Engineering Research Centers:

NSF Program Management and Industry Sponsorship

RCED-88-177: Published: Aug 16, 1988. Publicly Released: Aug 16, 1988.


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC) Program, focusing on: (1) NSF program operation and evaluation; and (2) industry sponsors' reaction to the program.

GAO found that: (1) research quality was the most important criterion in awarding center grants, with contribution to industrial competitiveness and education following in importance; (2) NSF formally monitored ERC management and research agenda through yearly on-site reviews and ERC-prepared strategic plans; (3) NSF used outside peer reviews to evaluate individual centers once every 3 years, but believed it was too early to evaluate the overall strengths and weaknesses of the ERC approach; (4) a wide range of industries participated in the program, and most intended to continue their support; (5) participants believed that the type and quality of research was the most important reason for sponsoring centers; (6) participants expected to benefit over time through better personnel recruiting and improvement of current personnel, but not through patentable or commercialized products; (7) it was too early to determine the program's impact on engineering education because it had been in place for only a short period of time, and industry sponsors have not hired many ERC program graduates; and (8) participants believed that NSF should increase participants' influence on the ERC research agenda.

Feb 7, 2014

Dec 20, 2013

Nov 4, 2013

  • science icon, source: National Cancer Institute

    Small Business Innovation Research:

    Data Rights Protections
    GAO-14-116R: Published: Nov 4, 2013. Publicly Released: Nov 4, 2013.

Jul 19, 2013

Apr 10, 2013

Feb 15, 2013

Jun 20, 2012

Jan 24, 2012

Nov 7, 2011

Nov 1, 2011

Looking for more? Browse all our products here