ERIC Number: ED184416
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1978-Apr-17
Reference Count: N/A
Federal Support of Academic Research. Working Paper, Preliminary Draft.
An introduction to the subject of federal support to academic research is presented. It is noted that total federal support to academic research in fiscal 1976 came to roughly $4.5 billion, close to a third of all federal dollars spent on higher education. Top universities receive 25 percent or more of their operating budgets from federal research support, most spent on basic research rather than applied research or development. This kind of research has special characteristics that affect the way it is funded: (1) since results are unpredictable, the researcher needs great flexibility; (2) broad dissemination of results is critical; and (3) the best research is much more important than second-best, and requires special attention. There are many reasons the federal government should assume responsibility for basic research. Many controversial issues surrounding funding have to do with funds administration. These include peer review, the regulation of the substance of research, cost sharing by the institution, allocation among disciplines breadth of support among institutions rather than restriction to a few large universities, lack of centralized support planning at the federal level, and mechanisms of making awards, such as step funding, project grants, institutional grants, research center grants, basic contracts, regranting, and discretionary funds. It is suggested that there is a critical level of funding below which the health of the entire scientific enterprise suffers. In some fields it is felt that funding is now below that level. However, the basic design of the system that supports academic research may need more attention than simple funding levels. Some data charts are included. (MSE)
Descriptors: Administrative Organization, Contracts, Decentralization, Educational Finance, Evaluation Methods, Federal Aid, Federal Programs, Federal Regulation, Government School Relationship, Grants, Higher Education, Institutional Administration, Research, Research and Development Centers, Research Opportunities, Resource Allocation
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Sloan Commission on Government and Higher Education, Cambridge, MA.
Authoring Institution: N/A