3/25/2010 3:00:00 PM
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a report highlighting the role of small businesses in R&D activities in the United States
. It shows increasing R&D activity by small businesses but also something I found troubling:
Microfirms spent 2.6% of company sales revenues on R&D activities in 2003, 10.1% in 2005, and 15.8% in 2007 (table 1). However, the change over time reflects more a drop in company sales revenues than growth in R&D performance.
Here, microfirms are defined as firms with 5-24 employees. It'd seem for this particular group, many of which are likely younger firms, sales were being negatively effected well before the current recession. NSF is in the process of developing a new microbusiness R&D survey (under 5 employees) to be implemented in the next year or two. It's one of the most exciting projects I see going on at the U.S. statistical agencies currently as it will really be breaking new ground in survey work on small businesses and innovation. I'll be posting more on that work as it becomes available.
While on the topic of NSF, an information webinar in April should be of interest.
“Human Resources in Science and Technology: Surveys, Data, and Indicators from the National Science Foundation” will be presented by Nirmala Kannankutty on Tuesday, April 6, 2010, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM Eastern time.
The Division of Science Resources Statistics (SRS) is a federal statistical agency housed at the National Science Foundation (NSF). SRS's role within NSF is to "provide a central clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation, and analysis of data on scientific and engineering resources, and to provide a source of information for policy formulation by other agencies of the Federal Government..." Within this mandate SRS is involved in collecting and disseminating information on R&D expenditures and activities and on human capital issues. The United States is unique among major industrialized nations in that it has directly invested in collecting detailed data from a variety of sources on the entire science and engineering pipeline. Each of the data sources came about from U.S. federal administrative needs. The sources have evolved into important elements for the study of higher education and the scientific workforce. In this webinar, these surveys and data sources are described. Key indicators regarding trends in U.S. science and engineering degree production, enrollments, and workforce are defined and described. The “Science and Engineering Indicators: 2010 and “Women, Minorities and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering” reports will be used as examples for these indicators. At the end of the webinar participants should be aware of data sources and how data are collected, indicators and reports from the NSF, and where to find more information from the NSF.
To register, please visit the SRMS web site at: http://www.amstat.org/sections/SRMS/webinar.cfm