Noncommercial Research Organizations

SIC 8733

Industry report:

This category includes establishments primarily engaged in performing noncommercial research into and dissemination of information for public health, education, or general welfare. Establishments included here operate primarily on funds from endowments, contributions, and grants. The research is frequently contracted out and funded by these establishments. Establishments primarily engaged in commercial physical and biological research are classified in SIC 8731: Commercial Physical and Biological Research, and those engaged in commercial economic, sociological, and educational research are classified in SIC 8732: Commercial Economic, Sociological, and Educational Research.

Colleges and universities are leaders in noncommercial research, with Stanford University, the University of Texas at Austin, Harvard University, the University of Arizona, The Ohio State University, and the University of Chicago topping the list. These universities provide research on a variety of subjects, and the knowledge they gain benefits the whole of society. They specialize in technical research, such as engineering, physics, biochemistry, and biology. Academic aspects of universities are discussed in greater detail under SIC 8221: Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools. Academic research in the United States is funded largely through taxpayer dollars in the form of government grants and occurs at the individual level rather than at the organizational level.
Although federal funds are dispensed largely to individual researchers, educational institutions classified under the "Research I" category receive tens of millions of dollars annually in federal support. Additionally, "Research II" institutions receive between $15 million and $40 million every year. In 2009, 14,837 noncommercial research organizations employed 244,574 people, according to Dun and Bradstreet's Industry Reports. California was home to the largest number of these establishments, with 2,165 in 2009. New York was home to 989 firms involved in this business, and Texas, 819.

The worldwide economic recession in 2009 caused a decrease in overall research and development (R&D) investments, according to R&D. However, several federally funded agencies in the United States, such as the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy, and National Science Foundation, experienced increases in their 2009 R&D budgets of $1.2 billion, $1.3 billion, $814 million, and $277 million, respectively. Industry participants waited to see what effects the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) would have. ARRA, signed in mid-February 2009, allotted an additional $18 billion of government money to R&D.

Government Funding Sources.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) dispenses billions of research dollars each year in the form of grants. From 1998 to 2003, the NIH saw its budget double in size. In 2009, 27 organizations, including the National Library of Medicine and the John F. Fogarty International Center, fell under the budgetary control of the National Institutes of Health. Most prominent among the research institutes are the National Cancer Institute, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Research. In 2008, the NIH awarded $42.7 billion to higher education institutions and an additional $3.1 billion to research institutions.

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) was allocated $4.86 billion from the U.S. government in 2009. NSF research dollars go largely to the National Research Center. Research projects funded by NSF extend to biological sciences; computer sciences; polar programs; geoscience; and engineering, math, and physical sciences. In addition to NIH and NSF, the U.S. government provides funding to research efforts under the auspices of other departments including the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. In 2007, support for the U.S. Polar Programs was eliminated.

The Smithsonian Institution is one of the leading nonprofit research organizations in the United States. The research budget of the Smithsonian comprises approximately one-third of the total budget of the Institute. Revenues were $989 million in 2008.

Private Sector Noncommercial Research.
Silicon Valley in California is well known for its economic development in the high-tech industry. The community began as a collaborative effort between educational institutions and small businesses, in response to mutual concerns for technological innovation. State-of-the art technologies developed in the Valley afford nonprofit research researchers with online access to news and developments through the Internet. The American Association for the Advancement of Science's EurekAlert! is a Web site that provides research news from all over the world. This site was created with the intention of providing a bulletin for universities, nonprofit organizations, and corporations to post new discoveries and advancements in science. Researchers, journalists, and the public at large access information disseminated through this and other Internet-based sites.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a nonprofit organization that provides reports and information that safeguard consumers against unscrupulous businesses. Another consumer information provider is the Consumers Union, established in 1936 "to provide consumers with information and advice on goods, services, health and personal finance." In 2009, 400,000 companies nationwide belonged to a local BBB branch.

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