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Category: R&D, innovation, and commercialization

Overview: The Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS) provides data on a range of R&D activity performed by U.S. companies by major industry, line of business or business segment, state, and firm size. The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (National Science Foundation) and the Census Bureau oversee the administration of the BRDIS. In contrast to the earlier Survey of Industrial Research and Development, BRDIS includes service firms and adds new data elements about innovation.

Units of Analysis: Firms

Coverage: Non-farm, for-profit, public, or private companies, with five or more employees operating in the U.S.

Data are collected for the geographic location of the R&D activity (including foreign locations by country and domestic locations by state and SMSA)

Sample Size: Nationally representative sample of about 40,000 companies, including companies in both manufacturing and nonmanufacturing industries

Form: Annual sets of aggregate statistical tables

Detail: R&D activity by industry, state, and firm size are available for 1953-2007 from the SIRD and for 2008 forward from BRDIS. Data are historically available by state. Experimental data for large metros will be forthcoming.

Timeframe: 2008 – latest year

Key Data Elements:

Financial measures of R&D activity

  • Detail on domestic U.S. R&D and on worldwide R&D activity of U.S. R&D performers
  • Capital expenditures for R&D

Measures related to R&D management and strategy

  • Share of R&D devoted to social sciences, new business areas, and to specific application areas
  • R&D partnerships by sector (universities, companies, government) and by type of organization (customer, exhibitor, competitor)

Measures related to R&D employment

  • R&D employee headcount by occupational category, sex, and level of educational attainment
  • Number of U.S. R&D employees working under visas (H-1B, L-1, etc.)

Measures of company R&D activity funded by organizations not owned by the company

  • Worldwide R&D activity and domestic U.S. activity funded by outside organizations
  • R&D funded by outside organizations by “business segment” (i.e., below the company level) and by foreign versus domestic organization


Measures related to intellectual property (IP), technology transfer, and innovation

  • Participation in activities to introduce new or to improve existing goods, services, methods of manufacturing, distribution, or support systems
  • Patent-related data
  • Licensing to outside parties
  • Participation in specific technology transfer activities

Frequency: Annual

Data Collection Method: BRDIS is structured to encourage different experts within a single business to provide responses in their areas of expertise. Respondents are asked to allocate their domestic and worldwide sales and R&D totals among multiple business codes. Core R&D expenditure questions are intended to provide a bridge between the historical time series and BRDIS. A variety of new questions address data needs identified by users and by businesses themselves.

Access: Public access to tabulations from NSF; restricted access to microdata files from the Census Bureau’s Center for Economic Studies

Potential Uses for Regional Analysis: Comparison of business R&D and innovation activities by sector and geographic area over time. As BRDIS has elements adapted from the European Union’s Community Innovation Survey (CIS), it can be used to make international comparisons on industry R&D and innovation.

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