Federal R&D Laboratories

RCED/NSIAD-96-78R: Published: Feb 29, 1996. Publicly Released: Feb 29, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the federal research and development (R&D) laboratories operated by federal agencies and contractors. GAO found that: (1) 515 federal R&D laboratories spent a total of $26.6 billion out of an estimated $69.4 billion obligated for R&D in fiscal year (FY) 1995; (2) each laboratory has a specific mission or R&D program designed to support its parent agency's overall mission; (3) in FY 1995, the operating budgets of 361 of these laboratories were less than $10 million, 101 laboratories had operating budgets between $10 million and $100 million, and 53 laboratories had operating budgets of at least $100 million; (4) 65 federal R&D laboratories have a total of 221 satellite facilities; (5) the Department of Agriculture had the most R&D laboratories with 185, but its laboratories were smaller than the other agencies and operated on a budget of $2.1 million; (6) laboratories in the Department of Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration accounted for 88 percent of the funding for all federal R&D laboratories in FY 1995; and (7) most laboratories are operated by federal agencies, but 62 are operated by businesses and nonprofit organizations via contracts and cooperative agreements with federal agencies.

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