 
seeks to provide a ``central clearinghouse for the collection, 
interpretation, and analysis of data on the availability of, and the 
current and projected need for, scientific and technical resources in 
the United States, and to provide a source of information for policy 
formulation by other agencies of the federal government,'' as mandated 
by the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 Sec.  505, codified 
in the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended. In recent 
years, NSF redesigned and expanded the survey to better reflect the 
current state of academic R&D. The redesigned survey was renamed the 
Higher Education R&D Survey and pilot-tested with a random sample of 40 
institutions during the FY 2009 survey cycle. The revised survey began 
for all institutions with the FY 2010 cycle.
    Use of the Information: The proposed project will continue the 
annual survey cycle for three years. The FY 2013 Higher Education R&D 
Survey will be administered to an expected minimum of 660 institutions. 
In addition, a shorter version of the survey asking for R&D 
expenditures by source of funding and broad field will be sent to 
approximately 325 institutions spending under $1 million on R&D in 
their previous fiscal year. Finally, a survey requesting R&D 
expenditures by source of funds, cost categories (salaries, indirect 
costs, equipment, etc.), and character of work (basic research, applied 
research, or development) will be administered to the 39 Federally 
Funded Research and Development Centers.
    The Higher Education R&D Survey will provide continuity of 
statistics on R&D expenditures by source of funding and field of 
research, with separate data requested on current fund expenditures for 
research equipment by field. Further breakdowns are collected on funds 
passed through to subrecipients and funds received as a subrecipient, 
and on R&D expenditures by field from specific federal agency sources. 
As of FY 2010, the survey also requests total R&D expenditures funded 
from foreign sources, R&D within an institution's medical school, 
clinical trial expenditures, R&D by type of funding mechanism 
(contracts vs. grants), R&D funded by the American Recovery and 
Reinvestment Act of 2009, and R&D by cost category (salaries, 
equipment, software, etc.). The survey also requests headcounts of 
principal investigators and other personnel paid from R&D funds, as 
well as a separate count of postdocs working on R&D.
    Data are published in NSF's annual publication series Higher 
Education Research and Development and are available electronically on 
the World Wide Web. The survey is a fully automated Web data collection 
effort and is handled primarily by administrators in university 
sponsored programs and accounting offices. To minimize burden, 
institutions are provided with an abundance of guidance and resources 
on the Web, and are able to respond via a downloadable excel 
spreadsheet if desired. Each institution's record is preloaded with the 
2 previous years of comparable data that facilitate editing and trend 
checking. Response to this voluntary survey has exceeded 95 percent 
each year.
    The average burden report for the FY 2011 survey was 50 hours for 
institutions reporting over $1 million in R&D expenditures and 14 hours 
for those reporting less than $1 million. The burden estimate for the 
FFRDC survey is 6 hours.

    Dated: June 20, 2013.
Suzanne H. Plimpton,
Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation.
[FR Doc. 2013-15116 Filed 6-24-13; 8:45 am]