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NSF Reclassifies FFRDC R&D Funds as Intramural

JAN 08, 2024
NSF is reclassifying Federally Funded Research and Development Centers as intramural performers of R&D.
Jacob Taylor headshot
Senior Editor for Science Policy, FYI American Institute of Physics
nsf-ncses-chart.jpg

Graphic by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics

(NSF)

The National Science Foundation announced last week that it is reclassifying Federally Funded Research and Development Centers as intramural performers of R&D.

Since their establishment in the 1940s, FFRDCs have been treated as external performers of R&D because, while they are owned by the federal government, they are operated by nongovernmental entities. However, NSF has concluded that the FFRDCs receive such a significant portion of their budget from the federal government that they do not operate independently of federal control.

NSF reports that after accounting for the reclassification, the total federal expenditure on intramural R&D was $86.5 billion in fiscal year 2021, $14.8 billion higher than under the prior accounting method.

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